In the last several months my neighbours and I have directly spoken to many people whose lives have been affected by wind energy projects. It seems like there is not a project out there, large or small, that leaves a community unaffected.
We have most recently heard from Pastor Mark Harris of Mars Hill, Maine. Pastor Harris was here at the Seventh Day Adventist camp on the Gulf Shore this week. This camp sees an average of 1000 people per week through the summer season.
There is only one wind farm in Maine, and it is on Mars Hill. There are 20 families whose lives have been seriously and detrimentally affected by this project, built by UPC. Some turbines are extremely close to families. Complaints have been made from people living as far away as three miles.
They complain of sleep disturbance and migraines. A couple who was running a retreat for autistic children with riding horses and a petting zoo has had to stop business. Not because of the animals, but because the movement, noise and strobing from the wind farm was seriously affecting the children.
Pastor Harris and his wife had planned to build their retirement home on Mars Hill, but that plan is now on hold until the turbines issue is resolved satisfactorily.
They have 80 acres on the mountain off which he periodically cuts off fire wood. He describes how when he goes up there early in the morning, he can hear the birds in the trees, the rustling leaves, babbling brook and the thump, thump thump of the nearest turbines. After he puts on his hearing protection in preparation to cut wood, he can no longer hear the birds, leaves or brook – but he can still hear the thump, thump, thump of the wind turbine.
Hunters have noticed that large mammals have left the mountain. Bird and bat kill is only part of an environmental impact to wildlife – avoidance of the area is another part of it.
Pubnico, Marshville, Brookfield, Amherst NS, Elmira PEI and Mars Hill, Maine.
Direct conversations with people who have either moved away or would like to. In Rodney, there is a couple who don’t want to move away at all – their families have lived in the area for generations – they just want the noise to stop. She would like to be able to lie in bed at night and not feel her chest vibrating. They have to run a radio in the garage when working in there, because otherwise the turbine noise reverberates so loudly, it makes use of the garage too uncomfortable.
There are some people who do not seem to be affected by the noise and vibrations – but for as long as there are people who are – these machines have to be located so as not to possibly affect anyone living near them.
It really isn’t complicated. Keep them away from people!
5 August 2007
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