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Falmouth’s Turbine Woes Recounted at 9/24/19 Hearing

October 4, 2019

Three Falmouth residents told the legislature’s Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy panel about their quest for relief from wind turbine impacts, including financial costs. The September 24, 2019 hearing included House Bill 2928, the Wind Energy Relief Act.

“I was a recognized refugee in my town,” Linda Ohkagawa told the committee. She said she was known at the library and the Walmart parking lot where she went to escape the noise, feeling of pressure against her chest, and strobing light. “I lost so much.” View a clip from the hearing.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Andersen and her husband, Neil Andersen, both recounted their experience.

Watch as Betsy tells the committee:

We couldn’t work, couldn’t stay around the house. We became sick, sleep deprived zombies.
We went to our town hall and begged for help. Forget it. This was the Mass. CEC and Falmouth’s big green energy project and we were just complainers.
And that was the type of treatment we received from both our town and state government for six long years.
We were labeled the anti-green people – had our house egged and vandalized. Taunting us became sport, and defeating us the prize.

Click this link for her full testimony.

Neil said during the hearing:

In the spring of 2010, a 400’ tall wind turbine became operational. Due to an unusual combination of the  proximity of the turbine (1320 feet), the direction of the prevailing winds, the topography, and the orientation of our house, we very soon realized that we were at ground zero for the negative effects from the turbine- namely a harmful and extremely intrusive, never ending, heart pounding low frequency pulse. The extremely distressing noise was like torture. Pound-Pound-Pound.  Day and night. 

Our only relief was to get away, which we were forced to do very often.

Read Neil Andersen’s testimony or watch this video clip

Representative David Vieira introduced H.2928 to help wind turbine neighbors and their communities recover from failed wind projects. It provides two compensation funds: 1.) a $15 million per year Energy Relief Fund for people, businesses, and cities and towns impacted adversely by wind turbines, and 2.) a $7.5 million per year Turbine Decommissioning Fund. The funds will come from the millions of dollars that are already collected from electric ratepayers and then credited to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund.

Scituate and Falmouth Argue for Wind Turbine Relief

September 28, 2019

David Dardi of Scituate joined three Falmouth residents in telling the legislature’s Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy panel about their quest for relief from wind turbine impacts, especially financial costs. The September 24, 2019 hearing included House Bill 2928, the Wind Energy Relief Act.

“Mistakes can be made,” Dardi said. “Using part of that money [collected for green energy projects] to correct the problems created by wind energy is just and appropriate.” View a clip from the hearing.

Because of inadequate legislation and the softening of the noise regulations dealing with wind turbines it has become very difficult to prove noise violations and in most cases communities and individuals have had to resort to litigation to get relief. In most cases all these measures and actions have proven unsuccessful leaving the communities and individuals without relief and deeply in debt.  In some cases, as in Scituate town officials are considering ordering a unilateral shutdown of a turbine to protect its residents. Action of this nature will undoubtedly result in very high costs due to the penalties imposed by the turbine owner and litigation expenses accrued in defending their action. Why should the mistake of an improper location of a wind turbine result in such high penalties and costs to communities and individuals?

Representative David Vieira introduced H.2928 to help wind turbine neighbors and their communities recover from failed wind projects. It provides two compensation funds: 1.) a $15 million per year Energy Relief Fund for people, businesses, and cities and towns impacted adversely by wind turbines, and 2.) a $7.5 million per year Turbine Decommissioning Fund. The funds will come from the millions of dollars that are already collected from electric ratepayers and then credited to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund.

David Dardi, far right, listens to testimony by Sen. Patrick O’Connor, beside him.

H.2015 Hearing before Joint Committee on Public Health

June 12, 2019

Time for hearings on Beacon Hill. A health commission to study the effects of industrial wind turbines was one of the bills before the Joint Committee on Public Health on June 11, 2019. H.2015 establishes a commission to investigate and study the incidence and impacts of adverse health effects from land-based wind turbines. It also recommends administrative and legislative changes to mitigate or eliminate adverse health effects from land-based wind turbines.

Sub-audible sound waves sent out as the blades spin past the shaft set up vibration and resonance in our body cavities and fluid-filled spaces – ears, eyeballs, skull, our lungs and bellies. They are the ultimate, inescapable boombox moved in next door.

This is from Helen Parker’s testimony about infrasound low frequency noise (ILFN), which “impacts a significant 10-20%, perhaps 30% of the population.”

Most vulnerable are children, elders, and those who are especially reactive to sensation – those with a prior PTSD, autism, abuse victims, …and many of us whose souls are drawn to more rural rather than urban environments.
Symptoms: nausea, headaches, tinnitus, increased blood pressure, anxiety, difficulty with memory and concentration, and panic attacks which arise when awake or asleep.

David Dardi should know. As he wrote in his testimony:

I have been adversely affected by a wind turbine for the last 7 years and
have been unsuccessful in getting any relief from it’s affects. Several other of my neighbors have also been affected by this wind turbine and are equally as anxious to get relief and to have our situation exposed and studied.

To ask the Joint Committee on Public Health to report H.2015 favorably out of committee send comments to:
–Senate Chairperson Joanne M. Comerford: Jo.Comerford@masenate.gov
–House Chairperson John J. Mahoney: John.Mahoney@mahouse.gov

To cc your state Senator and Representative, click here for addresses

Representative David Vieira sponsored H.2015 – “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.” Co-sponsors include another Barnstable representative, Sarah Peake, and Cape and Islands representative Julian Cyr.

Ambrose Nudges DEP on FGW Compliance

February 16, 2019

He doesn’t say it in so many words. But with his latest comment to the MassDEP, Stephen Ambrose points out it doesn’t take rocket science to predict that people living near wind turbines will experience excessive noise. He recommends the Department continues investigating the sound study of Plymouth’s Future Generation Wind project.

As if resident complaints weren’t enough, there are also the things left out of the Plymouth Sound Compliance Monitoring Report.

Skepticism is warranted for omitting critical information: 1) wind turbine SCADA files with noise measurements. 2) turbine specifications for electric power output and sound power levels with and w/o NRO. 3) noise model predictions with input parameters and results. 4) noise level vs time history plots showing wind turbine fluctuations. 5) name, title and qualifications for author, reviewer, and approver.

Ambrose said in an earlier message to the DEP, “This review finds FGW exceeds the MassDEP noise policy by 10 to 20 dB at all locations.” His analysis cites the report issued in May 2018 by Waltham-based Tech Environmental.

Turbine Roulette

January 13, 2019
ar-160309648Falmouth is facing a tough decision in its next roll in the wind turbine gamble–move, dismantle, or share. On Monday January 14, 2019, the Selectmen will hear that discussion at 7:45 PM:
 
Discussion and vote on moving, repurposing or dismantling wind turbines. Options to include:
  • a. Wind 2 to alternative Falmouth wastewater site or a site outside of Falmouth
  • b. Wind 1 to a site outside of Falmouth

As Mark Cool reports on his Firetower Wind blog, Falmouth Selectmen to Weigh Relocation Option,

The Falmouth Board of Selectmen intend discussing and voting to potentially relocate a major piece of municipal infrastructure, at an upfront cost to taxpayers of 3 million dollars, while an official zoning classification of the wind turbine structure goes without address or determination.

Read more on the 2018 timeline of dismantlement–or not.

Wind in the 500 foot Rafters

December 23, 2018

How can the the Plymouth Future Generation Wind turbines be louder when turned off than when they are running? Chris Kapsambelis, trying to figure out the difference, noticed that before the turbines were built, the quiet night time noise ranged from 26.6 to 35.6 decibels (dBA).

Now, according to Tech Environmental noise testing, background noise is 7 to 18 dBA higher in the same locales. What could explain this? Consider the one new element in the cranberry bogs. There are now 4 wind energy plants, with nacelles alone that weigh 26 tons, suspended on 500 foot towers. 

Recently, I wrote about the curious phenomenon, where the wind turbine noise appeared softer than the ambient background, a seemingly impossible condition.

Since then, I have come across evidence that might explain how this is possible…. 

In retrospect, one must conclude that the extra noise with the turbines off, must be generated by the turbines themselves, even though they are turned off.

For more on the mystery, read the explanation Chris Kapsambelis came to.

Bourne finds noise nuisance from Plymouth turbines

October 26, 2018

Two years after Bourne complaints began, the Board of Health has taken action. According to Cape Cod Times reporter Beth Treffeisen, “The board will communicate to the Plymouth Board of Health its determination that the turbines are a nuisance to the residents of Bourne” (Bourne health board declares Plymouth turbines a nuisance” 10/15/18).

Facing the BOH chair, Karen Gibides presents noise complaint information

Karen Gibides (left) addresses Bourne BOH August 2018

“To me, this is a good first step and it will put the ball in the court of the regulating authorities,” said Plymouth resident Larry McGrath. “It is an obvious nuisance that is being ignored by the town of Plymouth and MassDEP. The town of Bourne is bringing light to the two regulating jurisdictions now.”

Speaking for a local group, the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, Ian Davies “told the board that there have been approximately 350 complaints filed with the board of health over the turbines ” (“Bourne Health Board To Press Plymouth Officials, DEP On Turbines” by Michael J . Rausch 10/25/18 in the Bourne Enterprise).

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