August 12, 2011
Contact: Susan Davis, (207) 491-2509
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Board of Environmental Protection Extends Comment Period on Our Noise Rules
Our yearlong citizen’s petition effort is going well. We know that every time industrial wind turbines have been erected too close to people, major conflicts and health issues have resulted. Look at Vinalhaven, Mars Hill, and Freedom. So many people fear that these problems will exponentially increase that over 300 citizens submitted testimony in support of our rules, and only a handful of individuals and trade associations opposed, all of whom stand to benefit financially from wind power. Our attorney, Rufus Brown, along with his expert witnesses Robert Rand, Richard James, and Michael Nissenbaum, presented a compelling case to the Board. The industry lawyers’ only defense was to cry that if regulations are adopted to curtail harmful infrasound emissions, they might have to “invest” their money elsewhere. (They never like to admit it’s mostly our money, or that it isn’t so much invested as spent, mostly overseas.)
Now the BEP is deliberating a less stringent approach than what we proposed in our petition. The Board is considering a limit of 42 decibels. Our witnesses say that this amendment would not protect citizens adequately. We insist that the nighttime limit should be 35 decibels in these quiet rural areas. Our witnesses say that the 42 decibel limit would not protect citizens adequately. Please take a moment today to offer your thoughts to the BEP. Support the original 35 decibel standard and urge the Board to reject the 42 decibel limit. Also, in response to the outpouring of support for our rule, the industry has floated a concept called Noise Redction Operation (NRO). This amounts to “turning down” the turbine speed at night. Tell BEP this is a Trojan Horse. Our experts know that NRO can result in increased noise. Moreover, we know that a marginally effective generator like a windmill is unlikely to voluntarily reduce its already paltry output. Compliance and enforcement of NRO is unrealistic.
Friends of Maine’s Mountains Appeals to Friends of Baxter State Park
In response to a proposed drastic expansion of a pending wind “farm” in Oakfield, FMM President Chris O’Neil recently wrote to Friends of Baxter State Park, asking that organization to join the growing number of concerned Mainers. See the letter here (Sue- post my letter on our website and add the hyperlink here). Please add your voice by clicking here.
Home Rule Rules. Let’s Keep it That Way
Three years ago there was an attempt in the Maine Legislature to take away home rule regarding wind “farm” development. It was soundly defeated because you spoke loud and clear that Maine does not work that way. We all know now how horribly a proposed wind project can tear apart a town. Commonly, a “developer” will approach landowners and town officials and dollar signs -not sensible land use – become the focus. Then, in reactive manner, the town debates whether and how to enact a moratorium on wind, and whether and how to write a wind ordinance. All of this is done with the wind developer at the table, in the public information meetings, and at the bargaining table. Often the wind developer helps shape the regulation, and influences its outcome by offering land trusts or school playgrounds or….you get the picture. It is a bad way to make policy. The New York Legislature recently passed a law severely limiting home rule regarding wind power, which still enjoys the unearned favor of the public, which largely still believes wind power will reduce our oil use. The New York Law is a chilling turn of events.
Of course, much of Maine is in the Unorganized Territory, where there is no local government, and no home rule. FMM is doing all we can to protect those rural areas and the citizens there. But wind developers also seek sites in organized towns, near people. Thankfully, many Maine towns have survived this divisive process and have enacted solid protections in their land use code. Some have even done it proactively, before any developer is knocking at the door. Sadly, even these successful towns are left bitterly divided and scarred by the invasion of the wind developer and its potential corruption of the town’s way of life. FMM is urging towns to engage now, before the wind specualtors come calling. Please contact the Governor’s Energy Office by clicking here. Urge the Governor to make a statement about home rule, and ask him to advise municipalities to adopt sensible wind ordinances before they are caught in the wind snare.
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FMM’s Facebook page is a great way to stay in touch. Lots of good articles about energy, the environment, and wind power…and your opportunity to join in discussions. Click here to friend Friends!
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Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a membership conservation organization that protects Maine’s unique landscape and way of life.
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