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Filing Frenzy-Kingston & Bourne Take Turbines to Court

January 28, 2016
Kingston-Independence-kerrykearney-sm

A KWI turbine lurks behind a Kingston home

Kingston finally took action against the KWI project that has spawned frequent complaints. On January 27, 2016, the town filed a countersuit to the one brought by Kingston Wind Independence in late December (“Kingston Wind Independence appeals turbine abatement order“). In the suit, the town asserts KWI has breached its contract: “with respect to the requirement for compliance with governmental standards for the operation of the turbine” and

As  a direct result of such breach of contract, the Town and its residents have suffered severe injury and damage while KWI has continued to be unjustly enriched by the operation of the turbine.

Oh, and by the way, they haven’t paid their rent.

This is the first time the town has put any teeth behind either the Board of Health’s first abatement order or its more recent order (October 2015). The town is asking for an injunction as part of the suit.

Meanwhile “Bourne plans lawsuit against wind energy company” according to Cape Cod Times reporter Ethan Genter, who filed his article on January 27th. The Bourne Board of Health has previously found that the turbines under construction in Plymouth could affect Bourne residents. The article reports that town counsel Robert Troy asked people to wait for comments until the litigation has been filed in Barnstable Superior Court–in a matter of days.

 

Wind Wise Backs Open Records

January 21, 2016

In the experience of Wind Wise – Massachusetts, trying to get some response to a request for public records is met with delays, blacked-out text, or demands for ransom ($18,000 demanded for activities of the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection). That’s why organization President Louise Grabowski urges the Senate to pass “An Act to Improve Access to Public Records” (S.1676).Publicrecordsbill_Senate

This bill could expedite request responses by sending records in electronic form if they already exist in electronic form, limit the use of redaction to “exempt” matters in the existing law, and lower fees for public records to nominal levels.

Here is the Wind Wise statement:  Publicrecordsbill_Senate.

Peru’s Garnet Hill feasibility study is one location where the data in a table has been redacted.

Bourne Selectmen Support BOH Action

December 2, 2015
Turbine under construction. Photo: Ron Schloerb, Cape Cod Times

Photo: Ron Schloerb, Cape Cod Times

Selectmen in Bourne authorized the Board of Health to meet with town counsel to pursue an injuction against Future Generation Wind.

The Bourne Board of Health’s request to the Selectmen came from its November 18th meeting. This  led to action on December 1, 2015, when
the Bourne Selectmen heard over an hour of debate, according to Madeleine List, reporting in the South Coast Today (“Bourne selectmen approve legal action to stop Plymouth turbines“) and the Cape Cod Times (“Bourne Selectmen approve legal action on Plymouth turbines“).
After over an hour of debate, the selectmen authorized the Board of Health to meet with the town counsel and discuss filing an injunction against Future Generation Wind.
The logistics and budget of doing so remain unknown, but residents expressed overwhelming support for the move.
Whether it is noise, strobing light, infrasound, loss of property value, or the viewscape, Bourne will experience impacts, as wind turbine developer Keith Mann himself admitted in at a December 2014 Board of Health meeting. In fact, the closest Bourne neighbors live just under 1,400 feet from one of the FGW turbines, which are sited on the Bourne town line in neighboring Plymouth.
An arbitrator’s ruling in the case of the Granite Links Golf course, adjacent to the  turbine site proposed for Milton, may have relevance in this situation. The arbitrator ruled that the turbine operations could not interfere with the golf course’s activities. For more on this, look back to 2013: “Golfers rule as arbitrator makes a point about ‘as of right’ siting.”

 

Bourne-Act Now or Lament Later

November 1, 2015

The Bourne Board of Health could take action to protect residents from wind turbine pollution in the neighboring town, Plymouth, if it heeded the evidence of other towns with turbine issues. These are laid out by Bourne resident Chris Kapsambelis in the message he sent this week to the BOH. 

The Future Generation Wind project will most likely produce widespread complaints, as did similar projects in Falmouth, Fairhaven, and Kingston. These complaints will compel authorities to investigate, and conduct studies that will find violations leading to orders for curtailment. Any curtailment of operations on these wind turbines will destroy the project profit margin.

He notes that distance from turbines is key to avoiding harm to neighboring residents, and the Future Generation Wind project in Plymouth is too close to some Bourne residents.

 

Kingston Board of Health Expands Shut Down Periods

October 23, 2015
Table with two charts showing that power output, not wind speed, impacts noise level

Stephen Ambrose’s commentary on aspects of the HMMH report

Is Kingston becoming a little more responsive to resident noise concerns?

Kathryn Gallerani reported in Wicked Local Kingston that the October 19, 2015 meeting of the Board of Health selected wind speed as the criterion for stopping the night-time operation of the “Independence” turbine (Kingston Board of Health modifies Independence wind turbine abatement order 10/19/15).

Wind direction will no longer be a determining factor dictating when the turbine will be shut down, and the turbine would need to be shut down for an additional hour a day under certain conditions.
The order requires that the turbine be shut down year-round between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. when wind speeds reach at least 7 meters per second at the turbine hub, regardless of wind direction, and between 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. when wind speeds exceed 9 meters or more per second, also regardless of wind direction.

As Kingston continues to grapple with the discomfort of wind neighbors, the “final report” issued by HMMH was on the agenda for the Board of Health on October 19th. The original noise monitoring report left out a significant amount of relevant information that was later released. Wind Wise published a series of commentaries on the findings by noise expert Stephen Ambrose (beginning in June 2015). He recently faulted the MassDEP and other agencies for failing to protect communities around wind turbines (letter to MassDEP 9/28/15):

Neighbors’ complaints have clearly shown that wind-turbine feasibility noise studies are flawed; too large, too loud, and too close as evidenced by Falmouth, Fairhaven, Scituate and Hoosac. After five years reviewing flawed wind-turbine noise assessment reports, I conclude that unaffiliated non-windindustry consultants (e.g. independent) are ignored by Massachusetts agencies committed to fund and support wind turbine development. I have found there are no state agencies wanting or willing to protect public health and welfare from wind turbine emissions. Instead, they collectively respond with blind eyes and deaf ears in order not to acknowledge causing public harm.

In a letter to the Board of Selectmen after the October 19th meeting, Kingston residents Doreen and Sean Reilly pointed out the inaction of one town official who was receiving updates on the HMMH report:

We were extremely disturbed to learn, at last night’s Board of Health Public Hearing, that several Peer Review analyses performed by Board Certified Institute of Noise Control Engineer, Stephen Ambrose which were received by Town Planner, Tom Bott, were never shared with the Board of Health.

Read more…

Bourne Faces Impacts from Plymouth’s Wind Turbine Project

September 29, 2015

Update: On Wednesday 9/30/15 Bourne selectmen voted 3 to 2 to grant a license for the 4 turbines to pass through Bourne on their way to Plymouth. Next Generation Wind must post a $1 million bond against potential damage to roadways. “Because of the size of the components, the project requires a convoy-style delivery of about 30 oversized trucks carrying parts as large as 170 feet long and more than 15 feet wide,” according to reporter Carrie Gentile (Bourne selectmen approve route for turbines traveling from New BedfordSouth Coast Today). Selectmen can revoke the license at any time if warranted, she reported. Protesters at the meeting drew attention to potential noise impacts to Bourne residents when the Plymouth turbines begin operation. Video of the meeting is available on Bourne Community Television.


 

At the least, early morning commuters could face traffic snarls from the caravans carrying turbine parts that will snake along local roads. More lingering would be injuries to historic trees as trucks move their cumbersome freight down the historic highway. Most far-reaching, though, would be the health effects of turbine operation.

These problems are under consideration by Bourne Selectmen and the Board of Health.

Ethan Genter, reporting in the Cape Cod Times, wrote  in “Bourne officials grapple with Plymouth turbine project” 9/25/15:

The Future Generation Wind project will be fully constructed in Plymouth, but because of the size of its parts, they’ll be unable to be transported on highways…. The project would require about 24 oversized trucks to carry parts as large as 170 feet long, over 15 feet wide and almost 16 feet tall. Potential routes include Main Street and Head of the Bay Road.

About 80 feet of guardrail on Head of the Bay Road would need to be removed….

Paul Gately also covered the issue in “Delivering wind turbine parts through Bourne is complicated” in WickedLocal CapeCod (9/24/15), reporting that among other concerns was damage to roadways, bridge infrastructure, and the expense of any unanticipated costs. The selectmen said they would decide on Wednesday September 30.

The 7:00 pm meeting is held at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center in Buzzard’s Bay. The public may comment on  transportation of machinery and equipment and impacts of this transportation on public property and roadways, with Bourne residents having first priority to address the Board of Selectmen.

“How We Got Here” in Falmouth

September 19, 2015

In Falmouth’s capenews.net, online edition of The Enterprise, reporter Lannan O’Brien included further details about Thursday’s ZBA action. “Unless the town appeals Thursday’s decision, the turbine will have to be shut down while it obtains permitting” (Wind 1 Appeal Granted By Zoning Board 9/18/15). A hearing on the request for a special permit to operate Wind 1 will be held on October 29, the same day as the hearings appealing the continued operation of Wind 2.permit-required

The article quotes attorney Christopher Senie. “’The right thing to do is to shut them down until they get their permits,’ he said by phone on Friday.”

At the hearing, Senie presented a step-by-step assessment of “how we got here” in representing impacted neighbors of “Wind 1 and Wind 2 at the Falmouth WWTF

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