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Antrim Wind to face SEC scrutiny

“The SEC meeting yesterday was perhaps the most frustrating I have ever witnessed and I’ve been intervening before the SEC for 15 years,” Linowes related in an email on March 26th. “The problem is tied to a Chair who cannot seem to keep track of the facts in front of her, Committee members who are disengaged, ignorant about the SEC, and easily confused, and a bureaucratic body that is feeling beat up by the public and afraid to act. The only outcome of yesterday was that the Nov 23 meeting and acceptance of the Antrim Wind monitoring report meant nothing beyond the Committee taking the report in hand."

Subcommittee formed, lighting violations ignored

Antrim residents with complaints about Antrim Wind Energy’s turbines not following limitations for sound levels they agreed not to exceed were finally partially heard by the State Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) during an online meeting last Thursday, March 25.

The sound level limitations are spelled out in the Certificate the SEC provided to Antrim Wind Energy (AWE) allowing them to operate. The SEC, after a lengthy discussion of the legal technicalities of how to proceed, unanimously voted for Chairman Dianne Martin to establish a three-member subcommittee to review the sound level complaints. But nothing was said about addressing the issue of the flashing red aircraft warning lights on top of each turbine that are only supposed to come on when they sense the motion of an oncoming plane, but have been flashing constantly since installed.

However, these same Antrim residents only knew about the March 25th meeting through their own diligence. Just as the Nov. 23rd public hearing the SEC held concerning, in good part, sound complaints, they were not noticed. This resulted in the SEC not... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Subcommittee formed, lighting violations ignored 

Antrim residents with complaints about Antrim Wind Energy’s turbines not following limitations for sound levels they agreed not to exceed were finally partially heard by the State Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) during an online meeting last Thursday, March 25. 

The sound level limitations are spelled out in the Certificate the SEC provided to Antrim Wind Energy (AWE) allowing them to operate. The SEC, after a lengthy discussion of the legal technicalities of how to proceed, unanimously voted for Chairman Dianne Martin to establish a three-member subcommittee to review the sound level complaints. But nothing was said about addressing the issue of the flashing red aircraft warning lights on top of each turbine that are only supposed to come on when they sense the motion of an oncoming plane, but have been flashing constantly since installed.

However, these same Antrim residents only knew about the March 25th meeting through their own diligence. Just as the Nov. 23rd public hearing the SEC held concerning, in good part, sound complaints, they were not noticed. This resulted in the SEC not hearing those complaints before accepting the results of an expert in the field hired by AWE, whose results they contest. Apparently, as Chairman Martin explained, the wrong service list was used. But, as Antrim resident Richard Block, an intervenor and spokesman for those concerned about AWE’s infractions, points out, once might have been a mistake, but twice?

The SEC blames the procedural noticing mishap on the lack of an SEC administrator, since the previous administrator left some months ago. But Block noted in a statement he read to the SEC, “Failure to notice the November 23rd [public hearing] to any residents or town officers of Antrim might possibly be attributed to oversight or lack of an administrator, but the . . . Committee’s response to that fallout, namely scheduling of today’s [March 25th] meeting without again sending notice to any residents or town officers of Antrim, can at this time only be interpreted as completely deliberate.”
The lack of noticing for the Nov. 23rd public hearing was addressed by State Senators Jeb Bradley, Bob Giuda and Ruth Ward, as well as Rep. Michael Vose, who sent a strongly worded letter to the SEC on Jan. 29 pointing out that the Committee has been sidelining public complaints about noise the Antrim
Wind Energy turbines make in the Antrim area. 

The standard of sound level testing AWE is required to meet is 1/8 second averaging, as Lisa Linowes, an intervener in the case and Executive Director of WindAction Group, pointed out as being a requirement the SEC themselves imposed on AWE. However, AWE’s sound testing expert only used one hour averaging, and those results were accepted by the SEC at the Nov. 23rd public hearing. Some residents wouldn’t allow them to test on their properties because this is far from the requirement.

Linowes and other intervenors made a Motion to Rehear the Nov. 23rd public hearing so that public input could be included. In response, the SEC scheduled the March 25th “meeting” to address the issue, as stated above, again without noticing Antrim residents or officers.

Neither did any SEC member at the March 25th meeting acknowledge the most obvious and easiest complaint to prove, that of the turbines’ aircraft warning lights, which former president of New Hampshire Wind Watch, Lori Lerner, brought up. These red lights have been flashing since well before the
issuance of AWE’s Certificate to operate. But part of the requirements of the Certificate are that these lights should be ADLS (Radar-based Aircraft Detection Lighting System), which only come on when aircraft are approaching.

Certainly the SEC does not need a subcommittee to see this infraction of AWE’s Certification requirements – an infraction that can be easily seen for miles around by not only Antrim residents, but anyone with a pair of eyes in towns abutting Antrim.

Not only should the warning lights only flash on when there are approaching aircraft, but according to Antrim selectman John Robertson, as per the Certificate requirement, these lights should be such that they cannot be seen from the ground. This is to cut down on any light pollution they may cause.

“The SEC meeting yesterday was perhaps the most frustrating I have ever witnessed and I’ve been intervening before the SEC for 15 years,” Linowes related in an email on March 26th. “The problem is tied to a Chair who cannot seem to keep track of the facts in front of her, Committee members who are disengaged, ignorant about the SEC, and easily confused, and a bureaucratic body that is feeling beat up by the public and afraid to act. The only outcome of yesterday was that the Nov 23 meeting and acceptance of the Antrim Wind monitoring report meant nothing beyond the Committee taking the report in hand.

“If we hadn’t forced the meeting the committee would have done nothing about the dispute between us and Antrim Wind over the noise rules and Antrim Wind would have been sitting pretty,” Linowes continued. “Antrim Wind has to be as furious about this as us. And now we get the stall act with a new subcommittee. What will that be –more ignoring of the public? The SEC is severely broken.”
Barbara Berwick, an Antrim resident who has been trying to prove how loud the turbine noise can be at her house ever since the turbines were put into operation, doesn’t have much confidence in this new subcommittee the SEC is forming to look into her complaint.

“The one thing that continually bothers me about all these [SEC] meetings is how much time they spend at the beginning of the meetings worried about every little legal aspect of how to conduct business, but then not getting to the actual concerns until hours into the meeting when all their members are very tired of being in meetings,” Berwick related to the Stone Bridge Post. “Truly, I gave up all hope that anything would change long ago. The SEC was created to get wind turbines etc. established. It really wasn’t created to protect the public.”

The SEC did unanimously vote to send a letter replying to the State Senators and Representative who complained so vigorously about them ignoring public comment.

 


Source: https://secureservercdn.net...

APR 2 2021
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52284-antrim-wind-to-face-sec-scrutiny
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