WWMA Press Release on MA Superior Court Ruling
For Release: Upon Receipt
Contact: Barry Wanger, Media Relations, Wind Wise Massachusetts, 617-965-6469, Barry@WangerAssociates.com
Judge Rules that Falmouth Must Reduce Wind Turbines Hours of Operation. Court Finds Nearby Homeowners Suffer ‘Irreparable Physical and Psychological Harm
BARNSTABLE (Nov. 22) In a major victory for homeowners living near a wind turbine in Falmouth, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse issued a preliminary injunction today to sharply reduce the turbine’s hours of operation.
The Court found that the defendants in the case face “a substantial risk (that they) will suffer irreparable physical and psychological harm if the injunction is not granted.”
Under today’s ruling, Falmouth’s two turbines must shut down from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and all day on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, effective immediately.
“This is believed to be the first time that a Court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby,” said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts.
Falmouth residents Neil and Elizabeth Andersen who live near the turbine had submitted affidavits and medical records to the court supporting their claim that “the nuisance produced by the turbines has resulted in substantial and continuous insomnia, headaches, psychological disturbances, dental injuries, and other forms of malaise.”
In the written injunction, Judge Muse said “The court finds the Andersens claims that they did not experience such symptoms prior to the construction and operation of the turbines, and that that each day of operation produces further injury, to be credible.
The Court rejected the town’s claim that reducing the turbines in hours would cause financial harm, as it was counting on revenue generated by the sale of excess energy back to the grid.
“Regardless of whether there would be any financial impact on the Town from a preliminary injunction, the source of the Town’s eventual payments to satisfy its financial obligations are irrelevant and do not warrant close analysis by this court,” the judge ruled.
WWMA is a statewide alliance of environmentally active grassroots organizations and individuals who are concerned about the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of poorly-sited wind turbines. The organization has supporters in more than 200 Massachusetts cities and towns.