What the noise (wind turbines) is all about

Few would undertake to learn the nitty gritty of measuring and evaluating wind turbine noise except as a matter of professional passion, investor status, or necessity. Necessity compels property owners in Vinalhaven forced to learn about the acoustics of turbine noise affecting their health, quality of life, and property values imposed by FIW, FIEC and turbine advocates and investors. 

The Vinalhaven controversy is attracting nation-wide attention. It has also generated considerable notice inside the state of Maine, where long sighs often accompany mention of our island in the context of FIW’s wind turbines. It is happening on the island, too, where many know a wrong has been done to neighbors and remains uncorrected.

Because of Vinalhaven — and Mars Hill and Freedom where neighbors of wind turbines have expressed similar complaints– Maine citizens know how difficult it is to manage turbine noise once the spinning starts. And based on this problem, earlier this year a group assembled to petition the state to update and improve the noise standards for protecting people and enforcing against excessive wind turbine noise.

Rufus Brown– Fox Islands Wind Neighbors’ attorney– also represents Friends of Maine Mountains (FMM), a group proposing specific new improvements to the state noise standard for wind turbines. Earlier this year FMM petitioned the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection to review the state wind turbine noise regulation. As might be expected, the wind turbine industry is undermining those efforts.

Based on the Vinalhaven experience alone, it is clear new regulations are needed. For the past two years, Vinalhaven neighbors have funded, with after-tax dollars, an effort by regulators to clarify the state’s rule on wind turbine noise. Wind turbines installations in Maine were so new when FIW was commissioned, that neighbors turned out to be “guinea pigs” for a hostile experiment. Attorney Rufus Brown, sound consultant Rick James, — one of the nation’s foremost experts in wind turbine acoustics–, and Vinalhaven wind turbine neighbors testified at public meetings in Augusta in early July with like-minded people from around the state.

The final comments submitted by Mr. Brown on behalf of FMM are difficult reading. But don’t get bogged down: read these comments to understand the sense of what neighbors of the wind turbines live with every day and night. While the comments do not directly apply to the ongoing dispute on Vinalhaven, the Vinalhaven experience bears heavily on their content. If you are interested to ferret out the underlying facts about wind turbine noise that FIW and FIEC don’t want you to hear, click on this link: Comments on Reposted Rule by Petitioners and Friends of Maine’s Mountains.


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