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Kingston Seeking Relief

February 11, 2013

“We can’t live like this. We need help. This is torture. We are suffering,” were the exclamations of Doreen Reilly to Fox 25 reporter Crystal Haynes in the broadcast “Wind Turbines Cause Controversy in Kingston” on February 4, 2013.

Even the blizzard of 2013 brought no relief from turbine torment on Friday night. Doreen Reilly posted to the Kingston Wind Turbine Watch Facebook group page

“No electricity no white noise tonight – just torture by the Independence turbine which is still on!”

This, in spite of the request Joseph Casna, the Chairman of Kingston’s Board of Health, emailed to Kially Ruiz, co-manager of the KWI Turbine. Bradford Randall filed the story on Casna’s request in the Wicked Local Kingston article “Casna asks Ruiz to shut down KWI Turbine during Winter Storm Nemo.”

Earlier in the day on Friday, Kathryn Gallerani noted in another Wicked Local post that Representative Calter and an aide from Senator Therese Murray’s office had met with Kingston residents on February 2, 2013 (Rep. Tom Calter serves as Kingston liaison to state agencies). Residents in Kingston are skeptical of the role the MassCEC is playing in performing or overseeing acoustic tests.

Calter said he wanted to address residents’ concerns that the study will not be biased because of CEC’s known advocacy for wind energy by ensuring the involvement of the state.

It should be noted that Calter and Murray had both assisted development of Kingston’s turbines and Murray’s intervention in splitting net metering off from the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act in 2011 allowed the provision to be enacted. (WESRA failed to pass). Net metering was a  key piece to make the Mary O’Donnell turbines viable–with O’Donnell selling the power to the utility through the town. Murray has since said she believes industrial wind turbines should not be located near homes.

Fox 25 ran a follow-up “teaser” Turbine Flicker, Noise at Center of Kingston Debate to lead into a “Let it Rip” segment on 2/5/13. This featured an exchange between the news anchors and reporters. Validating the feeling that turbine neighbors have about the situation in Kingston,  the discussion on “Going Green…or Going Crazy?” showed these journalists “get” the issue. Comments include:

  • [Regarding what wind proponents call “flicker”] It’s a strobe light essentially.  ..[A]nd you know what’s so interesting is when you hear the complaints you kind of think “really, is that bad?” And then you actually see that strobe effect and you start to see why it has such a strong impact.
  • Normally you’re against these things because “not in my own back yard” …in this case “not in my own living room.” Lets just move it back.
  • When they add a turbine you don’t quite know what you’re getting until it’s there.
  • Why didn’t people say, “before we do this, why don’t we look into it?”
  • [Rather than eminent domain], this is “eminent turbine.” And good luck selling your house because how’re you going to list it?
  • It needs to be in areas that are industrial or away from residential neighborhoods.

Kingston’s Board of Health heard testimony from residents on Monday, February 4, 2013. Tweeting for Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts during the meeting, Louise Grabowski quoted resident Mark Wheeler “Your problem is not to worry about lawsuits if you shut down the turbines – it’s to worry about the health of the people.” Wheeler appears in a short video clip describing his daughter who blinks her eyes in time with the turbine strobing as he watches her stand at the window.

Strobing light, or “flicker,” may be the smoking gun according to the Kingston Journal (Are Kingston’s Wind Turbines Illegal? by Bradford Randall):

Kingston’s Wind Overlay District Bylaw, which was approved by town meeting in April 2007, states wind-turbine applicants have “the burden of proving that [shadow flicker] does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses.”

Despite the town bylaw that requires compliance around “flicker,” no studies have been done.

And people like Doreen Reilly and Mark Wheeler definitely experience strobing from the turbines.

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