The other side of the wind power story

The other side of the wind power story by Christopher O’Neil (Published in The Sun Journal on Sunday, Jan 22, 2012)

An article in the Sun Journal of Dec. 30 raised eyebrows at Friends of Maine’s Mountains.

Included were the words: “Wind turbines came into Maine with a boom but two projects were able to go online without making a sound this month.” The article quoted Tom Carroll, an operative of the wind development company Patriot Renewables, and Gordon Gamble, a public relations man for Independence Wind, about Maine’s newest industrial wind turbine plants on Spruce Mountain in Woodstock and Record Hill in Roxbury. FMM is disappointed that the “other side” of this important story wasn’t told.

Readers of the story were essentially led to believe that these massive projects have come without incident. Unwitting readers might also infer that these new wind “farms” have disproved their critics, settled all debate and gained acceptance. The truth is that many people in the vicinity of the Roxbury and Woodstock wind projects are already experiencing problems with noise emissions.

Those wind facilities have most certainly not gone online “without making a sound.”

Massive wind turbines create unique sound which is unlike most other noise emissions. Maine citizens are suffering from sounds which are both audible and inaudible to the human ear. In fact, citizens all around the globe are experiencing poor health and a reduction in their quality of life due to the unhealthy sound emissions from nearby turbines.

Readers should understand that just because a wind developer’s public relations team says a wind project will be benign, that does not make it true.

Last month, Maine acousticians Robert Rand and Stephen Ambrose, two respected experts on industrial noise, published a report validating the complaints of people living in close proximity to industrial turbine developments.

Every day, more scientific data emerges showing that wind turbines’ unique noise emissions cause adverse health impacts on people who are forced to live or work in the vicinity of wind facilities.

As wind developments proliferate, Maine residents and property owners are increasingly unable to take for granted their own peace and quiet. In every Maine wind project built close to people, there are major issues.

Record Hill and Spruce Mountain did not go “online without making a sound.” Quite the contrary. Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables and Angus King of Independence Wind will acknowledge that, in development, their projects met strong resistance at every turn, and they still do.

The story should have included interviews with turbine neighbors who suffer from noise emissions. It should also have mentioned the credible and persistent opposition that is gaining strength as citizens discover that the presumed benefits of wind power were oversold, while the impacts were overlooked.

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