KINGSTON — The logistics still need to be worked out. However, the state Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to commission a sound study of the impacts of the Independence and O’Donnell wind turbines.
Town Planner Tom Bott informed the Kingston School Committee Monday night of this, explaining that one of the reasons for the study is to address residents’ concerns about the impact of the four wind turbines on their health and safety.
One area of focus will potentially be near the elementary and intermediate schools. Committeee members didn’t debate the need for a sound study. The accuracy of a sound study paid for by the state was, however, hotly debated.
School Committee member Dennis Randall took issue with Country Club Way resident Tim Dwyer’s cautioning the committee against relying on a state study and stressing the need for a level of independence in the commission of a study.
“The suggestion that whatever sound study is produced out of this process is going to somehow be tilted or slanted in one direction or another fits nicely with the conspiratorial view of the world but does not fit very well with reality,” Randall said.
The remedy for any such grievance, he added, will ultimately be decided in court if a sound study commissioned by complainant were to reveal any impropriety.
Dwyer said the state already released the results of what was really a review of previous studies by a panel with two members having a vested interest. One of the key findings concluded there is no scientific evidence that exposure wind turbines causes so-called “wind turbine syndrome.”
“To expect that you can order an expert report without bias is somewhat naïve,” Dwyer responded.
Chairman Joe Chaves said if the committee wishes it, he would support asking that an independent expert review the results.
“I would expect that if the School Committee said we want to have the hard numbers, the real data, and we’d like to have our independent person look at your numbers, then we can do that as well,” he said.
School Committee member Martie Dwyer, Tim’s wife, said it matters how sound in particular, both audible and infrasound, impacts children at school or at at home because it can affect them in school.
“I just want to make sure we protect our students from sleep deprivation,” she said.
Chaves described the purpose of the discussion of wind turbines operations as an opportunity to address to the “what ifs” related to safety and health. He said it’s important for the committee to address these because it has a responsibility to the children in the two school buildings.
Committee members submitted questions in writing prior to the meeting. Green Energy Committee member Mark Beaton said the answers from Kingston Wind Independence co-manager Kially Ruiz should have put any fears about physical safety to rest.
The Dwyers are among the 15 families that have appealed the denial of cease and desist orders for the four wind turbines. The appeal was heard at the June 20 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
While that hearing was continued to July 18, ZBA Chairman John Haas is informing the public that the attorney who filed the appeal has requested a continuance. He expects the hearing to be continued to Aug. 1.