Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

Excellent analysis of why a public policy response is needed for enforcing wind turbine noise standards: from a former Lt. Gov. of Vermont, Brian Dubie

October 7, 2015

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.
by BRIAN DUBIE on October 6, 2015 at 9:33pm

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why.

An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We recently learned that the developer of this proposed project plans to use Chinese made, Gold Wind 2.5mw turbines. The Chinese manufacturer Gold Wind http://www.goldwindamerica.comdoes not even list the noise rating of this turbines. Hiding a noise rating from the public is bad omen for proper siting for an industrial wind turbine. Let’s assume that the developer will use a GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther. (more…)

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Bangor Daily News: Vinalhaven wind turbine noise features in “Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion”

January 13, 2015

Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion
Bangor Daily News

By Alan Farago, Special to the BDN
Posted Jan. 13, 2015, at 10:16 a.m.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting recently published a damning report detailing how easily the Maine Legislature bends to the wind power industry.

In “LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature,” Pine Tree Watchdog reporters detail how Juliet Browne, First Wind’s lawyer, sent former Senate President Justin Alfond suggested text for an amendment relating to a wind power bill. Alfond ultimately adopted all 248 words she supplied, changing nothing.

Neighbors of wind turbines on Vinalhaven have a different story and outcome to tell. In 2013, they proposed a single legislative change, to require that all Maine wind turbines conform to noise limits set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2012; 42 dbA instead of the previous 45 dbA at nighttime.

After a series of public hearings by the Bureau of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection lowered wind turbine noise limits slightly. Lobbyists such as Juliet Browne, cited by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, actively opposed and testified against the minimal change. (more…)

Bangor Daily News: DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

December 10, 2014

DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 09, 2014, at 2:01 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection argued Tuesday that the state’s highest court has no authority to order the agency to take tougher action to reduce noise levels from wind turbines on Vinalhaven.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Tuesday on an appeal by the DEP of a Kennebec County judge’s ruling in March that chastised Commissioner Patricia Aho for her role in responding to complaints by Vinalhaven residents about noise from the Fox Islands Electric wind turbines.

Attorney Gerald Reid, who represented the DEP, said Tuesday that state law specifically prohibits judicial review of the enforcement of a final agency rule. Instead, Reid said the wind farm neighbors should have appealed to the Board of Environmental Protection, a citizens’ panel, or filed a nuisance lawsuit against Fox Islands in court. (more…)

Portland Press Herald: Maine’s high court hears appeal over Vinalhaven wind turbine noise

December 10, 2014

Maine’s high court hears appeal over Vinalhaven wind turbine noise
But many of the justices’ questions focus on whether they should rule on Department of Environmental Protection decisions.
BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER
tturkel@pressherald.com | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462

PORTLAND — A five-year fight by residents living near the Fox Islands Wind project on Vinalhaven got a high-stakes airing on Tuesday, as the Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard an appeal dealing with state noise regulations for wind turbines.

The residents, organized under a group called Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, were buoyed last spring by a lower court ruling that found the Maine Department of Environmental Protection erred in a decision by its commissioner on how to deal with noise complaints. The neighbors came to the state’s highest court hopeful that they could get the DEP to step up enforcement, and limit turbine operation during certain wind conditions. (more…)

On Dec 9th, Maine Law Court to hear our case on wind turbine noise violations … live streaming available

December 4, 2014

It has now been five years since the Vinalhaven (ME) wind turbines were turned on, saddling neighbors with wind turbine noise that often exceeds state noise standards.

On December 9th, at 9:30AM, oral arguments of our case will be heard by the Maine Law Court. (That’s the state supreme court.) You will be able to view the proceedings via streaming. (links, below) (more…)

Neighbors file a reply brief worth reading, to Maine Law Court

September 12, 2014

FIWN Reply Brief

In Law Court, ACLU of Maine and Maine Employment Lawyers Association side with neighbors on our Federal 1983 claim

August 21, 2014

Fox Islands Wind Neighbors final brief to Maine Law Court

August 6, 2014

FIWN Brief Part 1

FIWN Brief Part 2

Wind Blows Good and Bad on Vinalhaven

July 23, 2014

“If these turbines can’t be run in compliance during all conditions, then they need to be turned down… We hope the Supreme (Judicial) Court decision will point in that direction. … It’s hard for people to acknowledge that a mistake was made.”

Wind blows good and bad on Vinalhaven
Five years on, a landmark project generates power and frustration

BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER
tturkel@pressherald.com | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462
VINALHAVEN — Sally and David Wylie are having an addition built onto their island vacation home. A patio door admits views of the woods and water, but the sunny, southern exposure has no windows. That south wall is a foot thick, and stuffed with sound-deadening insulation.

“On a bad day, we can get away from it,” David Wylie said. The Wylies are creating an acoustic cocoon for their new bedroom to get away from the “whomp, whomp, whomp,” the airplane-like drone and the low-frequency resonation that they experience periodically from the three massive wind turbines that are clearly visible from their deck.

Sally and David Wylie of Vinalhaven are building an addition to their home with sound-deadening walls to escape the “whomp, whomp, whomp” generated by turbines at the Fox Islands Wind Project.

“We moved out here for the peace and quiet,” Sally Wylie said. “We didn’t want any of this and we’re very sad.”

Five years ago this November, the residents of Vinalhaven and North Haven became part of an alternative energy experiment that drew national attention. Burdened by high electric rates, they erected New England’s largest coastal wind project, a proud achievement for a small island community, 12 miles out to sea from Rockland.

Today, the Fox Islands Wind Project is the tallest structure in Penobscot Bay. Standing higher than a football field is long, 388 feet from ground to blade tip, the turbines are visible from miles away.

For people who glimpse them on the horizon, for passengers on the ferry between Rockland and Vinalhaven, for neighbors who live in their shadows, the turbines have become a powerful symbol.

But a symbol of what? (more…)

Robert Bryce testifies before US Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee

May 7, 2014

US wind turbines are killing wildlife … FWS have documented dozens of endangered species kills … “to date the FWS have brought only one prosecution against the wind industry for violating the Endangered Species Act” … “wind turbines are climate-change scarecrows” … “let’s do the math” …