Articles filed under Impact on People from Michigan
Consumers Energy will have to come up with a plan to mitigate noise from some of its 56 turbines in Lake Winds Energy Park, following a decision Thursday night by the Mason County Planning Commission that the turbines in question have violated the 45 decibel maximum noise standard.
The report concludes "the sound levels from the wind turbines were in general compliance with sound level criteria." But the results also show some values exceeding the limits set in the special land use permit - numbers opponents likely will highlight.
Swinbanks explained that noise is made up of many frequencies, and low-frequency noise is outside the range of human hearing. While people cannot hear low-frequency noise, it can impact a person's health. Unfortunately when measuring turbine noise, ordinances typically put more restrictions on noise within the human hearing range and do not restrict low-frequency noise enough.
Residents living near wind turbines in Lake Winds Energy Park filed suit earlier this month in 51st Circuit Court and are seeking a jury trial for their case. ...The plaintiffs in the suit allege the wind farm has caused them physiological and monetary harm and will continue to do so if allowed to continue operations.
"We've now moved our beds to the basement in a storage room," Shineldecker said. "After living in my house for 18 years, [we're sleeping] in a storage room on an air mattress so I can try to sleep . . . so my lovely wife can get up and go and try to teach second graders and be awake in the morning. "We have been up multiple, multiple nights and cannot sleep."
Consumers Energy Co. officials say the company is working to address some of the concerns of neighbors of the Lake Winds Energy Park wind farm - in particular, "shadow flicker" -- although the company says the wind farm already meets all permit requirements.
The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs will continue to suffer harm, including physical injury, emotional distress and loss of property value if they continue to be exposed to the wind farm's operation. The $250 million Lake Winds Energy Park development generates 100.8 megawatts of electricity. Its Vestas turbines are 312 feet high at the hub, with rotor blades having a 328-foot diameter.
A group of homeowners living near Consumers Energy wind turbines in Riverton and Summit townships are currently suing the company for damages they say are caused by operating the turbines. There are 17 people who have joined as plaintiffs in the case, which was filed Monday. ...The 56-turbine park began operations on Thanksgiving Day 2012.
The Wiltzer family claims to have suffered from numerous issues as a result of the wind turbine's construction, including sleep disturbance, dizziness, stress, fatigue, weight loss, headaches, motion disturbance, and so on. According to the suit, the members of the family live in a cottage in order to avoid the health effects of living near the wind turbine.
Written 14 months ago, the context of the email was what appears to have been a successful effort by government bureaucrats to derail a pending noise level reduction recommendation. The email advising state employees delete conversations was one of several emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act pertaining to the wind turbine noise level issue.
Just as the legal system refused to side with the opponents, so did the elected officials in Mason County. The opposition energy is being put into trying to defeat at the polls this year six incumbent county commissioners who favored the wind farm development, Bergaila said while picketing in front of the chamber offices on U.S. 10 in Ludington.
"Ultimately, it comes down to what you personally believe (will be) the impact the turbines will have on Huron County. If approved, I believe the McKinley Overlay District will begin the process of destroying the quality of life for the residents along and near the shoreline, reduce residential property values, discourage tourism and damage migratory bird flyways."
During Wednesday's Huron County Planning Commission meeting, officials said they had been contacted by landowners in the project area, which includes land in McKinley, Chandler and Oliver townships, because they had concerns that contractors installing underground electrical cables have not been respectful of the farm land, and they fear the activities will affect the condition of the land in the spring.
A group of residents opposed to the project, called "Concerned Citizens of Merritt Township," have hired a Saginaw attorney to represent them in their attempt to change the township's 2010 ordinance that would increase the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home from a quarter-mile to a half-mile.
The Kobetzes claim the wind tower's motion and noise from the turbine has resulted in a loss of property value and loss of enjoyment of their property. The Spencers claim that placement of the electricity-generating tower is allowed by township zoning and protected under the Michigan Right to Farm Act.
Not everyone is happy about it. A group of about 20 residents, calling themselves the "Concerned Citizens of Merritt Township," aren't filing petitions but are going to residents' homes providing information on what they call the dangers of wind farms.
While the report says published evidence directly linking noise from wind turbines to adverse health effects is based on studies of airport and road traffic noise, "there is no reason to suspect wind turbine noise will have less of a harmful effect than noise from road traffic or airplanes," Rosenman said.
Exiting Emmet County planning director Brentt Michalek said he feels the 35 decibel level at the property line and 400-foot height restriction will stand in the future for Emmet County, as more and more developers begin to prospect in the county.
The zoning administrator in Clay Banks Township, John Muchna, thinks 3,000 feet is the minimum distance needed to protect everyone's health and safety. He says that was the best the township could do, "to try and make everybody half way happy.
The movie (WINDFALL), which presents no views or facts either supporting or contradicting the claims made by the worried residents it interviews, clearly influenced the opinions of many in attendance, including Beulah resident Alice Mummey. Ms. Mummey says she is sympathetic to environmental causes ...But she said the movie gave her pause when it comes to building a wind farm in her own county.