Fox Islands Wind Neighbors submittals to Maine Superior Court: Just The Facts, No Spin

(The following was published April 12, 2012 and is supported by additions to the public record, below.) Three years after wind turbine blades began spinning on Vinalhaven, the lives of some residents are still being disrupted by excessive noise. A Maine Superior Court will hear the Amended Petition for Review and Motion for Future Course of Proceedings.  For those interested to learn the facts without spin, click here: Vinalhaven Neighbors’ History of Wind Turbine Legal Issues.

Rufus E. Brown, Esq., attorney for the petitioners, describes the action before Maine Superior Court: “The issue at this juncture is whether the provisions in the Wind Energy Act dealing with small -scale wind projects precludes judicial review of an compliance order issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, following a valid complaint concerning excessive noise, that has the effect of (1) exempting Fox Islands Wind from any obligation to affirmatively demonstrate that it is operating in compliance with the DEP Noise Rule, (2) exempting FIW from the obligation to disclose operational and meteorological data of the wind project necessary for the Department to assess for itself  whether the Project is operating in compliance with the DEP Noise Rule and (3) preventing neighbors from filing a complaint to the MDEP about excessive noise unless they follow a burdensome and expensive “protocol” that includes a requirement that acoustical expert to evaluate the complaint before it is submitted.  The complaint, supported by a former MDEP regulator who objected to the Order under review and a Freedom of Access request to the Governor’s Office, alleges that the Order was a product of political influence that pressured the Department to ignore the heartfelt complaints by neighbors suffering from excessive noise and override the professional judgment of Department regulators that the Project was not operating in compliance with the law.  The complaint further alleges that this pressure was instigated with the assistance of the same Portland Maine law firm that the Commissioner had worked for as an industry lobbyist shortly before she issued the Order under review. The decision by the Superior Court will determine whether residents affected by excessive noise will be allowed to proceed with the merits of their complaint that the Commissioner’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, unfair and a product of political influence.”

Fox Islands Wind and the State of Maine are contesting the neighbor’s Amended Petition for Review and Motion for Future Course of Proceedings. It is interesting reading that includes the statement by the former top regulator for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The following addendum to Maine Superior Court includes a detailed chronology of the neighbors’ complaint against DEP and FIW beginning on Page 6.
Petitioners’ Motion of the Taking of Additional Evidence

Atty. Rufus Brown, Esq. submitted a response to Maine Superior Court, outlining reasons the court should reject arguments by FIW and Maine DEP against the Amended Petition by the neighbors. The legal points are technical, but readers might be interested in focusing on Page 13-15 which (again) provides a concise timeline related to the neighbors’ claims.

7/18/2012 Petitioners’ Objection to Motions to Dismiss

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