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Christmas Anything but Merry for Wind Neighbors

December 24, 2012

Courtesy of Windtoons.com

Wind I in Falmouth has been turned off since Thanksgiving due to an electrical problem. Wind II will be off for Christmas Day, in part because Vestas operational software has malfunctioned and led to a manual shutdown. Exasperated neighbor of a turbine, Barry Funfar, writes in a Christmas Eve letter:

In April 2013 it will be three long tiring years that this excruciating upset of our lives has persisted. We abutters have learned over time that the effects of the turbine’s emissions has resulted in both psychological and physical detriments to our health and well-being. We have learned that one does not acclimate to the turbine effects, symptoms become increasingly severe with length of exposure. By now we worry that some of our maladies may be irreversible. We sadly have learned that our town and state officials place finances above the health of their constituents.

For the whole message, read on…

Dec 24, Christmas Eve, 2012
Town of Falmouth

Board of Health, Selectmen, and Town Manager,

The current situation of Wind II operating out of control when we abutters had been promised a holiday this Christmas reminds me that nothing has changed since the first day Wind I was put into operation.

When 400 foot tall industrial machines are sited too closely to properties there are major impacts on the hearts and minds of those abutters. Trust in the governing officials and sense of community is shattered.

In April 2013 it will be three long tiring years that this excruciating upset of our lives has persisted. We abutters have learned over time that the effects of the turbine’s emissions has resulted in both psychological and physical detriments to our health and well-being. We have learned that one does not acclimate to the turbine effects, symptoms become increasingly severe with length of exposure. By now we worry that some of our maladies may be irreversible. We sadly have learned that our town and state officials place finances above the health of their constituents.

Now we are faced with options being considered that will take away our homes. The stress and anxiety continues to be piled high upon us by the sad saga of these turbines. If the operational history of Falmouth’s Wind I and II is any indication of the future financial potential, the Town would be best off ridding itself of these life sucking machines. The WTOP Committee shows the 5 year uncurtailed operation of both turbines should result in a $527,000 profit. I would not sell my home for 1 ½ X that amount. Displacing 20 to 40 families would seem a tremendous ethical failure on the part of town officials.

In conclusion, I below [bottom of post*] copy my letter to you of December 25, Christmas Day, 2010. THINGS HAVE ONLY GOTTEN WORSE.

Merry Christmas.
Sincerely,
Barry Funfar
27 Ridgeview Drive
Falmouth, MA

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Julian Suso
Date: Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM
Subject: RE: OFF HOURS/UNSCHEDULED OPERATION OF FALMOUTH’S WIND II TURBINE
To: BARRY FUNFAR

Dear Mr. Funfar and Turbine Neighbors,

I regret that we have experienced an operational problem with the wind 2 operating system, which we are working with Vestas to correct.  I apologize for the operational error which has occurred.  We are “bypassing” Vestas and have just accomplished a manual shutdown of wind 2 as of about 1PM today.  Wind 2 is not scheduled to be returned to operation until 7AM on Wednesday, December 26.

Julian M. Suso

*Here is the 12/25/10 letter Barry sent:

Falmouth Board of Health
59 Town Hall Square
Falmouth, MA 02540

December 25, 2010

Dear Madam and Sirs,

As I write this sitting at my desk looking out over my snow covered woodland garden in the rear of my property, I also have a clear view of Falmouth’s Turbine #1 and the huge red crane that is assembling Wind Turbine #2. Every window on the back of my house has a great view of the Falmouth and Industrial Park turbines which further exasperates my feeling of being overwhelmed by these machines. I nor any one of mankind deserves to be subjected to this torment.  Nearly every waking hour is spent being aggravated by it or aggravating over what to do about it, medical appointments because of it, people calling me to talk about it or come to my house to see it for themselves, meetings to do with it, Internet exchanges dealing with it, seminars and symposiums on it, reading articles and books about it, besides having invested nearly $7000 fighting my own town over it. I want my life back, but I am more than willing to fight for it. Persistence pays. The WWTP odor issue took 20 years.  This is no less important to me. THIS IS BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. I learned one thing with the WWTP/sewer issue, that was that Town officials are not forever. Replacements can be seated soon enough, and not all people are mindless.

This is Christmas Day. What is so blatant about wind turbine nuisance is that it continues each and every day. Christmas, Thanksgiving, every holiday, every special occasion. It takes zero time off from annoying people. It is a negative mood setter. Have friends over for a cook out, no one likes this noise, some of us are driven insane by it. What otherwise could be a perfect day in the garden becomes a day of resentment and anger towards the town and another fist full of pills taken for depression, anxieties, and hypertension.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at your BoH December 20th meeting. I do not agree with one board member’s analogy of wind turbine noise vs. botulism and how the one affecting everyone and the other only some people makes the wind turbine detriments more complex to deal with. What about blade and ice throw: There is a proper safe distance to set back even though the ice or blade would not hit EVERYone. (This safety setback is also inadequate for both Town turbines–addressed later in this letter). Actually ‘the hit’ of ice or blade would affect fewer people than the noise does given inadequate setback. Just because the victim would bleed from the physical hit does not lesson the impact on the victim who is suffering from noise induced anxiety, depression and pain. What do you say when you find him hanging on the turbine fence with a .357 round in his head?

YOU are responsible for the the health of all the citizens of Falmouth, including the ones who are sensitive to the noise, shadow flicker, strobe lights, and whatever other annoyances are caused by wind turbines or anything else in Falmouth. YOUR list of duties clearly includes noise. The U.S ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY says that “noise is a significant hazard to public health”, and finds that an absolute noise limit fails to adequately protect the public health. Many communities have promulgated a rule that adequately protects the public health by establishing a relative standard that limits the noise caused by the operation of a wind energy system to no more than 5dbA above the ambient noise level as measured at any point on property adjacent to the parcel on which the wind energy system is located. The Falmouth boards should have been looking into this back in 2004 when the wind turbine was being proposed. There was plenty of information back then to realize the detrimental effects of industrial wind turbines when sited too close to populations. The wind industry disclosed only the bright side of the picture, the town officials either had their eyes closed or outright just HOPED that things would turn out okay.  Not enough research was done, or at least not heeded, the Town took a huge risk, and now the consequences must be faced.

YOU dilly dally around wasting time. YOU do not need peer reviewed studies from Canada or Denmark or Australia to prove to you the detrimental affects of industrial wind turbines on human beings. You have your own neighbors living right here in Falmouth who you can speak to in person, you can stand by their houses, you can look in their medicine cabinets, review their medical records, and see their beds moved down to their basements. We are suffering right here in Falmouth in real time. Every meeting postponement we hear Neil Andersen and Colin Murphy cry out “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO UNTILL THEN”. I have received several calls from Alfreda Wring who lives on Dove Cottage Road in Falmouth. She says I described the noise perfectly in one of my Enterprise letters and said how distraught she is over the noise of the wind turbine. One could not make up her story. She complained to her doctor that she could not sleep because of the turbine sound. He told her to get earplugs, then while she was attempting to put them in she tripped on her bedspread, fell, and broke her hip which resulted in her having to go into a nursing home. There is John Ford who testified at a Cape Cod Commission hearing how terrible the noise is for him at over 3200 feet from Falmouth’s turbine #1. Larry and Jill Worthington, Brian and Kathryn Elder, Neil and Elizabeth Andersen, Colin and Jennifer Murphy, Richard and Charlotte Nugent, Gyongyi Szabo,  Gyorgy Frendi, Kathie and Day Mount, Mark Cool and Annie Hart Cool, Todd and Terri Drummey,  Malcolm Donald, Beth Underhill, Chris Alves, Donna Hamblin, Douglas Smith, Loretta O’Brian, Maddi Tunidor, Nicole Mant, Patrick O’Conner, Robert Sagerman, Sue Hobart, Vincent Myette, and Barry and Diane Funfar. These are all Falmouth people with real problems resulting from the Town’s irresponsible turbine siting. WE ALL WANT OUR LIVES BACK. YOU are contributing to driving them out of their minds and out of their homes. You are contributing to diminishing their life, and most certainly their quality of life. And this list of harmed and suffering Falmouth citizens continues to grow. Turbine 1 is still in its first year of operation and turbine 2 has not yet began to operate. And just wait until the actual tax bills are mailed out–people will not have to be bothered by a medical ailment to claim a tax abatement over the proximity of the wind turbine, and Falmouth will lose more in tax revenue than it gains in electricity generation. And what has the Town figured into their bottom line to offset vandalism? This is a huge problem anywhere these machines are forced into peoples backyards. There is a reason many European countries with more than two decades of experience with industrial wind turbines have now implemented regulations requiring setbacks of 1 to 1.1.5 miles.

It is an obvious fact that some of us are more sensitive to the particular character and quality of the sound generated by the WT. This has been observed in many studies and further confirmed by a number of we abutters of Falmouth’s WT. If I were the only affected person I would simply pack up and move away, but there are many others. We have clearly been violated; our quality of life, our well being, our physical and mental health has been adversely affected. The Town will not alleviate this problem by shutting the WT s down between midnight and 3AM when the wind is over some certain speed, which is their reconciliation to date. Especially when Acting Town Manager Heather Harper berates we complainers for undermining the financial viability of her pet project. I am bothered in the daytime, others are bothered at night, some are annoyed 24 hours per day. Severe annoyance leads to all manner of negatives: Stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, migraines, nausea, emotional turmoil, broken concentration, blurred vision, dizziness, hypertension, nervousness, sleep disorder, palpitations, tiredness, murder, suicide………………….one does not need a medical degree to produce this list. I am 64 years old.  I have been happy, sad, depressed, suicidal, at war, at peace, and everywhere in-between. This Town is driving some of us crazy. (I am enclosing an article that is one of the best I have seen as to why there are such wide differences in perception of wind turbine noise.) We have real issues. We have been harmed. Nothing is being done. At the very least these machines need to be shut down until a final solution is made.

All the Town officials and Town boards act like the noise problem from Turbine 1 is just going to disappear. Meanwhile there is wind turbine #2 under construction, which anyone with a half a mind knows will make the noise problem only worse. This is ludicrous! This is local government at its stupidest.

Megan Amsler in a recent Falmouth Enterprise article highlighted areas in town where (energy) efficiencies can be raised, and that one such area is the current wind turbine which has been shut down at various wind speeds and times of the day to address noise concerns from neighboring residents. She says this has cost the town roughly $35,000 in generation, like we abutters problems are only an impediment to the Town’s financial bottom line. That wind turbine should not be in the Town’s finances. It was built without the necessary Special Permit, sited irresponsibly, and now being operated with no regard for many citizen’s rights or well-being. If not for the green communities hyperbole we would not be in this predicament.

THE 1.65MWatt TURBINES ARE TOO BIG FOR THEIR SITE. HOUSES ARE TOO CLOSE. The homes were here first, some over thirty years. Our environment has been changed from a peaceful community to being severely bothered and annoyed by an industrial power plant. HOW SIMPLE IS THAT. SHUT THE TURBINES DOWN AND MOVE THEM TO A PROPER SITE. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. IT IS TIME FOR THE TOWN TO THROW IN THE TOWEL AND ADMIT A MISTAKE WAS MADE. CALL IT A DAY. Sell them before everyone catches on and realizes the inefficiencies of wind power.

PERSISTENCE AND WHAT IS RIGHT WILL WIN THIS ISSUE. I HAVE NO DOUBT AS TO THE OUTCOME.

Sincerely,
BARRY FUNFAR

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris Kapsambelis permalink
    December 25, 2012 8:57 am

    There are three identical wind turbines destroying the quality of life in Barry Funfar’s neighborhood. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) under its policy 310 CMR 7.10 has an obligation to order all three wind turbines in Falmouth to stop operation immediately.

    http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/community/noisefs.pdf

    In almost three years since Wind-1 went into operation, we have learned that the MassDEP is incapable of doing a credible noise pollution compliance study for wind turbines. Resident’s consultants have documented the noise to exceed both the state 10 dbA above ambient standard, and the Falmouth 40 dbA limit set by the town’s own wind by-law.

    http://www.falmouthmass.us/energy/town%20hall%20meeting.pdf
    http://www.falmouthmass.us/energy/nce%20june6th%20presentation_aam_r2.pdf
    http://www.falmouthmass.us/energy/drummey%20june%206%20presentation.pdf

    Wind 1 has been torturing residents for more than a year and a half. The Notus wind turbine joined in soon after. Continuing the torture with Wind 2 when there is scientific proof that the noise levels exceed both state and town limits is unconscionable. If MassDEP was as concerned with their primary mission to protect the public from pollution, including noise pollution, as they are in promoting wind energy under their boss Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan, they would do their duty and shut down the wind turbines.

    Mr. Sullivan has been tasked by the governor to locate some 1,200 wind turbines throughout the state in the next nine years. A bill called the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act (WESRA), that failed to pass last year, is currently being reconsidered on Beacon Hill. WESRA is a subtle attempt to shift control from traditional local authority to the state. Should that happen, we will see many more situations like Falmouth.

    Call your local legislators, Therese Murray, and the governor and tell them to STOP

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