Library filed under Noise
Editor’s note: This commentary is by Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, attributed Shumlin’s veto to pressure from the renewable energy industry and said the governor’s objections could have been addressed in next year’s legislative session rather than after adjournment.
Shumlin says he appreciates lawmakers’ efforts to give towns an opportunity to have more say in the renewable energy siting process. “The bad news is from my perspective, we have some real concern that it might put the brakes on the ability to build renewables.
The Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy (BCCRWE) of Wisconsin have called for former Health Director Chua Xiong’s conclusions regarding wind turbines and health concerns to be dismissed due to the flawed process by which submitted evidence was selectively reviewed and inconsistently weighed, or ignored altogether. A summary of the situation is provided below. The full request including evidence and exhibits can be accessed by selecting the links on this page.
The Shumlin administration and legislative leaders are questioning aspects of a renewable energy siting bill passed in the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session. The concerns may prompt Gov. Peter Shumlin to veto the bill, according to Rep. Tony Klein, the chairman of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Zima said he asked the human services committee to take action because it oversees the board of health, where most of the debate on this issue has taken place so far. "I just feel its important that we get a hearing, a thorough review, and that it's not just left to what I consider at this point a stacked committee at the health board," Zima said.
“In my interpretation, what Vermont’s Legislature has just done is they have declared that there exists an ‘imminent peril to public health, safety and welfare from wind turbine noise,’” Smith said, quoting from the statute. Moreover, the emergency rule sound standards must not exceed an average 45 decibels outside a home and average 30 decibels inside. Smith claims those limits are not currently being met by many wind projects, including Sheffield Wind, a 40-megawatt, 16-turbine project in Sheffield.
Windham’s ban on large wind turbines is “based on the unique topography and settlement patterns of our town, our 10 years of research and knowledge and the support of the majority of our residents and property owners,” according to the town plan. Yet Iberdrola’s proposal has spurred intense debate as proponents and opponents debate the potential environmental and financial impacts. The project is expected to be the subject of votes in both towns this year.
The president of the Polish National Audit Authority (NIK) testified before a parliamentary committee on 12 May 2016 that in up to one-third of all the rural municipalities covered by the NIK investigation found decision makers responsible for granting permits for wind farm developments, or close family members of such local officials, were beneficiaries of land leases for these projects. A report on his testimony is provided below.
Host Brett Gaskill speaks with Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, on the current issues of industrial wind power in Vermont.
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Lawmakers agreed to send a controversial renewable energy siting bill to the governor’s desk, but opinions on what difference the bill makes — especially with regard to wind turbine noise — are mixed.
Sandy Wolfe, another resident living within the wind farm project’s footprint, said she has experienced many physical ailments since the turbines became operational, and noticed that her animals were experiencing some of the same ones. “My dog Hank was so strong, and everybody was amazed at how strong and agile and competent he still was,” she said. “When I started having nosebleeds in September, he did, too. Mine subsided because I started sleeping in my truck, ...Wolfe said Hank died this past winter. He was one of three dogs that has died since September, she said.
One remaining hurdle may involve different interpretations over whether specific language in the bill constitutes a moratorium on wind over the next year. As the bill is currently written, next year the Public Service Board will write specific rules on allowable sound decibels produced by wind turbines. The rules would be retroactive, going back to April 15 of this year.
The council and the company agreed last month that the turbine should operate from 8am-5pm only, and should also be turned off during bank and public holidays, five working days at Easter, a fortnight over the Twelfth of July period, and over Christmas and the New Year.
The first phase of a Huron County Health Unit investigation on the perceived adverse health effects of wind turbines is about to get under way.
The House bill, which passed 142-0 on Tuesday and was affirmed by a voice vote Wednesday, directs the Public Service Board to establish sound limits for wind projects through the state’s rule-making process. The sound limits would apply to any future wind projects. Wind opponents are optimistic the new sound limits will be lower than existing measures.
Unifor's turbine is now in its fourth year of operation without the required tests showing proof of compliance. Nearby residents have even tried to conduct their own professional tests. But their efforts have been thwarted by MOE guidelines that require Unifor's participation. So, the families continue to suffer from the turbine's noise. And both Unifor and MOE are well aware.
Bray said the bill sets the bar quite high for developers who seek to overturn siting decisions in regional and municipal plans. S.230 also directs the Public Service Board to develop standards for how much noise can come from wind energy generators. Finally, the bill would create a five-person Public Service Board working group to recommend changes that would make the PSB process easier for citizens to participate in.
This very sad, but now all too common letter discussing wind turbine impacts is published here with the permission of the author.
It’s time to stop denying that wind farm noise causes adverse health effects in some people. It’s insulting to sufferers to be accused of only suffering from a “nocebo” effect. Everyone who is adversely affected by wind farm operations deserves to be heard and deserves adequate compensation, which should include an offer to purchase their property at a fair price.