MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A lobbyist for an industry group supporting wind power apologized to a Vermont Senate committee on Wednesday after a witness she brought in called health concerns connected with wind power ‘‘hoo-hah,’’ nonsense and propaganda.
Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, called the remarks of acoustics expert Geoff Levanthall unhelpful and offered an apology to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee after Leventhall testified at the hearing by phone from England.
‘‘There’s no scientific evidence behind what they (critics of wind power) say,’’ Leventhall said. ‘‘It’s all made-up, make-believe, trying to find something to object to, and trying to find something that will be difficult to disprove. It’s a technique, a propaganda technique, and they've been very, very effective.’’
Afterward, Stebbins said she regretted Leventhall’s comments. ‘‘I don’t think that’s helpful for the debate and, for the record, I do apologize for that.’’
Stebbins’ comments came at the end of the hearing in which two Vermont doctors — one of them critical of a wind power project near his home in Ira and of the industry generally — testified about what they said were ill health effects connected with wind power among people living near the turbines.
Leventhall did describe for the committee low-frequency, inaudible ‘‘infrasound,’’ that some blame on problems connected with wind turbines but that he said have less of an impact on people than sounds generated within the body, like the heartbeat.
The committee also heard from Luann Therrien, a Sheffield resident who said she and her husband have suffered severe sleep loss leading to depression since 16 turbines operated by First Wind began operating within about two miles of their home, with the closest being about a half mile away.
‘‘We did not oppose the project, not until it was up and running and creating noise,’’ Therrien said. ‘‘I have constant ringing in my ears that can be very distracting. My husband has been feeling so bad that he is currently unable to work. His doctor has pulled him from his job.’’
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Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May 1969, page 11 is an article entitled Environmental Noise Pollution, A New Threat to Sanity by Donald F. Anthrop. The health and psychological affects of noise are well documented. Yet, the energy industry personnel continue to bash anyone who complains about inability to sleep, affects on livestock and other animals. The designers and companies that develop this equipment should be brought up on criminal charges for installing such lethal equipment in the open air.
Source for buying a used copy: http://www.campusbooks.com/books/books/subjects/9780669856620_Donal...
First Wind Boston-based CEO and President Paul Gaynor is Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s appointed Co-chair of “The Climate Protection Advisory Committee” under the Global Warming Solutions Act. First Wind Paul Gaynor is also co-chair of the Mass Department of Environmental Protection Advisory Committee “Low Carbon Energy Supply Subcommittee.”
As green policy Advisor to the Patrick Administration, First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor appears negligent in his failure to disclose notorious noise and health complaints associated with his wind projects. Why has this Advisor remained silent while his DEP was involved in evaluating noise and health complaints that plague Falmouth, and that plague his wind projects? If the CEO of First Wind did appropriately disclose to the DEP, as green policy Advisor appointed by Deval Patrick, noise and health complaints generated by wind projects developed by UPC First Wind, this disclosure may have informed the Town during the permitting and evaluation process.
Was the Town of Falmouth informed by the MA DEP that wind turbines are known to cause noise, flicker, health complaints, and lawsuits, particularly against UPC First Wind CEO, Deval Patrick's Appointed green policy Advisor?
The DEP and DPH charged with protection of public health and the environment should have disclosed, acknowledged, compelling evidence of harm to humans, and their property values, by wind turbines operated by DEP’s own green policy Advisor Paul Gaynor CEO of UPC First Wind.
If the Town of Falmouth had the benefit of information available to MA Public Officials, wind turbines consistently generate noise and health complaints, and property value loss, would Falmouth have installed wind turbines that now cause intolerable human suffering and significant monetary damage?
Northboro, MA 01532
Telephone: (508) 612-4133 This evidence (below) withheld from Falmouth by the Patrick Administration could have averted disaster.
Windmills a sound investment?
By Mary Perham Corning Leader Mon Apr 06, 2009, 12:11 AM EDT
Bath, N.Y. -
Editor’s note | This is the first part of a two-part look at developing concerns over wind farms in parts of Steuben County.
In early January, the blades in the 53-turbine First Wind project in the town of Cohocton began to spin. It was the first project in Steuben County to generate renewable energy and one of five under consideration in the county.
Within weeks, dozens of Cohocton residents went to the town board in neighboring Prattsburgh to warn that the machines were proving to be noisy and harmful.
“Don’t let (the developers) buffalo you,” Cohocton resident Hal Graham told the Prattsburgh Town Board in late February. “You know, I wanted to do something for the environment. And now I can’t sleep at night.”
Photo by Jason Cox | The Leader A wind turbine is seen from Hal Graham’s window on Lent Hill in Cohocton.
Graham initially supported wind farm development.
Prattsburgh is the site of two wind farms planned by developers First Wind and EcoGen. Other projects have been proposed in the towns of Hartsville and Howard.
Since wind farms in Steuben County were first proposed in 2002, developers have admitted it’s hard to miss seeing the 400-foot-high turbines, but insisted they sound no louder than a refrigerator’s hum.
The projects have been promoted throughout the largely rural county as a quiet, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to provide renewable energy.
Environmental studies for Cohocton and Steuben County led to restrictions of the turbines’ sound to a maximum comfort level of 50 decibels. Setbacks were established to assure both noise and other potential dangers such as shadow flicker and flying debris were lessened.
Yet the promised “refrigerator hum” of the turbines was a falsity as residents began to compare the sound to the roar of a jet engine, according to Graham.
The Cohocton residents are among a growing number of people across the nation complaining the noise made by wind turbines is intrusive and disturbing. Medical professionals have compiled studies showing the noise can pose health hazards.
And the wind industry is beginning to take notice.
In Maine, where the state welcomed renewable energy, the Mars Hill project has been widely criticized for being noisy.
According to a March 26, 2008 report by the Daily News in Bangor, Maine, UPC Wind president and CEO Paul Gaynor said the company would do a better job in the future about letting local residents know what to expect from wind farms.
“I know there was an expectation (in Mars Hill) about what these were going to sound like,” Gaynor told the Daily News. “These are big structures and they do make sound.”
Shortly after Gaynor spoke to the Maine newspaper, the firm changed its name to First Wind. It was formerly known as Global Winds Harvest/UPC.
Local officials said they have relied on the best information available and worked to ensure the safety of residents.
Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Exec-utive Director James Sherron said the agency has regulatory standards based on data from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Energy Research Development Agency.
The Steuben County IDA has established minimum distances that wind turbines can be to a residence, called a setback. There are also limits on decibel levels.
But Sherron said he has heard reports of 110 decibels in Cohocton -- twice the accepted limit – and added any violations would go through a process of sound studies to decide the best way to solve the issue.
“We have a responsibility with the developers, they have to meet the criteria,” Sherron said. “They could be asked to slow down the turbines, find alternatives. It could mean the unit would be removed.”
Sherron said another factor in the noise may be the model of machine used in Cohocton.
While SCIDA initially reviewed 1.5 megawatt turbines, the five wind farm developers looking to do business in the county indicated they would be installing 2.3 megawatt turbines. The larger turbines were approved because SCIDA’s consultants said there was no significant difference in their impact, Sherron said.
But all models under consideration are capable of exceeding 100 decibels at a maximum speed of 30 feet per second, according to a report to SCIDA by developer EverPower.
Typically, the blade rotation is reduced to lower speeds.
Yet some sound experts charge the current “acceptable” range of 45-50 decibels is excessive, and twice as loud as some background rural noise recorded at 20-25 decibels.
Acoustical engineer Richard James warned the noise is not only nerve-wracking, but poses health risks now being studied in the U.S. and in Europe, where wind farms have operated for nearly 20 years.
James likened the potential long-term effect of wind farms to the now-notorious region near Buffalo, where officials paved over the toxic waste which later poisoned residents. “This is like Love Canal,” he said.
April 1, 2009 by Jack Zigenfus
Cohocton, NY permitted First Wind (formerly UPC Wind) to construct two wind energy facilities in the town on private land. Noise complaints started almost immediately after the turbines became operational. Windaction.org has been notified that the below letter was sent by Cohocton's town supervisor to First Wind.
Paul Gaynor as DEP Advisor on "Low Carbon Energy Supply Subcommittee" provides empirical evidence by First Wind's non-disclosure settlement that shows adverse impacts by wind turbines to property owners is confirmed.
First Wind "gag order" Sheffield settlement has been posted in its entirety, here, with Adobe link to the actual document, names redacted: http://www.windaction.org/documents/25867
With a modicum of due diligence on the part of the DEP, DPH and Patrick Administration, the physical suffering of MA residents ongoing by wind turbines could have been averted. This harm to MA residents duplicates events that have caused physical suffering and property value loss by ME residents who have filed suit against First Wind—The Patrick Administration and DEP green policy Advisor:
. August 12, 2009 • Filings, Health, Human rights, Maine, Noise, Property values
Mars Hill residents’ suit against First Wind et al.
When all of the turbines became operational for the first time in late March 2007, it became immediately obvious to the Plaintiffs that the noise from the turbines was invasive and caused them loss of enjoyment of life, loss of peace and quiet, loss of their full use of their home and land. Some Plaintiffs required medical treatment and counseling. Many have, and continue to, lose sleep, suffer headaches, suffer considerable stress, and other physical and emotional ailments.
14. The real estate values of the Plaintiffs’ homes have been greatly reduced, as is supported by an expert’s opinion, of their property values before and after operation of the turbines.
Continue reading and download suit:
HEFFIELD — Some days there is no discernible noise coming from the wind turbines behind Steve and LuAnn Therrien’s house in Sheffield.
Other days, they say, the turbines create a constant roar that wakes them up in the night, makes them sick to their stomachs or their heads, drives up his blood pressure and her anxiety level, and makes their two young children restless.
“Something’s not right here,” LuAnn Therrien said.
“I’m feeling like we have to move,” Steve Therrien said, adding that they can’t afford to. “If you’re not feeling well, and you know your kids are screaming, there’s nothing you can do.”
cut--continue reading> http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20121223/NEWS07/31223001...
"People bought property here specifically for the silence," said Wendy Todd (with her husband, Perrin), in Mars Hill, Maine. (Fred J. Field for the Boston Globe)
MARS HILL, Maine — This year, when Steven and Tammie Fletcher took their traditional New Year’s Eve walk to the top of Mars Hill, the crisp winter stillness mixed with something unfamiliar: the whoosh of the new windmills towering over the northern Maine mountaintop.
This is not how it was supposed to be, say the Fletchers and their neighbors on the north side of Mars Hill, where a... [continue via Web link]
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