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Maine BEP approves lower noise level standards for wind projects

The Board of Environmental Protection today voted to approve lowering the maximum noise level for wind power projects allowed overnight from 45 to 42 decibels.

Maine’s citizen Board of Environmental Protection has approved a new sound-level standard for wind power projects that will lower the maximum decibels allowed overnight from 45 to 42. The vote was 5 to 4.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection had wanted another public hearing on the issue before any change in the standard, but a slim majority of the citizen BEP today decided to weigh in on the issue without a second hearing.

Nonetheless, DEP officials say they support the lower standard. “We believe this is a balanced standard that honors the concerns expressed by some citizens by lowering the level while giving wind developers a clear and predictable path for their projects and achievable and sustainable standards,” says DEP spokeswoman Samantha DePoy-Warren in a statement.

DePoy-Warren says the lower standard is not a done deal–it must first be approved by the Legislature and then go back to the BEP for final adoption. She says the new noise rules will not apply to projects that are already permitted or have applications on file.