More than two years after wind turbine blades began spinning on Vinalhaven, the lives of some residents are still being disrupted by excessive noise. Finally, a Maine Superior Court will hear their case for due process according to law. The hearing is scheduled for March 8, 2012, at Kennebec Court in Augusta in the chamber of Judge Michaela Murphy. For those who interested to learn the facts, click here to read: Vinalhaven Neighbors’ History of Wind Turbine Legal Issues
Of the case before the Superior Court, Rufus E. Brown, Esq., an attorney for the petitioners, writes: “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.”