Bills introduced in the new legislative session address wind turbine impacts–like adverse health effects–costs to rate payers, and more. The text of these bills is on the Legislation WWMA Supports – 2017-2018 page.
H2473 ———— sponsored by Representative Sarah Peake
H1777 ———— sponsored by Representative David Vieira
SD953 ————- sponsored by Senator Bruce Tarr
S1883———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola
H1770 ———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola
HD3754 ———— sponsored by Representative Bruce Ayers
H2133 ———— sponsored by Representative Sarah Peake
H464 ———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola
The bill numbers link to the text at the Massachusetts Legislature pages as they become available.
To find the name and contact information of your state senator and of your state representative, go to www.malegislature.gov.
We can bring attention to these bills at Commonwealth Conversations now in progress around the state from the end of January 2017 to the end of March. Check the website for the date in your region. And if you see your representative or senator there, thank them for their support.
|H2473||Resolve to establish a commission to study the health impacts from land based wind turbines to protect the health of the citizens of the commonwealth. (Representative Peake).|
|H1777||“Wind Energy Relief Act” establishes a fund to compensate people, businesses, and municipalities adversely impacted by wind turbines, and another fund to help compensate municipalities to remove or relocate wind turbines. Monies already deducted from our electricity bills support both funds. (Representative Vieira)|
|S1883||An Act relative to the green communities act requires an investigation of the impact of the Green Communities Act, including a review and analysis of current and future benchmarks. It also requires that the findings be made public. (Senator Tarr)|
|H1770||An Act relative to accountability of public funds used for wind turbines requires the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to post monthly updates on public funds spent for wind turbines. It also requires that the information be made public. (Representative Smola)|
|H1771||An Act Promoting Transparency in Wind Generated Electricity Production requires wind projects to submit production statistics (megawatts per hour) if the project received public funds. It also requires that audited production statistics be made public. (Representative Smola)|
|HD3754||The Electricity Bill Transparency Act establishes a framework to ensure electricity rate savings by requiring annual, public reports of ratepayer cost and benefits under the Green Communities Act. It also requires that costs for programs and policies under the Green Communities Act be itemized on electric bills. (Representative Ayers)|
|H2133||An Act Relative to Noise Pollution adds low-frequency noise, infrasound and aerodynamic amplitude modulation to the emissions within the MassDEP’s power to regulate. (Representative Peake)|
|H464||An Act Relative to Noise and Air Pollution includes the terms low-frequency noise, infrasound, and aerodynamic amplitude modulation in the definitions of noise and air pollution regulated by MassDEP. (Representative Smola)|
From his “BE QUIET” license plate to his email signature statement, “Neighbors are far better acoustic analyzers for determining the quality of their life versus any acoustic instrument left unattended by an expert,” Stephen Ambrose has been a champion. His quest has been to safeguard the health and well-being of the public from unwanted noise. As an acoustician, he has addressed noise threats–from manufacturing plants to commercial turbines. His expertise led the MassDEP to invite him to serve on the WNTAG panel.
The recommendation (below) has specifications to deal with limiting noise, but its implementation mandates even more accountability:
Noise measurements are the financial responsibility of the project owner and shall be independently performed by a qualified professional
Noise measurement shall prevail versus noise predictions.
In Louise Barteau’s comments to the MassDEP, she finds the WNTAG process deeply flawed and incapable of protecting the public from the noise pollution generated by wind turbines like the ones in Fairhaven.
I remain deeply troubled by this lengthy and expensive WNTAG process that refused to include in any meaningful way the voices of Fairhaven citizens who are forced to live near Fairhaven Wind’s Industrial Wind Turbines. This follows a pattern by the MA DEP, the developers, and town officials to exclude these citizens from meaningful participation in decisions that significantly impacted their health and their quality of living.
She questions the purpose of all the study if the DEP refuses to enforce the existing noise regulations for “’multiple measured exceedances’”
The WNTAG process has been an egregious and dangerous example of the bias of the state government when it chose to favor the wind industry over the lives of individual citizens of the state of Massachusetts–many whose health has been sacrificed, whose properties have been taken without compensation, and whose faith in their government has been destroyed.
“Frustration was the sentiment felt when I reached … SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS, in RSG’s ‘Research Study on Wind Turbine Acoustics,'” commented Marie J. Stamos.
A lot of time, manpower and taxpayer money ($491, 986 To RSG and $68,821 to Consensus Building Institute as of September 2015), were used, in essence, to create one-half of a report, and we are left, still, with a lot of questions unanswered, and many gray-area assumptions and an uncertain path ahead.
Stamos included compelling photos of the latest wind turbine project underway in Bourne. She emphasized in her submission:
The most disturbing fact, and this cannot be said often enough, is that … none of the Massachusetts wind turbine victims have been called upon to give their “testimony” and the facts and knowledge they have about the coming of the industrial wind turbine into their lives, into their homes and creating an unhealthy environment. The testing completed in the RSG Report, one would assume, was to give a better understanding and insight into the Massachusetts wind turbine complaints, identify the problem-causing entity, resolve the problem, and establish a protocol, based on fact, that would avoid issues in the future. Instead, infrasound and low frequency sound have been swept under the rug, gagged and tied and held harmless, but Something is harming people and must be identified before the industrial wind turbine agenda is allowed to continue in any location in the State of Massachusetts.
With the meetings of the Wind and Noise Turbine Advisory Group (WNTAG) concluded, the MassDEP opened a comment period. Among those submitting their response was Lilli-Ann Green who said in her overview:
There are at least 21 wind turbine locations in Massachusetts where people living near wind turbines have reported health problems since 2010. The people did not experience the health problems they now report prior to wind turbine construction. When they leave their home, they do not experience the health problems. When they return to their home, they experience the symptoms. They report the symptoms become worse over time. The problem is not going away. The citizens of Massachusetts deserve to be returned to good health. The source of their health problems needs to be addressed and as soon as possible. It is not fair or right to knowingly harm people living in Massachusetts. The foundation of our democracy is that minorities have rights and the health of citizens should be protected.
To date no wind turbine has been permanently shut down by any Massachusetts agency. Some Massachusetts agency needs to step in and take action steps to help the people suffering if local boards of health are not protecting and helping people in their cities and towns.
Read the full comment
Her conclusion asserts
…the next logical step is assessment of health problems for people living and working near wind turbines who had originally filed noise complaints. This will help determine what symptoms remain and what next steps are in order to eliminate the health problems.
Update: The comment period has been extended to May 13, 2016.
As a result of the series of meetings held with the Wind and Noise Turbine Advisory Group (WNTAG), new regulations, guidelines, or policies may be in the cards. And while the deck has been largely stacked against wind neighbors, this is an opportunity to throw down the aces: include infrasound, set L-90 low, use fast meter settings, recognize amplitude modulation. Play the wild card, too: anticipate wind shear.
Public comments are due April 8, 2016. Send them to the MassDEP’s Deputy Regional Director Laurel Carlson (Laurel.Carlson@state.ma.us) and to the Consensus Building Institute’s Senior Mediator Stacie Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This table shows the relevant slides on potential regulation and guidelines. Click on a slide to view it or access the whole draft at Scope of Possible Noise Regulation and Policy.
Acoustician Stephen Ambrose has released a one-page illustration (with the two graphs shown here) of the difference between modeled noise and the experience of measured noise as described in an RSG report from 2008. Modeling the current class of industrial wind turbines turns out to be a poor predictor of noise, either as recorded by instruments or as heard by the humans who come into contact with it.
Ambrose’s reminder comes at a time when the Wind and Noise Turbine Advisory Group (WNTAG) is about to have it’s “final” meeting, which will feature the “final report” the DEP plans to issue. According to Bethany A. Card, Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning of the MassDEP, in an email on March, 14, 2016:
The March 18th meeting is to provide an overview of the final report. In addition, MassDEP will also present ideas for possible revised noise policies and regulations. We will accept comments on that presentation and the ideas until early April and any on-going work related to possible regulation changes will provide additional opportunity for stakeholder and public involvement and comment.