7/13/11 Kids who live in wind farm: Remember to brush your teeth and take your sleeping pill ANDResidents say NO to wind turbines in Lee County, IL AND Take the turbines down or do nothing?
SUMNER — The Wind Power Committee held an emergency meeting on short notice Sunday to take advantage of an audio expert who testified Thursday in Augusta before the state committee considering stronger noise regulations on industrial wind power for the Department of Environmental Protection.
Richard James, a mechanical engineer who focuses on environmental engineering, has been working with sound for 42 years. He worked with General Motors for several years and has been to Asia and Europe as a consultant on wind turbine sound.
“I’m not anti-wind if it is done right,” James said. “I am anti-peers,” he said, adding that his peers in the business need to be more honest with people about turbine wind noise.
James said many times when people are worried about sound from new factories, airports or highways, they eventually come to realize that sound was not going to be a problem.
“Not so with wind turbines,” he said. “That’s when you have a problem with noise.”
James said the mistake many people make when they go to visit wind turbines is they go during the day. “The normal noises of daytime activities help to cover the turbine sound. People should go for a visit in the middle of the night,” he said. “That’s when people have trouble.”
Steve Perry, one of the 14 committee members present, asked what made the sound different from other sounds such as sawmills, as people is Maine were used to such noises. James replied that it was the low-frequency sounds that were different and annoyed people in their sleep more.
Selectman Maryann Haxton asked how the sound problem could be corrected. James replied that guidelines of 35 decibels should be set for turbines and to require them to be located a mile and a half away from homes.
Someone asked how much the sound would be affected with the proposed turbines on Mount Tom because they were just above Pleasant Pond. James replied that they would be three decibels higher because sound travels more easily across water.
Someone asked about home appraisals and James said real estate agents were no longer appraising any homes near windmills.
Art Lindgren, a former resident of Vinalhaven, spoke to the group about his problems. They were unable to stay in their home after the turbines were up and running. He said they believed what they were told about sound before the turbines were installed.
James told of a mother from Freedom who had testified on Thursday that before her children went to bed she asked not only if they had brushed their teeth, but if they had taken their sleeping pill as well.
Jeff Pfeifer, who chaired the meeting, asked what recommendations James would have for the committee in writing up their ordinance.
“Number one, you should write the ordinance in such a way as to protect the health of nearby residents,” James said. “Next you should make the company involved commit to promises they make and set 35 decibels as a maximum at night. Have the setbacks one and a half miles from any residents if the turbines are on hard ridges. One and a quarter miles, otherwise.”
VOTERS BACK TURBINE BAN
July 13 2011
BY DAVID GIULIANI,
FRANKLIN GROVE – Residents in the Franklin Grove area voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ban industrial wind turbines.
In the nonbinding referendum, 137 voters, or 75 percent, backed the ban, while 45, or 25 percent, opposed it.
Voters in Frankin Grove and those within 1.5 miles of its boundaries cast ballots.
In August, the village board is expected to consider whether to follow the voters’ will and enact the ban, which would apply to the village and the 1.5-mile area.
The referendum – or public opinion poll, as Mayor Bob Logan preferred to call it – could have political effects throughout Lee County. It’s the first time a public vote on wind energy has been taken in the county.
Opponents of wind farms have seen the County Board as pro-wind industry, an issue that could play out in next year’s board election.
Logan, who campaigned for the ban, said he was surprised the vote was so overwhelmingly against turbines.
“This is an accurate reflection on how people feel,” he said.
He said that although the village board wasn’t legally bound to the voters’ will, it was ethically obligated to follow suit.
Months ago, the village considered enacting a ban within the village and the 1.5-mile area. But it was criticized for doing so without getting the out-of-towners’ input. So the village board voted 5-1 to hold the referendum.
Board member Tony Schaneberg voted against holding it. He said Tuesday that he did so because he thought anyone 18 or older – voters and nonvoters – should be allowed to participate.
“It’s an opinion poll, not an election,” he said.
Schaneberg declined to say how he voted.
County Board Vice Chairman John Nicholson, one of Franklin Grove’s more prominent residents, said last week that he would vote for the ban. Turbines near the village would limit its growth, he said.
Earlier this year, the County Board’s Properties Committee, which Nicholson heads, recommended against extending the moratorium on new wind development – a move that angered opponents of wind farms.
The board let the moratorium expire without a discussion.
The county Zoning Board of Appeals is now reviewing the wind farm ordinance and is expected to make recommendations for changes. A Whiteside County committee will soon start a similar process.
Referendums on wind issues are rare. An Internet search turned up only a couple in recent years – both on the East Coast in 2006. In one, voters overwhelmingly approved wind energy in their community, while in the other, two-thirds of voters rejected a proposed wind farm.
The Franklin Grove Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Village Hall, 105 E. South St.
The board is expected to discuss the possibility of banning industrial wind turbines in Franklin Grove and the 1.5-mile area outside of the village.
Call Village Hall, 815-456-2131, for more information.
CHOICES FOR MITIGATING IMPACTS OF TURBINE
SOURCE: Falmouth Enterprise
July 12, 2011
By Christopher Kazarian,
Selectmen made no definitive decision regarding the future of the town’s two wind turbines last night, but will have the town’s consultant Weston & Sampson investigate a range of options that could mean taking down both machines and selling them to another community on one end of the spectrum to doing nothing on the other.
In-between those two possibilities are other options that include retrofitting homes owned by those abutters impacted by Wind 1 since it was made operational in March of last year with sound barriers or blackout shades.
Or the town could continue to shut down the turbine during specific times of day or wind speeds, something the board elected to do in February when it voted to halt the operation of the machine when wind speeds reach 10 meters per second, which is roughly the equivalent of 23 miles per hour.
The only option that the board elected to hold off pursuing was purchasing the homes of those aggrieved, something that Selectman Kevin E. Murphy and Chairman Mary (Pat) Flynn argued should be considered as a last-ditch effort, should all other mitigation strategies fail.
Before providing selectmen with a cost-benefit analysis for this menu of choices, Weston & Sampson will provide the board with a scope of service for the work it will conduct and the information it will provide.
That information will be used by the board to determine how to best solve the dilemma that town is wrestling with concerning the wind turbines and neighboring residents who have claimed repeatedly the machines have impacted their health and well-being.
“I think it’s important we do this,” Ms. Flynn said. “I think we have to know what our options are and what the costs are… I think we can’t delay. We certainly can’t hold meetings like this every week. We have to have some facts and they have to be real and evidence-based.”
Last night’s forum was the second the board has held in the past month on wind turbines. The first was held in June at the Morse Pond School, while last night’s moved to the auditorium of Falmouth High School, with roughly 75 people in attendance.
The discussion kicked off with a brief comment by Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) who stressed the state is looking into addressing the proper siting and operation of wind turbines in relation to residential areas. “Your health and well-being are of utmost importance to us,” she said.
At the same time, she said, Massachusetts needs to continue exploring alternative energy sources as a way to lower the state’s high electricity costs, which she said are among the five highest in the nation.
“My hope is that tonight brings us one step closer to a solution,” she said, concluding her remarks.
What that solution should be is unclear, although area residents pushed for dismantling the machines, so they could return to their former way of life. Roughly half of the three-hour session allowed for the public to make comments, with the majority railing against the town’s decision to erect the turbines.
“Most of us know Wind 1 was a big mistake,” said Neil P. Andersen of Blacksmith Shop Road. He termed his home “ground zero” and said the sound to the turbine, at times, is like “a jet engine coming. Whoo. Whoo. Whoo. Over and over again.” He was the first of many to speak of sleepless nights he and his wife, Elizabeth, have encountered as the result of being subject to the machines.
Dine C. Funfar of Ridgeview Drive expressed fear about how the turbine is affecting her husband, Barry A. Funfar, a Vietnam War veteran. With a fight or flight mentality, she said, her husband has elected to “fight,” seeing “no sense in giving up.”
“My grandkids want gardening with grandpa [Mr. Funfar] to return,” she said.
On a similar note Colin P. Murphy of Blacksmith Shop Road said reading a bedtime story to his children at night is nearly impossible due to the noise created by the turbines. “You have wronged our neighborhood,” he said. “You have to fix it. It is time for you to step up to the plate and do your job.”
And while the focus of the session was the town-owned wind turbines, there were those like Loretta O’Brien of Blacksmith Shop Road, who mentioned the privately owned Notus Clean Energy wind turbine in Technology Park. “I’m losing sleep because of it,” she said, calling on selectmen to extend whatever decision they ultimately make on the town-owned wind turbines to that one as well.
Sheldon Lowenthal of Ambleside Drive said selectmen had to make a moral and fiduciary decision on behalf of the town, warning that “someone could die one of these days” as the direct result of the wind turbine, suggesting ice throw as one possibility. And if that happens, he said, Falmouth would have to pay a legal settlement of anywhere between $50 to $100 million.
“I think selectmen know what the right thing to do is,” he said. “That is to take down both wind turbines and site them in an appropriate place.”
Maurice M. Rowe of Westmoreland Drive asked whether town officials considered mitigation, litigation and the depreciation of the town’s assets when it first proposed this project. He suggested it would be wise to look at a snapshot at the initial state of the project “and compare that to what we know now.”
“It is a failed project, no doubt,” David R. Moriarty of Lower Road, said, his voice pitched with emotion. “The people are suffering, and they want relief today. Get someone down here [from the state] who can help the people.”
Following the public comment, there were several presentations made that included similar testimony about health impacts caused by the turbine, with J. Malcolm Donald of Ambleside Drive mentioning a study done on about the effects from a 28-turbine wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine.
Citing data from that study, conducted by Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, Mr. Donald showed that 77 percent, or 17 of 22 people living next to the turbines woke up in the middle of the night as a result of the machines. The study, he said, also shows that 41 percent of the abutters experienced some form of depression and 77 percent said they experienced feelings of anger due to their proximity to the turbines.
While he said the study had a strong correlation to the situation in Falmouth, two of his neighbors, Jill V. Worthington and Kathryn L. Elder, both of Blacksmith Shop Road, recently conducted their own analysis of the impacts of the turbine in the neighborhood. The two spoke with 59 of 70 property owners in the area, asking them four questions that included whether the turbine has impacted their use or enjoyment of their properties. Of those questioned, Ms. Elder said 41 people responded that it has.
Ms Worthington said a number of residents they spoke with were upset about the turbine, but did not feel like they had the “energy to fight city hall.” Others have considered selling their homes, she said.
She choked up when speaking of one neighbor who has not been impacted by the turbine. “My family and 40 others have lost that peace,” she said.
Also providing a brief presentation was the town’s acoustical engineer Christopher Menge of Harris Miller Miller & Hanson of Burlington, which conducted a noise study of the town’s wind turbines in September. He disputed several points made by Todd A. Drummey of Blacksmith Shop Road in June that stated the HMMH study was flawed.
He also focused on both low frequency and infrasound, saying there is no evidence either causes harm, leading Mr. Andersen to blurt out, “Wrong” followed by “Wrong, again!” At that point moderator Nancy Farrell, the chief executive of Regina Villa Associates of Boston, warned Mr. Andersen, “If you speak out again I will have to ask you to leave.”
While much of the discussion centered around Wind 1, Fran Yanuskiewicz of Weston & Sampson, provided a brief update on the status of Wind 2, the town-owned wind turbine paid for by stimulus funds that was erected in January. Mr. Yanuskiewicz expected it would not be operation until October as issues with the interconnection to the grid need to be worked out.
Whether a resolution is found prior to that point is unclear, although Kevin Murphy promised residents that Falmouth is a “can do town and we can solve this problem. Collectively, we can.”
Others were not so sure, exemplified by Terry Pentifallo-Drummey’s comments that what selectmen were doing is just lip service.
While she, her husband and daughter showed up to last night’s hearing, she said her 10-year-old son returned home from summer camp recently and told his family, ‘I’m not sleeping in my room anymore.’ It is too bad I had to spend the entire day moving his room so he could sleep,” she said.