“You’re fighting a losing battle, just get out,” one resident shouted.
The company has received approval from the city to build eight turbines on the mountain range, after threatening a $126-million lawsuit when city officials in October rejected the location of several turbines.
Fort William First Nation members say they want Horizon Wind Inc. to take their plans for a wind farm on the Nor’Wester mountains somewhere else.
The First Nation community held a discussion panel with spokespersons from Horizon Wind at the Fort William First Nation Community Centre on Monday.
More than 100 people attended the meeting along with Anishinabek Police Service officers. Officials with Horizon had planned to present a slide show, but the agenda soon changed.
Instead, community members lined up to voice their opposition to the project. Some told stories about what the mountain meant to them and others gave promises to stand against Horizon no matter what.
“You’re fighting a losing battle, just get out,” one resident shouted.
Jordan Morriseau, 30, usually hunts in the fall and said the turbines would impact his traditional hunting grounds and cause damage to endangered species that live on and around the mountain. He’s fighting against the project for environmental and cultural reasons, he said.
“That’s prime moose habitat up there,” Morriseau said. “We live off moose, it’s one of our main foods. The wind farm would be detrimental to our way of life.”
The company has received approval from the city to build eight turbines on the mountain range, after threatening a $126-million lawsuit when city officials in October rejected the location of several turbines. The project must still meet the standards set out by the province, through a renewable energy approval application. The province has already rejected Horizon’s REA application once.
Alex Legarde shared Morriseau’s concerns about the project. Legarde said he had questions he wanted answered, wondering if building the turbines would destroy hunting grounds. He’s concerned because hunting and trapping are his livelihood, he said.
Legarde hoped the project wouldn’t go through, he said.
Shane Wells, 31, went to the mic to speak a few times. He said he doesn’t know much about wind turbines, but he does know his community doesn’t want them and felt the two spokespersons for the company didn’t care what the community had to say.
“They could have put an audio recorder down and said see you all tomorrow and I`ll take that back to my boss,” Wells said. “I`ll give them the recorder of what was said. Oh they don’t like it, well just throw it away.”
Wyatt Bannon, one of organizers of the meeting, said he’s just one voice of many representing people who oppose the project. Horizon Wind is trying to build in an area that is sacred to the community and that development has to stop, he said.
No matter Horizon decides, the community is prepared to do to stop them, he said.
“We`ll do whatever it takes,” Bannon said. “We will not let it happen. Anybody to even consider putting those things up in such a pristine area are ignorant to everything people have worked. You don’t go into a watershed. That’s a no-brainer. It’s to protect the water. For these guys its money but for us it’s a lot more. It’s life.”
Following the meeting, officials with Horizon Wind weren’t available for comment.
From Columbia County
WIND FARM TOWER SEGMENTS READY TO GO UP
May 31, 2011
By Lyn Jerde
“We’re building a project that not everybody wants in the community,”
TOWN OF SCOTT — How’s this for irony? The construction of the state’s largest wind energy facility is on hold, on account of wind.
The towers - the lower two components of them, anyway - were supposed to start piercing the skyline of northeastern Columbia County this week.
Instead, the components were, as of Thursday morning, lying on their sides, while the anemometers at the top of the cranes clocked wind speeds at about 40 mph. That’s about 15 mph too brisk for the safe construction of the towers.
It’s no surprise to Mike Strader of We Energies that breezes can get a tad gusty in these parts. That’s a key reason why We Energies is building the 90 turbine towers that will comprise Glacier Hills Wind Park on about farmland occupying about 17,300 acres in Columbia County’s towns of Randolph and Scott.
But, if the wind gusts to 25 mph or more, as it has all week, it’s not safe to erect the towers.
“What we can’t do is what we would love to do - put up those towers,” Strader said.
Starting Monday, plans had called for the arrival of the components of eight towers per day. The four segments of each tower would arrive, one at a time, from Manitowoc on trucks with about eight axles to distribute the weight evenly.
Many of the turbine blades have already arrived by rail from Colorado. Most are being stored, for now, on a town of Courtland parcel approved by Columbia County’s planning and zoning committee as a temporary staging area for the Glacier Hills project.
We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said that, for the most part, gawking at the construction will be discouraged, for the safety of the public and the workers, and because much of the technology is proprietary.
But the curiosity is understandable, she said, and an open house Wednesday is intended to satisfy that curiosity.
“A lot of people want to see these things,” she said. “This is a very good way let people get up close, without jeopardizing themselves and others.”
Strader said it had been hoped that at least the bottom two sections of a tower located near the construction office on Highway H, in the town of Scott, would have already been up by the time open house guests arrive Wednesday.
That doesn’t seem likely, given recent windy conditions, but it’s possible that people could see the components hoisted up Thursday.
Starting in the southeast quadrant of the construction area, Strader said, the base and “lower mid” segments of towers will be put up first.
The base component can be identified by a flange that sticks out around its bottom circumference. That’s the part that will be in contact with the ground, and held in place by grouting.
About six weeks after the bottom two segments of a tower go in, the top two segments will be installed. Also installed will be the nacelle (an enclosure at the top of each tower that contains the generator and transformer), the hub and the three blades.
The project is due to be finished in December, Strader said. He added that the wind delays so far have not put the project too far behind schedule - though there may be times when weather-delayed weekday work might have to be made up on Saturdays.
And yes, he said, some area people have let Glacier Hills construction workers know - sometimes by honked vehicle horns or shouts from vehicle windows - that they’re not happy about having 90 400-foot towers going up near where they live.
At the public hearings held before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin authorized the project - with conditions - residents raised health-related concerns. Concerns include low-level noise and shadow flicker, as well as loss of TV reception, dangers to birds and bats and challenges for landing helicopter ambulances in the project’s vicinity.
“We’re building a project that not everybody wants in the community,” Strader said. “But, if alternative energy is to be produced in Wisconsin, then wind is one of the most viable resources.”
Want a closer look? Open house set Wednesday
The public is invited to take a closer look Wednesday at the construction of Glacier Hills Wind Park - including the big components of the 90 wind turbine towers that are going up in the towns of Scott and Randolph.
We Energies will have an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Glacier Hills construction office, N7844 Highway H, about a half-mile south of Highway 33 in the town of Scott.
In addition to viewing components and construction equipment, participants may sign their names to a turbine blade.
Officials of We Energies will be there to answer questions about the Glacier Hills project.
By the numbers
14: The approximate diameter, in feet, of the hollow space inside one of the Glacier Hills Wind Park towers, where there’s a ladder by which maintenance workers can access the towers.
138: The weight, in tons, of each completed tower.
148: The length, in feet, of each of the three turbine blades on each tower.
410: The height, in feet, from the ground to the top of the highest-reaching blade.
3: The number of quality checks that each turbine must pass before it’s operational. The turbines also will be inspected for safety periodically once they start generating electricity.
4: The number of sections in each tower.
56: The number of miles of underground trenching for the electrical distribution system within Glacier Hills. A lot of that is along Highway 33 just west of Cambria.
8: The number of axles on a truck that hauls a single segment of a turbine tower.
100 to 105: The number of feet high that the bottom two components of a tower - the base and the “lower mid” - stand once they’re assembled.
2: The number of towers per day that We Energies had hoped to build, starting Monday.
0: The number of towers that have been built as of Thursday.
The PSC heard from people all over the state during the three days of hearings about the draft wind siting rules. Here is one from a resident of We Energies Blue Sky Green Field Project in Fond du Lac County.
Andy Hesselbach, who is in charge of developing wind projects for We Energies is one of the wind siting council members with a direct financial interest in creating rules that will allow We Energies to continue to site turbines with the same setbacks and noise limits that have caused problems detailed in the letter below.
Questions have been raised regarding similar conflicts of interest for the majority of the Wind Siting Council members.
Madison Audubon Society is very disappointed in the draft wind siting rules.
The sole reason we changed our position last year to one of support for SB 185 was because there would be provisions for taking important bird and bat resources into account when siting turbines.
These provisions included mapping areas in the state where wind turbines could have an adverse effect on bird and bat populations and a review of DNR`s statutory authority to adequately protect wildlife and the environment from any adverse effect from the siting, construction, or operation of wind energy systems.
Neither provision is cited in the draft rule other than one reference to "current DNR guidelines" that is buried on page 30.
Whether these two provisions are statutorily required or not, the maps and guidelines are essential for developers, landowners, and municipalities ("political subdivisions" in PSC-speak), to know about as early in the process as possible.
Not only would this help prevent undue harm to important wildlife resources, but it would help all parties involved avoid potential controversy and very-costly delays or denials of projects.
It would be far better to know as much as possible upfront, before the process even begins, about where key migratory bird routes, bat hibernacula, and other important bird and wildlife areas are located. DNR (p. 6) should be notified at least as soon as, if not earlier, than landowners, to help developers avoid problems.
While wind developers should be consulting with DNR as early in the process as possible, prominently including mention of the maps and guidance in the rule would alert municipalities about the existence of the maps and guidance and to ask companies if they have taken those into consideration. These two critical sources of information need to be hot-linked to the appropriate documents on the web.
FROM THE TOWN OF MORRISON:
My name is Timothy J. Harmann and I testified at the 1:00PM meeting on June 28, 2010 in Fond Du Lac in regards to the Wind Siting Rulemaking docket 1-AC-231.
I submit a CD with 5 videos of people that I personally interviewed on May 22, 2010 near Fond Du Lac, WI that were negatively impacted by Industrial Wind Projects but the CD wasn’t able to be accepted in the presented format.
After the hearing I was approached by the judge and was told that I could submit a link to the videos on the PSC ERF system.
Here is the online location of the videos that I presented during my testimony (I had to split them into 5 separate videos because of the youtube limitations):
These 5 videos are also available at this address (labeled Interview1 – Interview5): http://www.bccrwe.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=87
They are under this heading: “Interviews with residents of a Wisconsin Wind Farm”
Thank you for your time in this very important matter.
Timothy J. Harmann Town of Morrison Brown County Wisconsin
Click on the image below to watch a video at a link submitted to the PSC. Interview with a Blue Sky/Green Field resident
This from Poynette, Wisconsin:
As a resident who will be living in the middle of the proposed Arlington area wind farm I would like to say this: Large scale industrial wind sites should be zoned as industrial use.
People in close proximity should be compensated under Wisconsin takings law, for the loss of value and degradation of their property. People and/or dwellings should be relocated.
These are industrial scale energy production zones. They are not compatible with human occupancy. These giant multi-million dollar projects should have a concentration of wind towers, not the widely scattered array as proposed in Arlington.
The investors should own the land, pay the local property taxes. Please guarantee the maintenance and future dismantling costs with an adequate escrow account, so that local governments are not saddled with run-down wind farms after their useful life and competitive cost/usefulness has expired.
The energy industry (coal, nuclear, oil, gas etc.) has surely demonstrated the usefulness of government regulation, control, and protection of American taxpayers. The legal strength and lobbying power of the energy industry and its ability to manipulate contracts, politicians and events in its own interest have been demonstrated in the Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains, and on our west coast and in the gulf.
This industry acts in its own interests without regard to American public lands, water and air. As an example, they have installed 30,000 miles of pipeline in the gulf seafloor. Many geologists and other scientists say this may not be prudent.
So, we citizens rely on our elected representatives, our Wisconsin and national lawmakers to apply the necessary counterweight to proposals like industrial wind production siting.
At our town hall meetings in Arlington it was obvious the industry had successfully managed to divide the community.
Absentee landowners, and large scale farms will benefit with tax breaks and secret contracts with the energy industry.
Why have my neighbors signed contracts with a wind investor that they are not allowed to discuss? Why the muzzling?A process that has been conceived in secrecy?
Decision makers on local town boards should not be in the position to personally benefit from a secret contract, a contract that will pad their pockets but one that has the potential to erode local property values and harm their neighbors.
If the property values go down, the tax rolls go down, and soon the deferred maintenance lists for our schools and town roads becomes longer and longer. Will the international investors know or care?
Lastly, I have heard personal testimony from people living in close proximity to wind turbines who say their health and well-being, or their livestock, and their property values, have been severely negatively impacted.
If the PSC does not get this right, there will probably be class action lawsuits, similar to the ones that followed the construction of the Columbia power plant near Portage.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. Shane Vondra
Click on the image below to watch a video at a link submitted to the PSC. Interview with a Wisconsin wind project resident.
FROM MANITOWOC COUNTY:
From Dean Anhalt Supervisor Town of Mishicot Manitowoc County
I have been looking at wind turbine issues for 6 years. Please consider my comments.
We need to do epidemiological studies to find out what is negatively affecting people and animals in current Wisconsin wind farms before any new wind turbines are erected.
Setbacks need to be from property lines, not residences. Turbines should not be casting any unsafe zones over neighboring non-participating properties.
Wind rights need to be protected. Turbines should not be using winds over neighboring non participating lands. When others use winds over neighboring properties they gain control over the property through wind access rights and can control what is done on the neighboring non-participating property. This is a taking of property rights.
Setbacks to roadways need to be large enough that debris from a turbine malfunction will not land on roads. Past wind turbine accidents and mathematical calculations show a 1.1 times the turbine height setback to a road may not be adequate.
Electrical pollution from wind turbines cannot affect our farms.
Allowable noise levels should be set at an amount over ambient background noise. Ambient noise levels are quite low at night in rural areas. People need to be protected from offensive audible and low frequency noise.
Shadow flicker should not fall on neighboring non-participating lands.
Proper funds need to be set aside by wind farm owners to cover all costs of decommissioning. Local municipalities or land owners must not be stuck with removal costs at decommissioning time.
Towns need the ability to recover all costs to repair road damage during the building, operation ,and decommissioning of a wind farm.
Developers should have to give notice to counties of their intent to solicit lands to build a wind farm on before any landowners are contacted. These projects affect all people in their area. There is still too much happening behind the scenes and in secrecy. Local municipalities and all people should be made aware of projects in the very beginning.
In my area we have nuclear plants. I believe it is one of the best places for future nuclear power projects and expansions. Will a proposed wind farm in our area fill the local electrical grid not allowing room for future nuclear expansion without expensive grid updates? If so is this in the best interest of consumers looking for economical base load power.
Sincerely, Dean Anhalt
FROM BROWN COUNTY:
July 7, 2010 Sandra Paske Secretary to the Commission Public Service Commission of Wisconsin P.O. Box 7854 Madison, WI 53707 Via: ERF RE: Docket No. 1-AC-231 Wind Siting Rules
Dear Ms. Paske:
I am filing these written comments as a supplement to the comments I made at the public hearing in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin that was held June 28, 2010.
I am a resident of Brown County and have been approached to lease property for the construction of wind turbines, which has caused me to look into the effects of wind turbines on people and property.
With regard to the rules of the siting of wind turbines, I have three principle areas of concern:
• Health and Safety of people who live and work near wind turbines • Property values in the area of wind factories • Placing wind turbine factories in areas with sensitive geological features
I. Health and Safety
With regard to health and safety of the people who would live or work within the area of a wind turbine factory, I would first bring to your attention the recommendation of the Brown County Board of Health.
A copy of that recommendation is attached.
I would refer the Public Service Commission to the following reports which were made a part of the record during my comments at the Fond du Lac hearing:
1. World Health Organization “Night Noise Guidelines for Europe” 2. World Health Organization Final Implementation Report for Night Noise Guidelines 3. Report compiled by Dr. Keith Stelling – October, 2009 4. Health Survey Report for the Ontario, Canada Government 5. Dr. Nina Pierpont – March, 2006 6. Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark – Mechanical Operating and Maintenance Manual
Based on the above scientific expert analysis of wind turbine factory noise outputs, I would ask the PSC. to impose setbacks of at least one mile from an adjoining property owner’s property line and to set anaudible noise level of 30 dB at an occupied structure.
II. Property Values
Regarding property values, Appraisal Group One of Oshkosh, Wisconsin studied the sales of property within two wind factories in Wisconsin: Blue Sky Green Field in Fond du Lac County and Forward in Fond du Lac and Dodge County. The Report included a literature review, an opinion Survey and a Sales Study The conclusions from the Sales Study were that “the impact of wind turbines decreased the land values from -12% to -47% with the average being -30%.”
The Wind Energy companies normally rely on a study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to show no or little effect on property values. This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study has been debunked in several articles. The statistical methodology used (Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis) by LBL is not appropriate for this type of study.
The authors failed to follow any of the well-developed and tested standards for performing regression analysis on property sales.
This is a significant problem because out of the 7,500 sales in the study, less than 10% had ANY view of turbines, and only 2.1% had a view rated greater than minor. That is 158 homes out of 7,500 nationwide.
Because of the dramatic effect that wind turbines have on adjoining property owners and their land value, the Public Service Commission should establish setback standards from property lines, not occupied structures. By establishing setbacks for wind turbines related to existing homes or other occupied structures, the Public Service Commission will be depriving property owners of the use of their property should the property owners wish to construct a residence or occupied structure within the setback area that encroaches upon adjoining property.
The State – or local government - may ultimately be financially responsible to adjoining landowners who have lost the right to the use and enjoyment of their property.
The legal doctrine of inverse condemnation is recognized in Wisconsin.
The case of Piper vs. Ekern 180 Wis. 586 (1923) recognizes that a State regulation meant for the public good, but which reduces property value, may be a “taking” even though no formal condemnation has been initiated.
In that case, the State was required to compensate the property owner who suffered economic harm as a result of the State regulation. (Related to the height of buildings near the State Capital). Also the case of Zimm vs. State 112 Wis. (2d) 417 (1983) stated that the State was responsible to the land owner for property lost when the DNR raised the water level of a lake and the property became accessible to the public.
In order to protect adjoining property owners and to preserve the rights of property owners to the use of their property, the Public Service Commission should establish setbacks for wind turbines of one mile from property lines.
III. Placing Wind Turbine Factories in Areas With Sensitive Geological Features
My residence is located on the Niagra Escarpment. My water needs are supplied by a private well. Because of that, I am very concerned about the possible effects of ground water contamination from the construction of the foundations for Wind Turbines and the trenching for the necessary cabling to connect the turbines to the electrical grid.
The Niagra Escarpment is a unique geological feature in Northeast Wisconsin. The rock that forms the escarpment has many fractures and in certain areas the bedrock is exposed or very near the surface. The term for that condition is Karst fractures.
It is very important that the Public Service Commission not allow wind farms to be built along the Niagra Escarpment where Karst fractures exist to prevent contamination of the ground water supply in these particularly sensitive areas.
In conclusion, I would urge the State of Wisconsin to fully study the issues that have recently been coming to light. Europe has had wind turbines for decades and is only within the recent past begun to become aware of the negative side effects of wind turbines. There are many other issues that need to be addressed, including the effect of wind turbines on domesticated and wild animals, as well as interference with communications and television and radio reception.
Do not allow additional residents of Wisconsin to be guinea pigs to be studied after the fact. Let’s fully understand the consequences of locating Wind Turbine Factories in areas where people live and work before the wind turbines are installed.
If wind turbines are to be located in Wisconsin before we study and understand their effects, the setback should be one mile from adjoining property owners’ property line and an audible noise level of 30 dB at an occupied structure.
Wisconsin Towns Association Richard J. Stadelman, Executive Director W7686 County Road MMM Shawano, Wis. 54166 Tel. (715) 526-3157 Fax (715) 524-3917 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Public Service Commission of Wisconsin From: Richard J. Stadelman, Executive Director Wisconsin Towns Association Re: Comments on Wind Facility Siting Rules, Docket 1-AC-231 Date: July 7, 2010
On behalf of the board of directors and member towns and villages of Wisconsin Towns Association I submit the following comments on the draft proposed rule for Wind Energy System Siting Rules, Docket 1-AC-231.
Wisconsin Towns Association would ask that the Public Service Commission`s (PSC) final decision in developing and adopting rules as authorized under 2009 Wis. Act 40 should be governed by two overriding principles: (i) protection of public health and safety and (ii) protection of community interests, including protection of private property rights.
In view of the fact that Act 40 provides that local governments may not place any restrictions on installation or use of wind energy systems that are more restrictive than these PSC rules, it is imperative that the rules ensure these two protections.
Many town officers and town residents have expressed concern that there is not sufficient reliable health studies of people living in or near existing wind energy systems.
It is evident from some of the studies that do exist, certain individuals are more sensitive to the impacts of wind turbines, such as noise and shadow flicker effect.
Therefore, we respectfully ask the PSC to make your decisions on the side of caution in setting standards until more extensive health studies have been completed in our state and across the nation.
The following specific topics in the draft rule are of particular concern to our Association members:
1. Setbacks and noise standards should be sufficient to protect public health and safety of neighboring residents, particularly non-participating property owners.
a. Noise standards should have both a setback distance and a decibel limit. We would ask that decibel limits be not more than 35 dBA or 40 dBA from non-participating property lines.
b. These setbacks and noise standards should be applied from the property line of non-participating property owner. Applying setbacks and noise standards from the wind turbine to existing non-participating residential structures (as opposed to property line) is a taking of private property rights from these residents (i.e. the distance between their existing structure and their property line which could have been built on).
2. While Sec. 128.02 (2) of the draft rules provides that "Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the commission from giving individual consideration to exceptional or unusual situations and applying requirements to an individual wind energy system that may be lesser, greater, or different from those provided in this chapter," the draft rules as a whole do not give adequate recognition to local comprehensive plans of towns and counties. We believe recognition should be given to local comprehensive plans which allows flexibility in setting standards for certain conditions.
a. The question can be raised, "how would this subsection be applied by a local government in relation to unique natural, cultural archeological, scenic, or environmental resources as identified in local comprehensive plans?"
b. Would the town or county have to appeal to the PSC that in the case of such unique resources greater setback standards or other restrictions should be applied? Or would the local government merely adopt greater standards and then wait for an appeal by an applicant to determine if they are appropriate?
c. Recognition should be given to the local comprehensive plans for future conflicting development, such as residential development.
d. Recognition should be given to local comprehensive plans for future developments such as community buildings, parks, airports, etc.
3. The PSC rules should address the issue of "property value protection" for non-participating neighbors.
a. Act 40 has preempted local governments from setting restrictions in local regulations that would protect both community interests and neighboring properties by establishing maximum setbacks, noise standard, etc. Property values of neighboring properties (both adjoining and in the area) to wind turbines will be affected by the public perception of impacts from these facilities.
b. Without a fair and reasonable "property value protection" plan the permitting by local government (under the PSC rules and standards) of wind turbine facilities, local governments will be subject to possible inverse condemnation claims or "taking" of private property rights of these neighboring properties.
4. The PSC rules should include a "complaint resolution process" which is administered by the local government, including specific details as to subjects of complaints, timelines for resolution, and appeal rights.
a. Without a detailed process established in the rule, possible complaints will result in the threat of more actual civil litigation against the local government as the permitting agency.
b. The complaint resolution process should be funded by the wind turbine facility owner. The costs of administration of this process includes such things as the per diems of board members, consultation with experts in certain cases, etc. The costs of such a process should not be bore by the community as a whole.
5. The PSC rules should allow local governments to establish fees to cover actual and necessary costs of administration of the permit system, or in the alternative establish a fixed maximum dollar fee adequate to cover local government costs.
a. Wis. Statues §66.0628 currently provides that "any fee that is imposed by a political subdivision shall bear a reasonable relationship to the service for which the fee is imposed." This statutory standard should be used to allow local governments to recover the costs of administering wind turbine facility siting, just as in other permitting cases.
b. The fee structure proposed under Sec. 128.32 (5)(d) of the draft rules, based upon a percentage of estimated cost will be very difficult for local governments to apply. As an alternative to "actual and reasonable costs" we believe that a predetermined amount per turbine would be more appropriate and predictable for all parties.
c. Allowing local governments to recover adequate fees for the administration of the permitting of wind turbine facilities will allow the local officials to retain competent professional advisers, which will in the long run facilitate the siting of these facilities and reduce conflict during the process.
6. The PSC rules should provide clear and certain enforcement authority for local governments to ensure that siting and operation standards are being met by permitted facilities.
a. Local governments will be expected to ensure that the actual construction and operation of the wind turbine facilities are meeting the established standards of the local ordinances as restricted by the PSC rules.
b. Clear and certain enforcement authority, such as notice to facility operators, citation authority for non-compliance, and possible court injunctive relief should be spelled out in the PSC rules, so there can be no doubt that compliance of the standards is met. This type of enforcement is normal in any permitting or regulatory process and should be included in these rules.
7. The PSC rules should include decommissioning requirements backed by sufficient bonds.
a. Restoration of the site to conditions prior to initial construction of the wind turbine facility should be required under the rules.
b. Adequate financial security to ensure that these requirements are met should be authorized in the rules, to protect the local communities at the end of the useful life of wind turbines.
We thank the members of the wind siting council for their diligent work to date, and ask that the Public Service Commissioners and staff keep protection of public health and safety and protection of community interests as overriding goals in adopting these rules.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. Richard J. Stadelman
FROM FOND DU LAC COUNTY:
Two general comments:
1) The standards do not provide guidelines for siting wind towers in relation to lands or habitats with bird or bat species which are particularly susceptible to wind tower mortality or where exceptional abundance of these species is present, adjacent to public wildlife areas or parks, or locations in heavily used bird migratory routes;
2) the guidelines do not provide guidelines for siting wind energy systems to minimize visual impacts to rural landscapes or scenic areas such as the Niagara Escarpment, river bluffs and riverways. Standards should be developed to site projects in more concentrated design rather than spreading wind towers out over large landscape areas.
Guidelines should require minimizing landscape impact to maintain Wisconsin's rural character. Projects must be required to have sufficient setback from areas such as the Horicon Marsh, Mississippi River or Wisconsin River Riverway to not visually intrude on the wild nature of these areas.
Page 6, line 6-9: require to consult with DNR and incorporate in the design; wildlife concerns other than just threatened and endangered species including bats and birds shall be incorporated in project design.
Page 8, line10: Property owner should have at least 5 working days to rescind and executed wind lease
Page 10, Table 1: Setback distance from Occupied Community Buildings must be at least 2500 feet; setback distance from non-participating residences must be at least 2500 feet unless the owner waives that requirement in writing; setback distance from non-participating property lines shall be adequate to not restrict future use of the non-participating property owners land unless owner waives that requirement; setback from wetlands, lakes and waterways shall be sufficient to minimize visual, wildlife and property rights of non-participating owners of those lands and the waterways
Page 11, line 22: The siting guidelines must have setback requirements for private airports to minimize impacts to a non-participating landowner
Page 12, line 1-3: I disagree with this guideline. A wind energy developer should not be allowed to site a wind energy system that would restrict or prevent future land use in a political subdivision against the wishes of the local political subdivision.
Page 12, line 18-19: A wind energy system shall operate the wind energy system in a manner that does not exceed 50dBA daytime or 35dBA nighttime at any non-participating residence or occupied community building unless the owner of that residence or building waives that requirement.
Page 12, line 23: noise limit shall be 35dBA
Page 13, line 3: delete April 1 to September 30. Noise is likely to be a greater problem in cold weather and after leaf fall when sound travels further
Page 13, line 12: curtailment of a wind turbine during nighttime hours shall be used
Page 14, line 9: manner that prevents shadow flicker
Page 14, line 14: a non-participating residence shall experience no shadow flicker unless the owner waives that requirement
Page 14, line 16: delete mitigation requirement--line 14 should require no shadow flicker at non-participating
I generally agree with other standards in the proposed guidelines.
I am very concerned that the weighting of committee membership in favor of the wind energy industry will result in approval of standards that do not protect the non-participating landowner or the Wisconsin landscape.
It is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission to protect all citizens and landowners, not just the financial interests of the wind energy developers.
The creation and strict application and enforcement of the siting standards is critically important to the character of the Wisconsin landscape.
To meet the renewable energy standards established by the legislature an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 turbines will be required. This will desecrate the rural nature of our state, and will not meet but a small fraction of the energy needs of Wisconsin.
After we have destroyed the visual beauty and peacefulness of the Wisconsin landscape we will still be building coal-fired or nuclear powered electric generation facilities to meet our energy needs.
The emphasis should be placed on reduction of electrical use through efficiency and conservation. Taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize wind energy.
Let the true cost be known through rate increases that consumers will then be aware of the impact of their lifestyle. I don't believe for a second that wind energy is the solution to our future energy needs.
It is for certain that it will destroy the beauty of the Wisconsin landscape if the energy industry is allowed to run roughshod over the rights of those who don't have turbines on their property.
I am very aware of the pro-wind efforts to discredit those experiencing health effects, property value decline and other impacts of wind energy. It is your responsibility to objectively evaluate the information available and create standards that are protective to all persons rights.
I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. James and Cheryl Congdon
Regarding the State Journal editorial on May 25 titled “Wind turbines fit with farms”: As a resident of the town of Scott in northeast Columbia County, I can tell you the Glacier Hills Energy Park is not like the wind project at Montfort in Iowa County, which you featured in a photograph.
When Florida Power and Light first proposed a wind farm to our family, the idea was to place a row of turbines on an area we call the high line. This sounded like an idea worth pursuing. Seven years later, with WE Energies in control, the project has 90 very large turbines in a scattered pattern that are invasive to everyone’s environment in this area.
Contrary to what you think, there will be a large amount of very productive farm land out of production, or production will be compromised.
I heard very compelling testimony at a PSC hearing against this turbine arrangement. After the hearing, I felt the PSC would never allow this project. The evidence appears to have been disregarded.
It is alarming what a large company with government support can do to ordinary people. As a farming family, we could have turbines on our property in the future, but we now doubt if the money is worth the cost.
HOLLIDAYSBURG — New documents filed in an ongoing civil lawsuit by a Portage-area couple against the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm say that wind energy experts duped local officials into believing the turbine sound was insignificant.
Todd and Jill Stull of the Blue Knob area say that developer Gamesa Energy USA and owner Babcock & Brown misled local officials by supporting development of an ordinance addressing higher noise levels.
The Stulls filed an amended suit Tuesday. The ordinance establishes a maximum sound level of 45 decibels and does not address the lower frequency noises, including turbine vibration that is said to cause health and other problems suffered by the Stulls.
Mrs. Stull, holding a bottle of water inside her home, can feel the turbines’ vibrations throughout her hand, their lawyer said.
Nine of the 40 windmills in Phase One of the planned three-phase wind farm are within a mile of the Stulls’ home, which is situated where the Portage, Juniata and Greenfield township lines converge.
Three years ago, ordinances established that turbines must be a minimum 2,000 feet from residences and not exceed a noise level of 45 decibels. They were adopted by Portage, Washington and Cresson townships, Cambria County, and Juniata and Greenfield townships, Blair County.
The Stulls filed the civil suit in April and, earlier this month, while a Blair judge kept the lawsuit intact, he dismissed several counts, including one claim that Gamesa created a public nuisance.
He allowed to stand a claim that Allegheny Ridge created a private nuisance.
But Pittsburgh Bradley Tupi, representing the Stulls, was told by Judge Daniel Milliron to provide additional evidence in order for a fraudulent misrepresentation claim to stand.
In the amendment, Tupi claimed the companies knew the turbines would be noisy and failed to tell local officials – whom he said were depending on the wind companies for guidance in developing local laws.
“Brian Lammers and/or other Allegheny representatives told the Portage Township officials that the wind turbines would be quiet,” Tupi said in the lawsuit, referring to a May 2005 conversation with then-Supervisors James Decort and Richard Olshavsky.
“Lammers told Portage Township officials that there would be no noise or minimal noise from the wind turbines,” Tupi said in the document.
The Stulls said the turbines have had a significantly negative impact on their sleep, health, quality of life and enjoyment of their 100-acre property purchased in 1992.
They describe the sound from the equipment as a “whooshing” and “screeching.’’
Lammers told officials the windmill noise would be equivalent to a refrigerator.
Representatives from Babcock & Brown and Gamesa could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, Gamesa officials have said they would not comment on the lawsuit.
HAVE YOU REACHED OUT AND TOUCHED YOUR PSC TODAY?
The PSC is asking for public comment on the recently approved draft rules for siting wind turbines in our state. The setback recommended in this draft is 1250 feet from non-participating homes.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will hold hearings in June on proposed wind farm siting rules that ultimately will provide uniform statewide standards.
The Legislature created a PSC council to develop the rules. Local political bodies cannot develop regulations that are more restrictive.
The proposed wind siting rules are filed electronically under case number 1-AC-231 at the PSC Web site, http://psc.wi/gov, under the Electronic Regulatory Filing System (ERF).
Public hearings are scheduled for June 28 at Fond du Lac City Hall; June 29 at the Holiday Inn in Tomah; and June 30 at the PSC headquarters, 610 N. Whitney Way, Madison.
Public comments should be mailed to Sandra J. Paske, PSC, P.O. Box 7854, Madison, WI 53707-7854 or faxed to (608) 266-3957. Written comments must be received by noon July 6 if faxed or by July 7 if mailed. All written comments must include a reference to docket 1-AC-231 and filed via one one form of communication.Questions should be directed to docket coordinator Deborah Erwin at (608) 266-3905 or email@example.com. Small business questions may be directed to Anne Vandervort at (608)
PORTAGE – The Columbia County Board of Supervisors offered tepid approval Wednesday to a resolution declaring electricity-generating wind turbines on five parcels of farmland are in keeping with the landowners’ farmland preservation agreements with the state.
But the non-unanimous voice vote assent didn’t come without questions about the effects of the turbines on farming, and about how the county’s approval or disapproval of the resolution might affect the future of what could soon be the state’s largest wind energy farm.
We Energies plans to build Glacier Hills Energy Park, beginning this spring, on leased farmland in the towns of Randolph and Scott. Plans call for up to 90 wind turbines, capable of generating up to 207 megawatts of electricity.
Five of the parcels leased for turbine locations – four in the town of Randolph, one in the town of Scott – are subject to farmland preservation agreements with the state.
The intent of the resolution was to declare the county’s conclusion that locating a turbine on the land is not inconsistent with the agreement that the land must continue to be used for agricultural purposes.
But why, asked Supervisor Debra Wopat of Rio, is Columbia County even addressing this issue?
The towns of Randolph and Scott are not covered under the county’s zoning ordinances. And the farmland preservation agreements, she said, are between the landowners and the state’s Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.
Kurt Calkins, director of Columbia County’s land and water conservation department, said it was the county board that originally approved forwarding the farmland preservation agreements to the state – so the County Board has to authorize a change in the agreement to reflect the presence of the windmills. The DATCP will agree that the windmills do not impede agricultural use of the land if the county also agrees to that, he said.
“The real question is, do you deem them consistent with agricultural use? That’s the question the state has asked us to answer,” Calkins said.
Supervisor Fred Teitgen of rural Poynette questioned whether the turbines are good for rural areas.
“There are problems with large wind turbine systems, especially with noise and shadow flicker,” he said.
That was why Teitgen proposed amending the resolution to say, “Columbia County believes [that] a wind turbine structure may not (instead of will not) conflict with continued agricultural use in the area,”
He also proposed adding to the resolution a condition that the turbines should be sited properly in accordance with Wisconsin Public Service Commission standards and local requirements.
This amendment failed on a voice vote.
Supervisor Brian Landers of Wisconsin Dells said he was concerned that the revision might imply that the county can or should provide oversight for the construction of the We Energies turbines. If that’s the case, Landers asked, then which department would be responsible for the oversight, and at what cost to the county?
“I would be hesitant to add language that we somehow have a governance of this if we don’t have the legal authority to do so,” Landers said.
When Supervisor John Tramburg of Fall River asked how much farmland would be consumed by the turbines and related structures such as roads, Walter “Doc” Musekamp of We Energies said that, among the five land tracts in question, a total of 3.4 acres would be taken out of production for roads and foundations.
Construction of the roads and other ancillary structures is expected to start this spring.
Lincoln - Last year a weak tornado touch-downed near Holder in eastern McLean county. That's near the Twin Groves wind farm, one of the largest in the state.
Chris Miller, Warning Coordinating Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Lincoln explains what happened next.
"When that storm enter the wind farm area, because the rotation was weak we lost that signature as it went through the wind farm." Says Miller. "We had to rely strictly on storm spotter reports in the area."
Here's the concern: The Doppler Radar beam hits the blades on a wind farm tower, causing interference. That interference looks similar to a thunderstorm. Current Doppler Radar uses software to filter out objects that are stationary, but rotating wind tower blades are an issue.
"We don't want to eliminate actual moving storms, but somehow the Radar would need to decide in what area the wind turbines are located and how fast they're moving and then try to remove some of that." Says Miller. "That's a very difficult problem to try to do software related."
This isn't an issue when the weather is fair; but when severe weather approaches or moves over a wind farm, meteorologists may not be able to pick out certain features; most specifically tornadoes.
There are two wind farms that impact the Doppler Radar in Lincoln. Railsplitter in southern Tazewell and northern Logan counties is the closest and most commonly seen on Radar. A proposed wind farm may be built in western Logan county, which could also affect Radar images once completed.
So what's next? National Weather Service officials are educating wind farm developers on their potential impact on Doppler Radar.
"There is open dialog for the wind farm developers, but if anything we just want to educate them on what some of the concerns are." Says Miller. "Hopefully we have future discussions about what can be done to help mitigate the problem."
Tom Vinson, Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs with the American Wind Energy Association says wind developers are in discussions with the National Weather Service on this matter. The Association hope that the Weather Service can develop software to take care of the problem.
"The preference on the industry side would be for a technical solution that would resolve the problem without having to necessarily give up energy production at certain times." Says Vinson. "It's certainly something that should be discussed but it's not something that we have definite agreement on today."
We contacted Horizon Wind Energy, the owner of the Railsplitter wind farm. They had no comment on our story. Oklahoma University scientists are conducting studies on the issue.
Itinerary 1) Meet at and tour Wunsch Property 2) Meet at and tour Blue Sky Green Field Wind Project
Note from the BPWI Research Nerd: This will be an open meeting and subject to open meeting rules. The public is allowed to attend, observe, and record the proceedings but cannot participate or speak to council members while the meeting is in session. The Nerd hopes to see you there.
LAST Wednesday was International Noise Awareness Day, but if you missed it, you weren’t alone. Begun in New York 15 years ago as a grass-roots effort to educate people about the harmful health effects of excessive noise, Noise Awareness Day rapidly gained attention and advocates around the world. Gradually, though, America’s enthusiasm for the day began to abate. This year, in New York City, a mobile unit offered free hearing tests behind City Hall — that was about it for one of the noisiest cities on earth.
The scale of our noise problem isn’t in doubt. In recent years rigorous studies on the health consequences of noise have indicated that noise elevates heart rate, blood pressure, vasoconstriction and stress hormone levels, and increases risk for heart attacks. These reports prove that even when we’ve become mentally habituated to noise, the damage it does to our physiologies continues unchecked.
Studies done on sleeping subjects show that signs of stress surge in response to noise like air traffic even when people don’t wake. Moderate noise from white-noise machines, air-conditioners and background television, for example, can still undermine children’s language acquisition. Warnings about playing Walkmans and iPods too loudly have been around for years, but some experts now believe that even at reasonable volumes a direct sound-feed into the ears for hours on end may degrade our hearing.
Yet by focusing on the issue exclusively from a negative perspective, in a world awash with things to worry about, we may just be adding to the public’s sense of self-compassion fatigue. Rather than rant about noise, we need to create a passionate case for silence.
Evidence for the benefits of silence continues to mount. Studies have demonstrated that silent meditation improves practitioners’ ability to concentrate. Teachers able to introduce silence into classrooms report that it fosters learning and reflection among overstimulated students. Professionals involved with conflict resolution have found that by incorporating times of silence into negotiations they’ve been able to foster empathy that inspires a peaceable end to disputes. The old idea of quiet zones around hospitals has found new validation in studies linking silence and healing. These are macro benefits, but often silence feels good on a purely animal level.
If you have the means, you buy your luxury silence in the form of spa time, or products like quiet vacuums, which are always more expensive than their roaring bargain cousins. The affluent pay for boutique silence because, like silk on the flesh and wine on the palate, silence can kindle a sensory delight.
Unfortunately, in a world of diminishing natural retreats and amplifying electronic escapes, this delight is in ever shorter supply. The days when Thoreau could write of silence as “a universal refuge” and “inviolable asylum” are gone. With all our gadgetry punching up the volume at home, in entertainment zones and even places of worship, young people today often lack any haven for quiet.
These problems are everywhere, but can be especially acute in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Too many people think of silence only in terms of “being silenced,” of suppressing truth. In consequence, silence itself is now often suppressed.
People who appreciate the values of silence have, by and large, done a poor job of sharing their understanding — let alone of actually making silence more democratically accessible. Yet silence can be nourished in our larger spaces not just by way of an inward journey most people lack the tools to embark upon, but through education and architecture.
Some of the imaginative work being done today by urban planners involved with soundscaping demonstrates that it’s easier to create oases of quiet — by, for example, creating common areas on the rear sides of buildings with plantings that absorb sound — than it is to lower the volume of a larger area by even a few decibels. And having access to these oases can greatly enhance quality of life.
A recent Swedish study found that even people who live in loud neighborhoods report a 50 percent drop in their general noise annoyance levels if residential buildings have a quiet side. These modest sanctuaries can provide at least a taste of silence, which is then recognized not to be silence at all, but the sounds of the larger world we inhabit: birdsong and footsteps, water, voices and wind.
Perhaps rather than observing a muted Noise Awareness Day, next year we should declare the whole of April to be International Silence Awareness Month: an opportunity to think about how to bring a positive experience of silence to the growing numbers of people who live in a relentless wave of sound. Even a little bit of silence can create a sense of connection with our environment that diminishes alienation, and prompts a desire to discover more quiet.
George Prochnik is the author, most recently, of “In Pursuit of Silence.”
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: The World Health Organizations says nighttime noise levels should be kept to 35 decibels and below to insure healthy sleep. The PSC has approved noise levels of 50 decibels for wind projects in our state.
THIRD FEATURE: WHAT'S ON THE DOCKET?
Want to keep up with what's going on with the wind siting council? For some it's like watching paint dry, for others it's watching people toss your future around in their hands
This from Brown County Resident, Joanne Vercauteren
Everyday someone is writing and telling you that the setbacks have to be farther away from the nonparticipants property line, well I`m going to say it again.
To do the right thing for everyone involved in these projects you most have some consideration for the nonparticipants. We pay for the property and we pay the taxes on it, so we should have a little bit to say how close we want something to our property line.
I know the host have their rights also as our town board keeps reminding, but they have no rights putting the turbines so close to our homes and property. If they need the money that bad that they have to go behind closed doors and sign contracts without talking to their neighbors to see how they feel, then let them put these things as close to their homes and families as necessary to get them at least ½ mile if not farther from our homes,families and property lines.
That would be the fair thing to do. ½ mile is not a lot to ask, seeming other countries are putting them 1 mile away from nonparticipants property lines, because of health and safety reasons.
Between now and September the people in the town of Glenmore are going to know what it feels like to live among the turbines. Some people that are going to have these things real close to their new homes are starting to speak up, but it`s too late, because their town chairman told them at meetings that these were government regulated, but actually they are not.
The town`s people could have stopped the project it they would have been told the tru[th]. I feel sorry for them, but we tried to explain it at one of their meetings and the board said there is no more discussion on turbines, because there is nothing we can do, the government wants these.
So I guess either their town board was lied to or they just didn`t care enough to really check into it out. Money always rules!
This is how things are happening now, so that is why you have the job to make it right for all people involved with the turbine projects.
I do not thin[k] these wind turbine are a good fit for our communities that are highly populated, you sure wouldn`t think about putting them right downtown among the homes and business there, so why are our communities any different.
We have homes, schools,churches and business too! The companies that are pushing these turbines most likely disagree with a 1/2 mile setback, but then again they are just in it for the money, they do not care about anyone else`s feeling.
Maybe if they would listen to people who have to live with these things everyday they would understand, but instead they just turn their backs on them and try to pay them to be quiet.
Why don`t you take a week like a few of us suggested and live in the turbine farm and also talk to some of the people who have wrote about their lives living with the turbines in their backyards, then maybe you could understand where we are coming from asking for the setback to be no less them ½ mile from our property lines.
These setbacks will hopefully keep our families , friends and neighbors safe from any health effects that these wind turbines may cause. I'm hoping you take our letters in to consideration when you make you final draft.
Town of Morrison
May 2, 2019
FEATURE NUMBER FOUR: From the Better Plan Vaults:
What's the connection between noise and coronary heart disease? What do wind turbines have to do with any of this?
According to the results of a new peer-reviewed study made available to us by the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, the connection between noise and coronary heart disease -particularly at night- is serious.
Our wind energy ordinances must include a top limit for how much turbine noise can safely be added to our environment. The wind industry and the Wisconsin Draft Model Ordinance tell us 50 decibles is safe. This article by M. Nathaniel Mead helps us understand why this is not enough protection.
NOISE POLLUTION: THE SOUND BEHIND HEART EFFECTS
More than 15 million Americans currently have some form of coronary heart disease (CHD), which involves a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Risk factors for CHD include diabetes, high blood pressure, altered blood lipids, obesity, smoking, menopause, and inactivity. To this list we can now add noise, thanks to a recent study and assessment of the evidence by the WHO Noise Environmental Burden on Disease working group. The findings, first presented at the Internoise 2007 conference in August 2007, will be published in December.
“The new data indicate that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than was previously thought,” says working group member Deepak Prasher, a professor of audiology at University College in London—perhaps hundreds of thousands around the world. “Until now, the burden of disease related to the general population’s exposure to environmental noise has rarely been estimated in nonoccupational settings at the international level.”
The separate noise-related working group first convened in 2003 and began sifting through data from studies in European countries to derive preliminary estimates of the impact of noise on the entire population of Europe. They then sought to separate the noise-related health effects from those of traffic-related air pollution and other confounding factors such as physical inactivity and smoking. In 2007, the group published Quantifying Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, their preliminary findings on the health-related effects of noise for Europeans. Their conclusion: about 2% of Europeans suffer severely disturbed sleep, and 15% suffer severe annoyance due to environmental noise, defined as community noise emitted from sources such as road traffic, trains, and aircraft.
According to the new figures, long-term exposure to traffic noise may account for approximately 3% of CHD deaths (or about 210,000 deaths) in Europe each year. To obtain the new estimates, the working group compared households with abnormally high noise exposure with those with quieter homes. They also reviewed epidemiologic data on heart disease and hypertension, and then integrated these data into maps showing European cities with different levels of environmental noise.
The noise threshold for cardiovascular problems was determined to be a chronic nighttime exposure of at least 50 A-weighted decibels, the noise level of light traffic. Daytime noise exposures also correlated with health problems, but the risk tended to increase during the nighttime hours. “Many people become habituated to noise over time,” says Prasher. “The biological effects are imperceptible, so that even as you become accustomed to the noise, adverse physiological changes are nevertheless taking place, with potentially serious consequences to human health.”
To further assess the noise-related disease burden, the working group estimated disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to noise-related CHD. DALYs reflect how much the expectancy of healthy life is reduced by premature death or by disability caused by disease. This measure lets policy makers compare disease burdens associated with different environmental factors and forecast the likely impact of preventive policies. The working group estimated that in 2002 Europeans lost 880,000 DALYs to CHD related to road traffic noise.
Chronic high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart failure, and immune problems. According to a review of the research in the January–March 2004 issue of Noise and Health, arousal associated with nighttime noise exposure increased blood and saliva concentrations of these hormones even during sleep. “Taken together, recent epidemiologic data show us that noise is a major stressor that can influence health through the endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular systems,” says Prasher.
Other recent support for an association of cardiovascular mortality with noise comes from a study published in the 1 January 2007 issue of Science of the Total Environment. The results showed an 80% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality for women who judged themselves to be sensitive to noise. “Given these findings, noise sensitivity is a serious candidate to be a novel risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in women,” says Marja Heinonen-Guzejev, a research scientist at the University of Helsinki and lead author of the paper.
There is also a potential interaction between noise and air pollution, given that individuals exposed to traffic noise, for example, are often simultaneously exposed to air pollution. Prasher is currently investigating the effects of noise alone and in combination with chemical pollution.
The broader implications of chronic noise exposure also need to be considered. “Noise pollution contributes not only to cardiovascular disease, but also to hearing loss, sleep disruption, social handicaps, diminished productivity, impaired teaching and learning, absenteeism, increased drug use, and accidents,” says physician Louis Hagler, who coauthored a review on noise pollution in the March 2007 Southern Medical Journal. “The public health repercussions of increasing noise pollution for future generations could be immense.”
Written by M. Nathaniel Mead Environ Health Perspect. 2007 November; 115(11): A536–A537.
Copyright This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose.
Noise Pollution: The Sound Behind Heart Effects
M. Nathaniel Mead
1/17/08 WIND FARM NOISE IS A BIG PROBLEM FOR RESIDENTS, BUT WIND FARM OWNERS STILL AREN'T SURE THERE IS A PROBLEM AT ALL
January 17, 2008 The Tribune-Democrat
The Portage Township supervisors are jumping into the fray over what some residents say is excessive noise from turbines at the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm.
Supervisors will hire a private sound engineer to determine the amount of noise made by the spinning turbines.
The move comes at the urging of residents who say the windmills sometimes operate at sound levels exceeding ordinance limits.
Two months ago, officials in Juniata Township, Blair County, ordered an independent sound study.
"We're agreeing to work with them on this," Supervisor Elwood Selapack said of a plan to hire Paul Heishman, a sound engineer from Mechanicsburg, to conduct noise studies.
A dollar limit on the study was not set by Portage Township officials, but the cost is not expected to exceed a few thousand dollars, based on a proposed fee for the Juniata work.
Built by Gamesa Energy USA and sold last year to Babcock & Brown, the wind farm is at the Cambria-Blair county line, and the turbines affect residents in both counties.
Heishman is expected to do the studies after Feb. 1, when steps being taken by Gamesa to eliminate the noise problems are completed, officials said Wednesday.
Local residents Bruce Brunett of Portage Township and Jill Stull of Juniata Township are convinced the noise - which they compare to the roar of a jet - is not the rotors, but a design flaw.
The townships have ordinances setting allowable noise limits from the turbines at 45 decibels, a level Heishman said is similar to bird calls on a summer day.
Juniata Supervisor Dave Kane said he heard the noise from the turbines and is concerned.
"They definitely have a problem. The windmills were making noise last week. They sounded like jet motors," Kane said.
Babcock & Brown spokesman Matt Dallas said the company is hopeful that work to repair the turbine rotors will quiet the machines.
The company still is not convinced noise levels exceed maximum allowable levels.
Recent testing by a sound engineer showed the levels within the ordinance levels, Dallas said, adding the testing was done "under every condition."
Of particular concern for Portage Township officials is the yet-to-be-completed second phase of the project, where many of the turbines overlook Martindale, a town of 150 homes about a half-mile from the site.
"The topography and configuration of the Martindale area is exactly what it is in Juniata Township. They're down in the valley, and they're going to get the noise," Brunett said.
Meanwhile, Babcock & Brown said it wants to be a good neighbor.
"We're willing to do what it takes to make sure we are within those (ordinance) guidelines," Dallas said.