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Initial Noise Study Report Points to Potential Concerns for Residents and Developers

Residents for Sound Economics (RSEP) has commissioned a study with a noise consultant to establish the real ambient conditions in the Ubly area. The in-depth results of this study will take some time to summarize but very preliminary results indicate that the Ubly community and surrounding areas may be much quieter than Noble stated in their study. If this holds true then the basis of Noble’s claim that the wind turbines will be compatible with the character of the Ubly environment and soundscape is called into question.

This industry leading firm, which is represented by a principal with over 30 years of experience, is well respected within the noise control consulting business. This mid-Michigan firm has worked with many of Detroit’s automotive corporations and other Fortune 100 companies on environmental and occupational noise issues. Relevant experience includes land use compatibility studies for new facilities and expansions of large manufacturing complexes and environmental compliance litigation.

A very preliminary and cursory review of the data (on site during testing) implies that the ambient sound levels in the Ubly area may be 10 to 20 decibels quieter than stated by Noble. Given this difference, Noble’s position the community would accept the sounds as natural and not obtrusive would fail in the face of the new findings. Indeed, Noble’s study shows that vigorous, negative, community reaction should be expected. If this reaction does happen, Noble, Bingham Township, and the lease holders could all be in a position of having contributed to a situation where the new noise emitter (i.e. turbine, factory, etc) is not compatible with the existing and anticipated land-use in Ubly. This could result in a negative affect on the quality of life for the Bingham township residents or even worse, litigation that could challenge the County, Township, or even lease holders. This wouldn’t be the first time a municipality has approved noises emitters and then later found that the residents reacted to this anticipated level negatively.

For example, from the Lawrence Tech report, “Sterling Heights paid over 31 million in legal fees” when improper zoning for noise was imposed and residents reacted with litigation.

These very issues could impact the local projects in Huron County and result in drastic noise level differences that would change the soundscape of the area forever.

This complex study, which evaluates the noise condition prior to and after construction of turbines will be available at HCWIND.com for individuals to review in the future.