January 5, 2012
Letters, West Virginia

Turbine noise mars quality of life

Mineral Daily Dews-Tribune, www.newstribune.info 4 January 2012

I have lived in the Cross area of Mineral County my entire life and have done so because of the peace and quiet of the small community. However, over the past months, things have changed, and the reason is the windmills on the mountain across from my home.

The windmills cause an extremely loud disturbance to the point that lying down at night to have a good night’s sleep is impossible. I recently attended a county commission meeting, to see what the commissioners could do to help the Cross residents with the noise from the windmills. The three commissioners showed no interest in helping with this problem. One in particular spoke to a relative and said, “You wanted the windmills, now live with them.”

I personally did not want the windmills in the county. Prior to the approval of the windmill project and the construction, I do not remember hearing anything or reading newspaper reports concerning how much noise would be produced by the windmills. I can verify there is noise from the windmills, and it has ruined my way of life in my home, out in the yard and even in the garage with the radio playing. I name all three areas because the noise of the windmills can be heard anywhere on my property. For those living near railroad tracks, I agree there is a time to become adjusted to the noise of passing trains. The sound from the windmills is like having a train come through the middle of my house for seven or eight hours straight.

On another comparison subject, the smell emitted by what was called the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company was one to be tolerated. Those living in Luke, Westernport and Piedmont did tolerate the smell because the paper factory that created the unpleasant odor was the company that sent paychecks to many homes in the Tri Towns. That odor put the food on their plates and a roof over their heads.

Edison Mission, the owners of the Pinnacle Wind Farm, has nothing to do with whether my family eats or has suitable housing, so there is no reason for me to tolerate the noise from the windmills.

Dave Friend and Jim Cookman, top people with US WindForce, the developers of the wind farm, visited in this area to gain support for the windmills. They have been contacted about the noise factor and their response is that it is now a problem for Edison Mission. If that is the case, why do they continue to be the spokespeople for windmills at advisory meetings?

Then on the subject of windmills creating a green environment for the area, the comment I have about that is the only thing green the developers and owners are interested in the kind they fold and put in their pockets.

I was told by Edison Mission that they knew the Mitsubishi wind turbines were a lot louder than the ones that are normally used. In addition, surely there were noise studies conducted prior to the plans to build the windmills on Pinnacle, but the company installed them anyway. Everyone talks of how quiet other wind farms are, but that is only if a person stands directly beneath them, where there is little noise. Further away from the windmills, there is noise as we can hear in Cross.

I feel like the county commissioners should not have allowed US WindForce to place these noisy wind turbines so near to private homes. They and the Public Service Commission have ruined the lives of those residing near the Pinnacle Wind Farm. I was told the windmills would shut down during the night until a way was found to correct the noise. This has not happened.

How does the wind farm think they are protecting the environment by clear-cutting over 2 miles of timber to erect 23 noisy windmills? I understand additional wind farms could be built in Mineral County Those that may live near them are in for a real treat, that is if they want to get a good night’s sleep. Better yet, get all the sleep you can now, because you will not be able to if any future windmills are built close to your house. With a situation like this, causing disruption and unsettling problems with quality of life, something must be done.

One more thing, I have lived with the deposit of sludge from NewPage in the ground near my home, and this has been ongoing for 30 years. The sludge is at least 100 feet deep over many acres, with the possibility of ruining the water supply.

Gary Braithwaite

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/01/05/turbine-noise-mars-quality-of-life/