About 70 people attended Independence Wind LLC’s presentation Tuesday night at the Roxbury town office on new information about their proposed Record Hill Wind wind-power project.
By 8:30 p.m. – two-hours into the presentation – the meeting was still going on, with Resource Systems Engineering founder and president, engineer Charles F. Wallace Jr. answering questions about perceived noise problems from a project that has yet to be built.
Record Hill Wind principals have yet to even choose a wind turbine model, several of which will be placed atop Record Hill in Roxbury if residents in the future OK a land-use ordinance change permitting wind power facilities.
The project is also contingent on approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
During the meeting, senior scientist Steve Pelletier of Stantec Consulting Services Inc. of Portland, a firm hired by Record Hill Wind, spoke at length about Record Hill’s pre-construction wildlife studies.
Pelletier said they had completed a year’s worth of wildlife data and two seasons worth of bat and bird data, all of which indicated to them that by adding wind turbines to Record Hill, it won’t have any significant effect on area wildlife.
Several residents in the crowd, however, thought differently and peppered Pelletier with questions regarding deer, and bird migration.
One woman said that her family lives off meat which her husband legally hunts and kills and they are worried that turbines and work to construct them will frighten away big-game animals.
“The deer are not going to be leaving,” Pelletier said. “There’s no reason for them to leave.”
In response to another question regarding bear, Pelletier said they didn’t do any studies on black bears, but he expects said animals to remain in the area despite the possible presence of wind power facilities.
Others asked for hard copies of the data, which Gardiner said would be available when it becomes public through the DEP review process.
Gardiner also said that migrating birds won’t be affected by wind turbines because they migrate at higher elevations than the turbines will be erected.
Regarding noise levels, Wallace said his firm can’t precisely determine the decibel level range to be produced by wind turbines, because Record Hill has yet to decide which turbines to use.
However, he did present a map of the turbine locations showing the decibel range of the “biggest and baddest” wind power turbines. That map delineated a range of 1,800 feet from the turbines outward within which the noise generated downwind would be 55 decibels. The second delineation measured 45 decibels out to a maximum limit of 4,000 feet, plus or minus depending on terrain.
When asked, he also estimated that the decibel level 7,000 feet away at the eastern shore of Roxbury Pond would be about 39 decibels.
In a June 9 letter to Roxbury residents, Independence Wind principals Angus King and Rob Gardiner stated that they would be providing greater quantities of information about the project during upcoming meetings and planning board hearings on revisions to the town’s land-use ordinance.
On June 17, a majority of Roxbury residents OK’d enacting a six-month moratorium on wind power projects, retroactive to March 3, to give residents time to learn all about the project and issues before voting on whether or not to allow such facilities in Roxbury.
By Terry Karkos
25 June 2008
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