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Commenters to DEP–Citizen Input Excluded

May 28, 2016

This 2014 mapping of turbine complaints shows some of the 850 lodged to date. Blue circles show where DEP measured exceedances.

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.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. BARRY FUNFAR permalink
    May 29, 2016 9:27 am

    WNTAG is just one more example of government at its worst. Having lived 1500 feet from the Town of Falmouth infamous twin 1.65MWatt turbines for over six years I know the detrimental effects of both the audible noise and inaudible vibrations caused by low frequency sound pressures. Falmouth’s Selectmen, with backing from the state, have placed
    financial considerations above human health and quality of life. Our Town, along with the turbine neighbors has been scared for life.

  2. Chris Kapsambelis permalink
    May 29, 2016 9:03 am

    The most outrageous outcome of the Fairhaven MassDEP testing is the mitigation plan that only turns the turbines off when the wind is less that 7 meters per second, essentially when the losses to the developer are insignificant. Furthermore, the mitigation applies only in the winter from midnight to 4:00 AM, further protecting the developer against losses.

    In other words, the turbines are turned off on winter nights when there is little to no wind!

    MassDEP allowed the developer to interpret the test samples as worst case events instead of data points, subject to interpretation based on the principles of science and engineering. The wind turbines were found to emit more than 50 dBA with winds in excess of 10 m/s. Ambient was found to be less than 30 dBA with ground level winds less than 2 m/s. At WNTAG I submitted testimony that extreme vertical wind shear conditions in Fairhaven are exceeded at least 42 nights of the year. During such condition, the noise is more than 20 dBA above ambient. This is twice the 10 dBA limit of the MassDEP policy. When wind shear is taken into account, violation can occur on about half the days of the year, some in the middle of the day.

    In Fairhaven, MassDEP accepted the developers assertion that the noise is a function of wind direction when there is no scientific or empirical basis that wind turbine noise is a function of wind direction. Sound waves propagate in all directions independent of wind.

    The MassDEP ON/OFF testing protocol has proven to be totally ineffective and must be abandoned.

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