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Comments on Robert McCunney’s testimony on behalf of Green Mountain Power 

Author:  | Health, Human rights, Maine, Noise, Ontario, Regulations, Vermont, Wisconsin

Green Mountain Power has applied for a permit to erect 21 wind turbines on Lowell Mountain, Lowell, Vermont. Rebuttal testimony of Robert McCunney on behalf of Green Mountain Power Corporation was filed on November 22, 2010 – Summary of Testimony: Dr. McCunney responds to claims by Department of Public Service witness Mr. Kane, Albany witness Mr. James, Lowell Mountains Group witness Mr. Blomberg and others concerning the health and related impacts of sound. He also supports the Board’s approved sound standard for wind projects.

Among other comments, Pierpont notes how McCunney repeatedly emphasizes the relative inaudibility of low-frequency noise and infrasound, implying that therefore it can not be a problem, and how he describes recent research describing how the inner ear filters out infrasound so that indeed we don’t hear it, but denies its neural communication to other physiologic systems than conscious hearing. See: Salt A. N., and Hullar, T. E., “Responses of the ear to low frequency sounds, infrasound and wind turbines”, Hearing Research, 2010 Sep 1, 268(1-2):12-21; and Salt, Alec, “Infrasound: Your ears ‘hear’ it but they don’t tell your brain”, presentation, Symposium on Adverse Health Effects of Industrial Wind Turbines, Picton, Ontario, October 29-31, 2010.

She also notes how he cruelly dismisses individually variable sensitivity as reason to ignore the problem rather than face it with concern, and how he lumps wind turbine noise in with other “modern-era” noises despite clear evidence that annoyance is much greater for wind turbines at lower sound levels. See Pedersen, E., and Waye, K. P., “Perception and annoyance due to wind turbine noise–a dose-response relationship”, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2004 Dec, 116(6):3460-70; and Pedersen, E., “Human response to wind turbine noise – perception, annoyance and moderating factors”, Dissertation, 2007, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Göteborg University Sahlgrenska Institute.

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