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Will MADEP Regulate or Not?

July 11, 2014

That is the question posed by Firetower Wind in the Turbines over Troubled Waters post and a key question raised by the approach taken by a DEP assistant commissioner, Douglas Fine (quoted by Kathryn Gallerani reporting in “UPDATE: Kingston Independence turbine exceeds state’s noise threshold during study” 7/10/14). The firm hired to test for compliance in Kingston issued an interim report confirming exceedences on two of the dates it tested.

Douglas Fine, assistant commissioner for planning and evaluation, said Wednesday that DEP has offered its assistance to the Board of Health as it sets a course of action in response to the violations of the state air pollution regulation. He did not foresee a conflict July 21.

Fine said DEP delegates authority for determining a course of action, in collaboration with the turbine operator, to the Board of Health.

“Now it’s in the Board of Health’s court to move forward,” he said. “The Board of Health will work with the turbine operator to develop and put in place actions that will eliminate any future exceedences of our noise standard.”

Fine said there are other instances of turbines violating the noise standard and that DEP has shared mitigation options with the Kingston board. He said DEP will also help the board and the turbine operator understand the conditions in place when the standard was exceeded to properly mitigate and prevent recurrences.

Sean and Doreen Reilly, whose family has been among the many households impacted by turbine operations in Kingston, wrote to the town:

As you are well aware we have been requesting and at times begging that you, our town, officials, help us by investigating, and acting, on the Nuisance conditions we have been exposed to by way of both excessive and invasive noise as well as the very disorienting shadow flicker impacts that have enveloped our home, property and neighborhood as a result of the Independence turbine operations.
The next Kingtson Board of Health meeting on July 21, 2014 may begin to address the Reilly’s concerns, but given the DEP’s track record, they may have to wait for a court order to have quiet at night.
One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2014 11:09 am

    Residents of Kingston MA asked why their local health board won’t take interim action based upon noise pollution violations known to exist, and more verified by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
    Last Thursday night, experts from the state DEP, presented partial results of an acoustical study of the “Independence” wind turbine to the board of health and the public. The turbine has been found to be out of compliance with permissible regulatory noise limit standards.
    A noise remediation plan was determined by the board to be a ‘forward moving’ strategy for the long term. However, short term measures addressing interim night time noise violation mitigation did not received similar attention, leading the public to question whether the board is effectively carrying out their public protection charge.
    Noise violations that have been evidenced and have substantiated the nearly 2 years of neighborhood reported sleep disruption events. Now it seems the opportunity for further violations to occur will be allowed to continue by the board (at least until Aug 11).
    In the mean time, the board would be wise to seek advise from and follow the general mission suggested by the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards. Under general laws, state and local regulations, for health and environmental protection when violations exist, the local board is duty bound to prevent or remove such violation(s) in an effective and timely manner.
    Are these actions timely? Effective? Or, is it more accurate that the board’s inaction signals further procrastination and neglectful disposal of their sworn duty to protect the health of ALL in the community?

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