Articles filed under Impact on People from Vermont
Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters For A Clean Environment, on Monday expressed disappointment in the response, saying "the governor's letter to the Therriens is tone deaf to the difference between public policy moving forward and public health issues occurring now." ..."Chris Recchia's study did harm to the Therriens and there are no ongoing discussions with the PSD.
David Hallquist, chief executive officer of Vermont Electric Cooperative, said Monday that VEC did a study for BNE two years ago that showed it would be cost-prohibitive to connect to power lines along Route 100. Hallquist did not know if BNE had talked to GMP about connecting to another power line farther south at Stowe, which he said would be even more costly.
After personally hearing you tell citizens from Newark that no town should have to host an industrial wind facility that didn't want it, knowing the Northeast Kingdom already produces far more power than it can use, and knowing the Northeastern Vermont Development Association has asked for a moratorium, I hope you can understand my sadness.
The Public Service Department, the agency that represents ratepayers, said GMP should be fined up to $50,000. The department also wants the board to order GMP to conduct continuous audio monitoring of the Lowell turbines. But Kaliski, the utility's sound consultant, said that would be expensive.
Tensions ran high Thursday as the Vermont Public Service Board held a hearing to determine whether Green Mountain Power should be sanctioned for operating the 21-turbine Lowell Mountain wind project at above permitted sound levels. The quasi-judicial board called the hearing after GMP reported the wind project produced noise above 45 decibels outside neighboring residences. This is the threshold that the project is not permitted to exceed.
Neighbors have complained to the PSB, the department and anti-wind groups about noise. The department is collecting that information. In some cases, GMP is working directly with neighbors to identify the causes of noisy conditions. ...Neighbor Shirley Nelson, who stated she is suffering illnesses caused by wind turbine noise, asked for the maximum penalty of $140,000 and also asked that GMP pay for more monitoring.
The family lives off the grid in a renovated hunting camp. They had plans for a bigger home near a spot where Luann says the view is spectacular when the leaves fall. But it's a view she said they will soon be forced to leave behind. "We were going to clear out back there and we were going to put a double wide in. That was what we were going to do," she said. "But now, even if we wanted to, we can't do that, because we can't stay."
Shirley Nelson of Lowell, wants the maximum penalty possible of $140,000, saying GMP intentionally allowed the noise to happen - and continue. Nelson also wants full-time noise monitoring by an independent sound monitoring specialist. ...Nelson provided the board her diaries about when higher noise levels occurred and the impact on herself and her family.
Reggie Johnson loves spending time in his yard. But since the turbines landed near his backyard, he says it's been difficult to enjoy the outdoors. "We cherish the moments we have outside. It's like a kid in a candy shop when you get the opportunity to come out when there's no noise. It's a blessed relief," he said.
"People don't become desperate to leave their homes for no reason or because it's in their heads," she said. "We have inflicted this technology on people ... now they're getting sick, and now people like David Blittersdorf are ridiculing them. "At what level when you have survey after survey finding the same symptoms do you start saying this is science?" Smith continued.
Michael Mammoliti said a wind turbine a few hundred feet from his home is giving him headaches -- literally. In the fall of 2011, Mammoliti and his wife, Brenda, filed a complaint to the Public Service Board against a plan by Green Mountain Power to build the 120-foot- tall alternative energy source.
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I went outside. And the turbines on the ridgeline, they were roaring," he said. "And somebody asked me what it sounded like. I said it sounded like they were ripping the atmosphere apart."
"It's a huge disaster for Vermont," she said. "The energy is not in demand. We are selling the renewable energy credits to other states that pollute. It's just not solving the carbon emissions issue. There's nothing about this project that makes sense."
It's unclear whether findings from a $19,000 state study on noise levels for the Vermont Wind Project in Sheffield indicate if the 16 turbines have exceeded state decibel thresholds. Chris Recchia, commissioner for the Vermont Public Service Department, said that while the noise testing may help his department better understand how to evaluate wind noise in the future, he cannot draw conclusions from it.
VCE is harshly critical of the recent report and believes the wind operator scaled back operations to influence the positive outcome of the testing. The report shows noise levels to be within those permissible under the Certificate of Public Good (CPG) issued to First Wind to operate the wind project.
An attorney for the towns of Albany and Craftsbury say that violations in noise limitations from Lowell wind turbines are endangering neighbors' health and creating a public nuisance. And the towns are asking for more indoor testing to make sure that noise levels inside homes are not higher than allowed.
Since October, 105 complaints about the big three wind projects have been collected by the DPS division on consumer affairs and public information, not including this complaint from McGrath. Some of those complaints are from the same people. Twenty-three different people have complained. In one case in November, 31 people joined to file a petition about wind noise about the Lowell wind project which prompted Green Mountain Power to adjust early operations.
"The noise monitoring plan is entirely under the control of First Wind, who chose the firm to design the plan and conduct the monitoring. This is a perfect example of 'the fox guarding the henhouse,' " Smith said Thursday. "The PSB's order further illustrates the near-impossibility of neighbors being able to participate in protecting their interests before the PSB."
Rep. Klein is perhaps the most dogmatic supporter of large renewable energy projects in the Vermont Legislature. Being such a strong proponent, one would reasonably believe that he would have established a well-articulated rationale for his support. But a look at his record on big renewable energy reveals a pattern characterized by an absence of any objective rationale in support for his positions. In other words, he seems to be for large renewable energy projects simply because he thinks they're a good idea.
It would be too bad if a project had local support but a moratorium quashed it. It would also be too bad if a project were universally despised in its host communities but a town's lack of standing in the process did not allow the PSB to take into account local views. ...Even boosters such as Shumlin say they don't want to cram any projects down townspeople's throats. The Legislature ought to be looking for ways that towns can be empowered to prevent that from happening.