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Net Neutrality Action Day July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017

Many of the videos supplied by Wind Wise Massachusetts are housed on the Vimeo website. Here is a plea from Vimeo to keep an open Internet. If the Federal Communications Commission rules reduce access, sites like ours may get less traffic as readers are frustrated in loading documents, images, and links to content like videos and news websites

Fight-for-Net-Neutrality

Why we need net neutrality from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

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Falmouth Selectmen Bow to Court Ruling

July 11, 2017
Hoosac-Don't get fooled like

Hoosac Wind ribbon-cutting December 2012. Photo credit: Virginia Irvine

Louise Grabowski, President of Wind Wise~Massachusetts, noted the import of the June 20, 2017 ruling from Barnstable Superior Court:

“We are confident the Superior Court’s ruling that these massive wind turbines  ‘constitute a substantial and unreasonable interference’ with the lives of those living near them will discourage other towns from erecting these industrial machines too close to people.”

According to Cape Cod Times reporter Adam Lucente, the Board of Selectmen chose not to appeal the decision because it would further divide the town (“Falmouth won’t appeal order to shut down wind turbines,” 7/10/17). Falmouth has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs and has lost revenue from court-ordered shutdowns. Residents had filed many suits, one of which resulted in the turbine operating on a reduced schedule. In this recent decision, the judge ruled against the town’s appeal of a “nuisance” ruling by the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals.

Wind Wise has been following the efforts of residents in communities across Massachusetts, where wind power plants have been sited. Grabowski said,

“The Board of Selectman’s decision not to appeal the court’s ruling is a decisive and hard won victory for those in Falmouth who have suffered for years from the harmful health impact of the wind turbines too close to their homes.

Shutdown Ordered for Both Falmouth Town-owned Turbines

June 21, 2017

Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty issued the order to shut down Falmouth’s Wind 1 and Wind 2 on June 20, 2017. The judge denied the appeal brought by Falmouth selectmen against the Zoning Board of Appeals. The ZBA had found the turbines to be a “nuisance.”

Cape Cod Times reporter Ethan Genter wrote (in “Falmouth ordered to shut down turbines“):

Barry Funfar flanked by turbines (see the Boston Globe profile from 2014)

Moriarty’s decision was welcomed by Barry Funfar, who lives next to one of the turbines and has sunk more than $100,000 into fighting their operation.

“We’ve been waiting for this decision for six months,” Funfar said.

“Wind neighbors” have brought nine suits against the town-owned turbines. Due to a judge’s order in one of these, Wind 1 was already out of operation and Wind 2 was operating on a reduced schedule limited to 12 hours. This has given the people impacted by the turbine a chance to sleep at night–something not available to the people of Kingston, Fairhaven, Bourne, Plymouth and areas near the Hoosac project in the Berkshires.

Infrasound & Low Frequency Noise Heard in Boston

June 11, 2017
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L-R Barry Funfar, Neil Andersen, Louise Barteau. Photo credits Louise Grabowski

Eight activists from Wind Wise told the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture why House Bills 464 and 2133 matter to families who live near industrial wind plants. The June 6, 2017 hearing was chaired by Senator Anne Gobi.

The Department of Environmental Protection is mandated to protect the public from noise pollution. These bills would add “infrasound,” “low frequency noise,” and “aerodynamic amplitude modulation” to the types of emissions regulated by MADEP.

cmte-chair-Gobi-listening6-6-17

Sen. Anne Gobi (center) chaired the hearing

Barry Funfar and Neil Andersen, both from Falmouth, and Louise Barteau from Fairhaven reported their first-hand experience with ILFN.

Watch a video of Dale LaBonte’s comments on the problem with infrasound.

Dr. Wayne Klug of Lanesboro wrote to urge the committee to report out both bills favorably because they are “needed to protect the health and safety of Massachusetts residents.”

The attractive and comforting image of majestic wind turbines turning gracefully against the sky, generating clean, limitless energy—seemingly all benefit and no cost—begins to tarnish as we hear about particulars that neither wind developers nor government agencies have so far cared to discuss.

Of special relevance to the current bills, we hear about the turbines’ high-frequency noise—and its inaudible low-frequency counterpart, called “infrasound”—that creates headaches, vertigo, and elevated blood pressures among humans living within 1.5 miles on level, and 2 miles or more on mountainous, terrain.

Currently, the Massachusetts DEP does not regulate these unique noise characteristics, even though ample evidence suggests that neighbors are being sickened by turbine noise. Current noise assessment procedures require the quantification only of acoustical phenomena that are audible to human hearing (in dBAs).

H. 464 addresses this oversight by making clear that the DEP’s power to regulate noise extends to low frequency noise, infrasound, and aerodynamic amplitude modulation. Similarly, H. 2133 will require that these terms – “low frequency noise”, “infrasound”, and “aerodynamic amplitude modulation” – be included in the definition of noise pollution regulated by the DEP. Adding these three terms will provide the basis for regulating them – as proposed in H. 464.

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts has additional information on ILFN (infrasound and low frequency noise), vibroacoustic disease, and research studies which confirm the impacts people experience from the inaudible emissions industrial wind turbines generate.

Bills Submitted for Legislative Session 2017-2018

February 12, 2017

Bills introduced in the new legislative session address wind turbine impacts–like adverse health effects–costs to rate payers, and more. The text of these bills is on the Legislation WWMA Supports – 2017-2018 ‎page.

H2473 ———— sponsored by Representative Sarah Peake
H1777 ———— sponsored by Representative David Vieira
SD953 ————- sponsored by Senator Bruce Tarr
S1883———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola
H1770 ———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola
HD3754 ———— sponsored by Representative Bruce Ayers
H2133 ———— sponsored by Representative Sarah Peake
H464 ———— sponsored by Representative Todd Smola

The bill numbers link to the text at the Massachusetts Legislature pages as they become available.

To find the name and contact information of your state senator and of your state representative, go to www.malegislature.gov.comconvos-map-2017
We can bring attention to these bills at Commonwealth Conversations now in progress around the state from the end of January 2017 to the end of March. Check the website for the date in your region. And if you see your representative or senator there, thank them for their support.

Bill Information
H2473 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.  (Representative Peake).
H1777 Wind Energy Relief Act” establishes a fund to compensate people, businesses, and municipalities adversely impacted by wind turbines, and another fund to help compensate municipalities to remove or relocate wind turbines. Monies already deducted from our electricity bills support both funds. (Representative Vieira)
S1883 An Act relative to the green communities act requires an investigation of the impact of the Green Communities Act, including a review and analysis of current and future benchmarks. It also requires that the findings be made public. (Senator Tarr)
H1770 An Act relative to accountability of public funds used for wind turbines requires the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to post monthly updates on public funds spent for wind turbines. It also requires that the information be made public. (Representative Smola)
H1771 An Act Promoting Transparency in Wind Generated Electricity Production requires wind projects to submit production statistics (megawatts per hour) if the project received public funds. It also requires that audited production statistics be made public. (Representative Smola)
HD3754 The Electricity Bill Transparency Act establishes a framework to ensure electricity rate savings by requiring annual, public reports of ratepayer cost and benefits under the Green Communities Act. It also requires that costs for programs and policies under the Green Communities Act be itemized on electric bills. (Representative Ayers)
H2133 An Act Relative to Noise Pollution adds low-frequency noise, infrasound and aerodynamic amplitude modulation to the emissions within the MassDEP’s power to regulate. (Representative Peake)
H464 An Act Relative to Noise and Air Pollution includes the terms low-frequency noise, infrasound, and aerodynamic amplitude modulation in the definitions of noise and air pollution regulated by MassDEP. (Representative Smola)

Commenters to DEP-Here’s what protective regulations look like

June 11, 2016
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SEAlicense-BEQUIETFrom his “BE QUIET” license plate to his email signature statement, “Neighbors are far better acoustic analyzers for determining the quality of their life versus any acoustic instrument left unattended by an expert,” Stephen Ambrose has been a champion. His quest has been to safeguard the health and well-being of the public from unwanted noise. As an acoustician, he has addressed noise threats–from manufacturing plants to commercial turbines. His expertise led the MassDEP to invite him to serve on the WNTAG panel.

The recommendation (below) has specifications to deal with limiting noise, but its implementation mandates even more accountability:

  • Noise measurements are the financial responsibility of the project owner and shall be independently performed by a qualified professional

  • Noise measurement shall prevail versus noise predictions.

Ambrose's protective noise regulation

Commenters to DEP–Citizen Input Excluded

May 28, 2016
Fairhaven-complaints

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.

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