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Resource Documents: Impacts (128 items)


Also see NWW "costs/benefits" FAQ

Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.

Date added:  November 17, 2019
Economics, Law, Ohio, U.S.Print storyE-mail story

Wind leasing: an all or none proposition

Author:  Thompson, Gene

[Editor’s note: The doctrine of correlative rights limits use of a common groundwater source to a share in proportion to the landowner’s property above it. Many states apply the doctrine to oil and gas fields as well. Gene Thompson argues here that it should also be applied to the extraction of wind power.]

Producing energy for everyday use has been a necessity for a long time. Oil Exploration and Production companies (E&Ps) have been at it for over 150 years. Wind farm companies have been at it for around 20 years. There are some regulations and laws still in the making that will guide both industries as they become more sophisticated and thus more productive. However, as of today, there is at least one big difference in the way the that the two industries operate. Unlike the wind industry, the oil companies are mandated to follow the doctrine of correlative rights. The wind companies are not.

The process of building a large oil drilling unit is very different than building a wind farm. When the oil company begins, they must gather leases, analyze plat maps, and then determine the best chances of finding a group of adjoining properties with a high percentage of neighbors that want to be part of the drilling unit. Before production can begin, the unit will need to contain 100% leased land. If not, the E&P must either reshape, relocate the unit boundaries or attempt to negotiate with any remaining unleased landowners. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and the holdouts are left outside the production zone. Essentially, the E&P sand the government legislators have both come to realize that not everyone wants to participate in a large-scale unitized drilling unit. When 50 to 100 landowners are asked to come together and cooperate with the development of a unit, it is inevitable that some landowners will hold out for varying reasons. More money, environmental concerns, and loss of peaceable enjoyment of the land are a few of the reasons. However, there are some instances where unleased, yet essential, land can be force pooled. That is a process wherein a landowner is forced to accept their just and equitable share of production. Additionally, prior to any force pooling, the holdout will have many opportunities to lease with competitors. This drives competition and is a win for the landowner. Ultimately, the State and E&P reserve the option to utilize rules of capture (correlative rights) and force pooling to bring the unit to completion. All states recognize that capturing our natural resources is for the greater good and is essential. Our laws consider it unfair for one unwilling landowner to have control over natural resource production that will ultimately benefit our society. And so, the majority claims correlative rights. Conversely, 95% of wind farm owners have zero correlative rights. Additionally, wind farm residents have no force pooling rules.

With that in mind, it is important to note that If the residents of a proposed area of development are heavily divided on oil production, the towel gets thrown in early on and the oil company keeps looking for clusters of landowners that want to participate. Lands that are chosen for development must pass EPA surveys and observe established rules for the industry. As a unit nears completion, the correlative rights doctrine comes into play as a tool to guarantee the rights of the majority. Generally, when landowners become informed of their rights and the value of their resources, development gets much easier. Better informed people are more willing to sign leases and participate in the production of oil. That is yet another difference between wind and oil production. Although similar, both industries encumber large clusters of acreage to capture a resource. Unfairly, yet with the government’s blessing, the wind industry pays disproportionately to very few. The oil industry pays proportionately to all.

The success of energy development either succeeds or fails depending how the rules are applied. In Ohio, wind energy is getting tremendous opposition because the industry is held to an entirely different set of standards. Perhaps that has something to do with legislators that do not have enough experience to understand the old drilling rules (150 years in the making) versus the relatively new rules for wind (20 years in the making). It’s no secret that noncompensated landowners in wind farms feel cheated and bullied. The absence of correlative rights for wind farm members is extraordinary.

Comparing wind to oil, the rules for wind farms dictate that profit be paid only to turbine hosts, and the majority of landowners will receive not one nickel. The majority will never be able to sign a lease with a competitor. They will never have a “cash-generating turbine” on their land. The only sharing aspect for wind farm inclusion is that the majority will share equally the burden of any ill effects. Their right to capture is worthless and is totally lost. The noncompensated wind farm resident has no voice as the state conveys our tax dollars to the wind company for support along with the exclusive right to capture. Hence, thousands of acres become stranded from any future production as one company monopolizes the production zone with the blessing of ill-informed or misguided state regulators. Consider this: If every person that lies within the bounds of a wind farm wanted to build their own industrial turbine, they could not because of setback rules. In contrast, the government would never consider allowing an oil company an exclusive right to drill and to then pay only to the landowner that hosts the wellhead. The wind turbine host enjoys that exact scenario to their exclusive benefit. If legislators can see fit to ensure fairness to every landowner that is encumbered in an oil drilling unit, then why not have similar protective rules for the wind farms?

The rule for force pooling in the oil industry wasn’t created until 1965, after 100+ years of drilling. After years of abuse and inappropriate interpretation, public awareness worked to drive a change. Since we now live in the information age, it shouldn’t take us 100 years to wise up to the wind companies. Our legislators must be aware of the inconsistent rules for energy production. The rules for wind farms need to be updated to keep pace with the changes in technology and rapid development. If the wind industry and our government expect landowners to go green and buy into the turbine idea, then they both need to take a lesson from the rules set forth in the oil industry and then consider the upside of sharing the profit fairly.

Gene Thompson
Tiffin, Ohio

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Date added:  November 15, 2019
Aesthetics, California, ImpactsPrint storyE-mail story

Letter from City of Rio Dell to County of Humboldt Planning Commission in opposition to wind energy project

Author:  City of Rio Dell, Calif.

The City of Rio Dell is writing in response to the Humboldt Wind Energy Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the proposed project. As you know the project is proposed to be located immediately south and southwest of the City and the Town of Scotia on Monument and Bear River Ridges.

As stated in our letter dated June 5, 2019, a copy attached hereto, regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), the City supports alternative renewable energy, including wind energy. However, as documented in the FEIR, the proposed location will result in a number of unavoidable and significant impacts, obviously including visual impacts. These iron giants will dominate the visual landscape of the entire region, including the communities of Rio Dell, Scotia, Fortuna, the Eel River valley and the entire north coast. Some believe these iron giants will be seen from as far away as Trinidad, Kneeland, Fickle Hill, Bridgeville and even Black Lassic in Trinity County.

Humboldt County hosts one of the most beautiful landscapes in the State, if not the entire Country. Millions of travelers from all over the world come to Humboldt County each year to enjoy its scenic qualities, redwoods, rivers and beaches. The forested ridge tops, open meadows and the Scotia‐Rio Dell bluffs surrounding Rio Dell create a visually stunning landscape. These views are represented on the Rio Dell city seal. If the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors approves this project, residents and visitors alike will ask “Why did you allow this project at this location?”

Many residents choose to live in Rio Dell and in fact Humboldt County due to its outstanding visual surroundings. The project if approved and built will have a dramatic adverse change not only to the City’s surroundings, but to the entire region. The City believes the project will impact current and potentially future residents desire to live in Rio Dell, Scotia, Fortuna, Loleta and surrounding areas, materially affecting property values in the City. It’s very likely that the increase property taxes from the Humboldt Wind project will be offset by the decreased property values in the surrounding areas.

In addition, to the visual impacts, the FEIR concludes that the project will result in significant and unavoidable impacts to:

The City still has a number of other concerns associated with the proposed project, including timberland conversion, increased fire danger, significant amounts of grading, erosion, geologic stability and sediment discharges into the Eel River. The City’s primary water source (an infiltration gallery) is just a couple miles downstream from the project site.

The applicant is requesting and the FEIR supports earth moving activities during the winter months. The City believes this is reckless and irresponsible given the significant amount of required grading, the erosion hazard ratings of the soils and the geologic instability of the area. The sediment discharge into to the creeks and rivers will be significant even with wet‐weather Beast Management Practices (BMP’s). The City is not aware that the required Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) has been prepared pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act and the State Water Resources Control Board, Water Quality Order No. 97‐03‐DWQ, “Waste Discharge Requirements” (WDRs).

The City continues to have concerns regarding the use of local roads to access the site. Although the FEIR states that heavy truck and equipment traffic would be restricted from using City roads, without seeing the recommended Conditions of Approval or the required Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP), it’s all but impossible for the City to understand how this will be enforced. There is no consideration of Monument Road as an alternate and emergency access should the Jordan Creek road experience closures. There is no mention of these towers attracting visitors. Traffic would have to go through the City to get to Monument Road.

In regards to the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP), the City is disappointed that it was not included in the FEIR as required by Section 15097 of the CEQA Guidelines. Without this important component of the FEIR, it is very difficult if not impossible for the City, the public and decision makers to determine how effective the proposed Mitigation Measures will be. It should be noted that the agreement between the County and Environmental Consultant AECOM, clearly states (Board Item C‐20, June 19, 2018, page 34) that the required MMRP would be included in the FEIR.

The County’s consultant (AECOM) informed the County as part of their proposal that “Because the project may result in impacts to federally and state listed‐bird species, such as the marbled murrelet, and the northern spotted owl, the project will (emphasis added) require an Endangered Species Act (ESA) incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Endangered Species Act, Section 2080.1 concurrence or Section 2081 permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFWS).” AECOM further states that a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would be required as well. See Board Item C‐20, June 19, 2018, page 19. To date, the City and the rest of the community is not aware of the apparently required Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that the County’s environmental consultant told them was required over a year ago.

The City still believes the project is being fast‐tracked at the community’s expense in favor of big business. A prime example is the fact that the FEIR was released on November 4th and the Planning Commission will hold its first meeting on November 7th. The FEIR contains almost 900 pages not including the almost 6,000 pages of comments and associated reference materials that were submitted in response to the DEIR. It is unfathomable that the public and the decision makers have four days to review the document before the Planning Commission meeting.

The City supports the concerns and the opposition of the project expressed by a number of State and Federal Agencies, organizations and thousands of Humboldt County residents. Below is a list of some of those agencies and organizations:

Required CUP Findings

Pursuant to Section 312‐17 et. seq. of the Humboldt County Zoning Regulations in order to approve the project, the Planning Commission must find:

The proposed development and conditions under which it may be operated or maintained will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare or materially injurious to properties or improvements in the vicinity. [emphasis added]

Obviously, the City believes this finding cannot be made. It’s very clear to this City Council that there is no doubt that the proposed project, if approved, will be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare and will be materially injurious to properties and improvements in the vicinity. The increased fire danger, biological impacts, sediment discharge and visual impacts are all detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare to our communities, residents and environment.

In addition, the project will affect property values, having a direct and substantial impact on the materially wellbeing of the City of Rio Dell. According to a September 2015 article, “Do Wind Turbines Lower Property Values?” in Forbes Magazine, it’s “clear that wind power DOES impact property values”. The article refers to a long list of other articles, studies and court cases documenting how wind power does affect property values. A copy was provided in the City’s June 5, 2019 comments on the DEIR.

In addition the Commission must also make the following Supplemental Findings:

Agricultural Use; §312‐18.1.1: The proposed use will not impair the continued agricultural use on the subject property or on adjacent lands or the economic viability of agricultural operations on the site.

Timber Use; § 312‐21.1.1: The proposed use will not significantly detract from, or inhibit the growing and harvesting of timber on the site or on adjacent properties.

The proposed project will in fact impair the agricultural use of the properties. Each turbine will have a graded 350’ x 350’ pad (2.8 acres). It is assumed these graded pads will be fenced‐ off for security purposes. The will result in the loss of 132+/− acres of grazing land.

The proposed project will in fact inhibit the growing and harvesting on timber. Tree removal associated with the widening of the access roads and transmission line will inhibit (eliminate) the growing and harvesting of timber.

Another supplemental finding that applies in the Coastal Zone and not the inland areas of the County should be applied County wide. See below:

Wind Electrical Generating Facilities; §312‐31.3.1: The facility will have no significant adverse impact on sensitive habitat resources.

There is no opportunity for the adoption of a “Statement of Overriding Considerations” for the required findings.

Should the project be approved, the City is concerned regarding the removal of the WTGs after the projects life (30+/− years). Apparently the removal of WTGs has been an issue in a number of communities throughout the Country and in fact the world. The City recommends, if the project or one of its alternatives is approved that a Performance Bond be required to ensure the visual blight (WTGs), the foundations, transmission facilities are removed and the natural contours restored.

For the reasons discussed herein the City of Rio Dell officially opposes the proposed Humboldt Wind Energy project and recommends the “No Project” alternative.

Debra Garnes
City of Rio Dell
November 12, 2019

Robert Morris
County of Humboldt Planning Commission
Eureka, California

Humboldt Wind Energy Project
Case No. PLN‐13999
Environmental Impact Report; SCH 2018072076

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
Humboldt Redwood Company
Russ Ranch and Timber Company

Download original document: “Letter from City of Rio Dell to County of Humboldt Planning Commission in opposition to wind energy project

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Date added:  November 12, 2019
Michigan, Noise, Ordinances, SitingPrint storyE-mail story

Wind Energy Conversion Systems Zoning Ordinance

Author:  Monitor Township, Bay County, Mich.

Section 3.48 [excerpts]

This Ordinance is intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Township and to encourage the safe, effective, efficient and orderly development and operation of wind energy resources in the Township while preserving and protecting the character and the stability of residential, agricultural, recreational, commercial, industrial and other areas within the Township.

Adverse Sound Character: Sound that causes building rattle, is impulsive, tonal, or has low-frequency bass rumble.

Ambient is defined as the sound pressure level exceeded 90% of the time over a 96-hour measurement period with daytime/nighttime division.

Lmax (LAmax or LCmax): The maximum dB(A) or dB(C) sound level measured using the “fast response” setting of the sound meter (equivalent to 0.125 second exponential averaging time).

L10 is the noise level exceeded for 10% of the time of the measurement duration. This is often used to give an indication of the upper limit of fluctuating noise, such as that from road traffic.

L90 is the noise level exceeded for 90% of the time of the measurement duration and is commonly used to determine ambient or background noise level.

Utility-Scale (also known as Commercial and Large-Scale) Wind Energy Conversion System: A wind energy conversion system greater than sixty (60) feet in total height (tip height) intended to generate power from wind primarily to supplement the greater electric utility grid. Utility-Scale WECS includes accessory uses such as, but not limited to, SCADA towers, anemometers, or electric substations.

Review Standards for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS).

Height and Scenic Vista. The maximum height of any Utility-Scale WECS is 500 feet. The height of a WECS is measured from the lowest natural grade at the base of the pole to the highest point of the WECS when a blade is in its vertical orientation.

Abandonment. Any WECS that is not used to produce energy for a period of six (6) successive months or longer shall be deemed to be abandoned and shall be promptly dismantled and removed from the property in accordance with the decommissioning regulations of this ordinance, unless the applicant receives a written extension of that period from the Township Board in a case involving an extended repair schedule for good cause.

Vibrations. Wind turbines shall not create vibrations that are detectable by humans on non-participating properties.

Safety Manual. The Applicant must provide an unredacted copy of the manufacturer’s safety manual for each model of turbine without distribution restraints to be kept at the Township Hall and other locations deemed necessary by Planning Commission or local first responders. The Manual should include standard details for an industrial site such as materials, chemicals, fire, access, safe distances during WECS failure, processes in emergencies, etc.

Noise. Applicant shall provide an initial sound modeling report and, within six (6) months of commencing operation of the WECS, a postconstruction report for the project with a schedule and documentation …

Setback. The minimum setback from any property line of a Non- Participating Landowner or any road right-of-way shall be no less than 2000 feet. The minimum setback from any property line of a Participating Landowner shall be no less than 1640 feet.

Communication Interference. Each WECS and Testing Facilities shall be designed, constructed and operated so as not to cause radio and television or other communication interference. In the event that verified interference is experienced and confirmed by a licensed engineer, the Applicant must produce confirmation that said interference had been resolved to residents! satisfaction within ninety (90) days of receipt of the complaint. Any such complaints shall follow the process stated in Complaint Resolution sections.

Infrastructure Wiring. All electrical connection systems and lines from the WECS to the electrical grid connection shall be located and maintained underground. …

Road Damage. The Contractor shall inform the Bay County Road Commission (BCRC) of all the roads they propose to use as haul routes to each construction site. This shall be done prior to beginning any construction at any site. The identified haul routes shall be videotaped by either the BCRC or Contractor prior to the beginning of construction and after construction has been completed. Upon review of the before and after videos and physical review of each roadway, the BCRC shall determine what damage, if any, was caused by the Contractor! s vehicles. If it is determined damage to the road was caused by the Contractor! s vehicles or activities, the Contractor shall work with the BCRC to determine the extent of the roadway repair needed. This may include, but is not limited to, crush and shaping the roadway, placing additional aggregate, placing a new chip seal surface (two courses minimum), placing a new asphalt surface or a combination thereof. In all cases, the roadway shall be constructed in accordance with the BCRC! s current specifications and requirements associated with the type of roadway to be installed. All costs for said work shall be the responsibility of the Contractor.

Shadow Flicker. No amount of Shadow Flicker may fall on or in a Non-Participating Parcel. … Participant parcels shall not exceed 30 hours of shadow flicker per
calendar year.

Strobe Effect. No amount of Strobe Effect may fall on or in any parcel. Under no circumstances, shall a WECS or Testing Facility produce strobe effect on properties.

Voltage. The Applicant shall be responsible for compensation to residents for property, including livestock, health or other damage by stray voltage caused by a WECS. The Applicant shall demonstrate WECS prohibits stray voltage, surge voltage, and power from entering ground.

Regulation of WECS Commercial and Industrial Noise. To preserve quality of life, peace, and tranquility, and protect the natural quiet of the environment. This ordinance establishes the acoustic baseline, background sound levels for project design purposes, and limits the maximum noise level emissions for commercial and industrial developments. Residents shall be protected from exposure to noise emitted from commercial and industrial development by regulating said noise.

Non-Compliance with Standards. The Township Board reserves the right to require WECS Applicant to shut down any WECS unit that does not meet ordinance requirements until such WECS unit meets ordinance requirements or is removed.


a) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated audible noise from commercial or industrial permitted facilities that exceeds 45 dBA (Lmax) or 55 dBC (Lmax) (dBC-to-dBA ratio of 10 dB per ANSI standard S12.9 Part 4 Annex D) for any duration, at a property line or any point within any property.

b) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated from commercial or industrial permitted facilities any acoustic, vibratory, or barometric oscillations in the frequency range of 0.1 to 1 Hz that is detectable at any time and for any duration by confirmed human sensation or exceeds a sound pressure level from 0.1 to 20 Hz of 50 dB(unweighted) re 20 µPA or exceeds an RMS acceleration level of 50 dB(unweighted) re 1 micro-g by instrumentation at a landowner’s property line or at any point within a landowner’s property.

c) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated from commercial or industrial permitted facilities any vibration in the low-frequency range of 0.1 to 20 Hz, including the 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 Hertz octave bands that is perceivable by human sensation or exceeds an rms acceleration level of 50 dB(unweighted) re 1 micro-g at any time and for any duration either due to impulsive or periodic excitation of structure or any other mechanism at a landowner’s property line or at any point within landowner’s property.

d) A noise level measurement made in accordance with methods in section “Noise Measurement and Compliance” that is higher than 45 dBA (Lmax) or 55 dBC (Lmax), adjusted for the penalty assessed for a tonal noise condition, shall constitute prima facie evidence of a nuisance.

e) An acoustic, vibratory or barometric measurement documenting oscillations associated to commercial or industrial permitted facilities with levels exceeding the noise limits shall constitute prima facie evidence of a nuisance.

f) All commercial and industrial activity shall comply with limits and restrictions anywhere at any time on another property.

g) Leq 1-sec shall be used for all measurements and modeling.

Noise Measurement and Compliance. …

Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) Site Plan Review Procedure. …

Economic Impact. …

—Adopted March 25, 2019

Wind Energy Conversion Systems Zoning Ordinance

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Date added:  November 4, 2019
Health, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Case studies that have convinced me that industrial wind turbines make people sick

Author:  Acker, WilliamAcker, William

William G. Acker
Acker & Associates
Prepared: December 27, 2015 through Feb. 18, 2019

Download original document: “Some of the case studies that have convinced me that industrial wind turbines make people sick, which supports my belief that we can prove in a court of law that these wind turbines are causing annoyance and illnesses

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