Anguish

A mother sits by her tormented child's bedside for several hours in the middle of the night as the roar and beat of two nearby wind turbines permeate the walls of their home. A middle aged man feels worsening chest pains from the strain brought about by a string of nights where restful sleep has been severely compromised. A high school sophomore finds her grades slipping because her nervous system is frayed from the frequent sleeplessness that has now become a part of her life. A family that needs to sell their house comes to the sickening realization that nobody will be purchasing their home, even with substantial price cuts, now that its once peaceful and natural setting effectively sits in the midst of what has become a factory.

We asked a prominent member of a powerful Maine environmental group what she thought of the anguish that their wind turbine advocacy has helped bring about and she simply shrugged, saying "it's for the greater good". We've even heard that some have a name for those of us who suffer -- "policy roadkill".

The purpose of this section is for those of us who suffer to put a human face on our suffering. If you would like to supply material for this section, please contact us. -- October 23, 2011

 

Table of Contents

1/27/07 - Oh my gosh, that can’t be right (Mars Hill)

10/25/07 - Leaseholder's Remorse: "What have I done?"

8/20/11 - Cheryl Lindgren BEP Testimony: “Are citizens about to become another in the list of permissible “takes?”

9/24/11 - A Bad Neighbor (Turbines atop a home in Maine)

9/25/11 - Mars Hill Home's Setting Dominated by Giant Industrial Turbines

10/27/11 - She and her husband are now building a “sleeping room” in the basement

 

CONTENTS

 

1/27/07 - Oh my gosh, that can’t be right (Mars Hill)

We should not be expected to live with this
Mars Hill residents voice concerns over wind tower noise
January 27, 2007 by Rachel Rice in Bangor Daily News

http://www.windaction.org/news/7616

 

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10/25/07 - Leaseholder's Remorse - "Now each morning when I awake, I pray and then ask myself, “What have I done?”

 

A Fond Du Lac Farmer has regrets about agreeing to host a wind turbine--
Why can't he speak openly about it?

When you sign a 20 to 30 year contract to host a wind turbine on your property you may be signing away many rights you're unaware of. A confidentiality agreement in the contract may mean legal action can be taken against you if you complain publicly about the project. A Fond Du Lac farmer signed away his rights. He was interviewed by Don Bangart who wrote the following on behalf of the farmer, whose contract with the wind company prevents him from speaking openly about any problems.

This was printed as a full page ad in the Chilton, Wisc., Times-Journal, October 25, 2007.


WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Now each morning when I awake, I pray and then ask myself, “What have I done?”

I am involved with the BlueSky/Greenfield wind turbine project in N.E. Fond du Lac County. I am also a successful farmer who cherishes his land. My father taught me how to farm, to be a steward of my fields, and by doing so, produce far better crop production. As I view this year’s crops, my eyes feast on a most bountiful supply of corn and soybeans. And then my eyes focus again on the trenches and road scars leading to the turbine foundations. What have I done?

In 2003, the wind energy company made their first contacts with us. A $2,000 “incentive” started the process of winning us over, a few of us at a time. The city salesmen would throw out their nets, like fishermen trawling for fish. Their incentive “gift” first lured some of us in. Then the salesmen would leave and let us talk with other farmers. When the corporate salesmen returned, there would be more of us ready to sign up; farmers had heard about the money to be made. Perhaps because we were successful farmers, we were the leaders and their best salesmen.

Sometime in 2004 or 2005, we signed $4,000 turbine contracts allowing them to “lease” our land for their needs. Our leases favored the company, but what did we know back then? Nobody knew what we were doing. Nobody realized all the changes that would occur, over which we would have no control. How often my friends and I have made that statement: What have I done?!

I watched stakes being driven in the fields and men using GPS monitors to place markers here and there. When the cats and graders started tearing 22-foot-wide roads into my fields, the physical changes started to impact not only me and my family, but, unfortunately, also my dear friends and neighbors. Later, a 4-foot-deep by 2-foot-wide trench was started diagonally across my field. A field already divided by their road was now being divided again by the cables running to a substation. It was now making one large field into 4 smaller irregularly shaped plots. Other turbine hosts also complained about their fields being subdivided or multiple cable trenches requiring more of their land. Roads were cut in using anywhere from 1,000 feet to over half a mile of land to connect the locations. We soon realized that the company places roads and trenches where they will benefit the company most, not the landowner. One neighbor’s access road is right next to some of his outbuildings. Another’s is right next to his fence line.

At a wind company dinner presented for the farmers hosting the turbines, we were repeatedly told — nicely and indirectly — to stay away from the company work sites once they start. I watched as my friends faces showed the same concern I had, but none of us spoke out. Months later, when I approached a crew putting in lines where they promised me they definitely would not go, a representative told me I could not be there. He insisted that I leave. The line went in. The company had the right. I had signed the lease.

Grumbling started almost immediately after we agreed to 2% yearly increases on our 30-year lease contracts. Some felt we should have held out for 10%. What farmer would lock in the price of corn over the next 5 years, yet alone lock one in at 2% yearly for 30 years? Then rumors emerged that other farmers had received higher yearly rates, so now contracts varied. The fast-talking city sales folk had successfully delivered their plan. Without regard for our land, we were allowing them to come in and spoil it. All of the rocks we labored so hard to pick in our youth were replaced in a few hours by miles of roads packed hard with 10 inches of large breaker rock. Costly tiling that we installed to improve drainage had now been cut into pieces by company trenching machines.

Each night, a security team rides down our roads checking the foundation sites. They are checking for vandals and thieves. Once, when I had ventured with guests to show them foundation work, security stopped us and asked me, standing on my own property, what I was doing there. What have I done?

Now, at social functions, we can clearly see the huge division this has created among community members. Suddenly, there are strong-sided discussions and heated words between friends and, yes, between relatives about wind turbines. Perhaps this is a greater consequence than the harm caused to my land — life is short, and friendships are precious.

I tried, as did some of the other farmers, to get out of our contracts, but we had signed a binding contract. If you are considering placing wind turbines on your property, I strongly recommend that you please reconsider. Study the issues. Think of all the harm to your land, and, in the future, to your children’s land, versus the benefits from allowing companies to lease your land for turbines.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

PLEASE DO NOT DO WHAT I HAVE DONE!

 

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8/20/11 - Cheryl Lindgren BEP Testimony: “Are citizens about to become another in the list of permissible “takes?”

 

Excerpt: 

"That’s a 10 to 15 dBA concession to the silence that the landscape once enjoyed.  A 35 dBA limit might provide animals with the ability to hear a predator behind them and it might give human animals the chance at a restorative night’s sleep. 

 

Excerpt:

"Not providing reasonable levels of sound protection for this state is, to me, saying that the state will mandate a certain percentage of human lives as another form of “take” for the wind industry (ref. Fish and Wildlife permits required for raptor takes).  After all the subsidies, after all the TIF’s, after the winks and nods about devastating vernal pools, decimating bat populations, and  permitting for bald eagle “takes”, are citizens about to become another in the list of permissible “takes?” How many lives will be acceptable?  Do we have to die or will heart attacks, stress related illnesses, sleep deprivation, and in the case of the children taking sleeping pills each night, drug dependency count as a “take”? "

Full testimony:

Cheryl_Lindgren_2011-08-20%20BEP%20letter.pdf

 

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9/24/11 - A Bad Neighbor (Turbines atop a home in Maine)

Here are two pictures that I took of my home in March, 2009. The first is fairly close and the second showing two turbines was from a distance.

The first picture always leads me into a discussion about blade flicker. My home is about 2900’ from the closest turbine, but from Nov into Feb, we receive a blade flash that comes in the smaller window looking up hill towards the turbines, and which can be seen through the picture window which looks down the hill. The smaller window will capture the flash, reflect off the bigger window, and back onto the wall that the smaller window is on. This has the effect of making everything in the room appear to move for 1-2 hours.


Since I have more glass on the uphill side of the house, which faces southeast, practically every room in the house is impacted in this way. So much for trying to take advantage of passive solar.  Looking out the window and down the hill towards the view provides a panorama of the blade sweep of two turbines as they cross the field and the tree line.

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9/25/11 - Mars Hill Home's Setting Dominated by Giant Industrial Turbines

 

 

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Windmills on Mars Hill Mountain tower over a home in January 2007, in Mars Hill.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/25/business/maine-doesnt-need-wind-power-group-says/

 

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10/27/11 - She and her husband are now building a “sleeping room” in the basement

Carrie Bennett of Freedom said she hopes the townspeople of Frankfort will make a different decision than the people of her town did. She said she lives about 3,000 feet away from one of the turbines in her community.

“All three of my children have been placed on sleeping pills by their pediatrician,” she said, referring to the turbine noise keeping them awake at night. “What you get back as a community is not worth what you pay.”

She said she and her husband are now building a “sleeping room” in the basement of their five-bedroom home.

“In my book, that’s pathetic,” she said. “I hope you’ll take care of yourselves, and you’ll protect your neighbors.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/10/27/news/midcoast/tempers-flare-at-frankfort-hearing-on-mount-waldo-wind-project/

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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