A member of the Ad Hoc Committee which helped study Calumet County’s existing wind energy ordinance and make recommendations for changes is commending the County Board for its votes last week.
Ron Dietrich, who has studied wind energy in depth and has urged local officials to be cautious about allowing wind turbines in Calumet County, said, “We applaud the county supervisors for putting the citizens of Calumet County ahead of the state interest. There is considerable pressure on communities to follow the state’s recommendations of turbine placement. Our research found the standards developed by the PSC’s staff for noise and setbacks were insufficient in regard to health and safety issues.”
The ordinance adopted by the county details the limits on sound emissions from the turbines. Unlike other ordinances, this law codifies the protocols for measuring sound emissions to ensure consistent studies regardless of when a sound survey is conducted and by whom. “This is an important aspect of the law,” Dietrich said.
The Ad Hoc Committee found considerable variation in noise level studies conducted for other sites because the differences in methodologies employed in collecting sound levels had not been specified. The county was assisted in developing the ordinance requirements by an acoustical consultant, Richard James of E-Coustic Solutions, Okemos, Mich., who had experience in community noise and land-use compatibility with other industrial noise sources.
The county’s actions come on the heels of intense political wrangling in the State Legislature, which sought to assign all wind siting authority over to the Public Service Commission. At least for now, that effort has been stalled.
26 March 2008
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