Maine Superior Court to decide if neighbors have a right to appeal

We are waiting to learn if Maine Superior Court will provide an avenue of appeal against DEP for its regulatory decision on wind turbine noise. The decision we are contesting was imposed against the recommendation of the agency’s own staff, through pressure exerted by the Governor’s Office at the behest of Fox Islands Wind, the turbine operator.

With respect to the pending matter in Superior Court, Pierce Atwood, Fox Islands Wind attorney, writes: “Petitioners (are not) bereft of any remedy as they claim. First they can complain to their town authorities—the ordinary avenue for relief for any other small-scale project.”

But local officials can’t handle the complexity of the wind turbine noise issues. They have admitted as much repeatedly. Pierce Atwood continues, “… like any other land owner and as to any other project, small or large scale, nothing would foreclose Petitioners from suing for nuisance—if they had reasonable grounds for so complaining under established law.”

With only two of three turbines spinning during August and most of September, neighbors of Fox Islands Wind had a welcome respite from turbine noise.  During that time, GE was installing trailing edge treatments and collecting sound data. Now all three turbines are up and running as close to the 45 dBA night time noise limit as possible.

Last month, the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection recommended lowering the night time noise level to 42 dBA for all new wind turbine projects. And even more recently, Maine’s Land Use and Regulation Committee decided that a new wind farm should only operate at a night time level of 40 dBA at the nearest property line.

It takes a lot of “greenwashing” to ignore what is happening to property owners near the wind turbines. DEP staff – only months ago—recommended that Fox Islands Wind reach out to neighbors to discuss legitimate grievances and options. Since that time, the DEP staff who attempted to work with FIW have resigned.

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