News: Fox Islands Wind Neighbors files petition against State of Maine

(For news reports, click on “Vinalhaven in the News” in the pages section) Neighbors of the Vinalhaven wind turbine farm filed a lawsuit (Fox Islands Wind Neighbors Petition for Review) against the state of Maine yesterday for failing to enforce noise regulations against Fox Islands Wind, the turbine operator. The neighbors’ lawsuit charges that the decision by Maine DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) on June 30th was arbitrary and capricious and driven by political meddling against the recommendation of DEP regulatory staff.

Everywhere industrial wind turbines are placed too close to residences, there are complaints. What distinguishes Vinalhaven from other aggrieved victims of wind turbine noise is the extent to which neighbors initiated their own acoustical measurements and engagement with state regulators who admit that state standards fail to capture the acoustical impacts of wind turbines. For a year and a half, Vinalhaven neighbors carefully documented violations of the state noise standard while the wind turbine farm operator, Fox Islands Wind, continuously denied it was breaking state law.

In a separate matter, the neighbors recently filed a complaint against the Vinalhaven Electric Cooperative with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, charging that the utility had improperly billed ratepayers for the turbine operator’s expenses related to ongoing regulatory issues. But at this week’s annual meeting of the Fox Islands Electric Coop, the issue was not even on the agenda. The local utility is required to respond to the Maine PUC by August 1st.

The complaint filed yesterday in Superior Court seeks to vacate the DEP decision and compel the agency to go back to the recommendations of regulatory staff that put the burden of noise compliance on the wind turbine operator and not on citizens bearing the costs.

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