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West Virginia PSC dismisses turbine noise complaint; Residents can take issue to circuit court 

Credit:  Elaine Blaisdell, Cumberland Times-News | times-news.com 6 July 2012 ~~

KEYSER, W.Va. – An additional complaint about the noise level of the wind turbines at Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage on Green Mountain has been filed and dismissed by the Public Service Commission.

The complaint was filed by resident Gary Braithwaite on June 27. In his complaint to the PSC, Braithwaite cites “constant noise and flicker” and suggests the wind turbines be shut down until the noise can be stopped.

The PSC decided to dismiss both Braithwaite’s and his brother Richard Braithwaite’s complaint that was made in February, noting that the allegations made against Pinnacle were very similar.

In his complaint, Richard Braithwaite said the noise exceeds 60 decibels in his home and exceeds 80 decibels outside. However, in a April 9 response to the PSC regarding Richard Braithwaite’s complaint, Pinnacle contended that it is physically impossible for the project to cause sound levels in excess of 80 decibels at Richard Braithwaite’s residence, which is located 3,790 feet from the nearest turbine. Pinnacle also questioned whether Richard Braithwaite possessed the proper equipment and expertise to perform those measurements.

In April, Edison Mission Group installed a noise reduction system on one of the wind turbines. Though the PSC did not order Pinnacle to install the system on all of the turbines, the company has decided on its own to do that in July at a cost of about $500,000, according to the State Journal.

“The louvers arrived on Friday and will be installed on all 22 wind turbines and are expected to be installed by the end of this month,” said Charley Parnell, vice president of public affairs for EMG.

The louvers will likely reduce the noise by 7 dBA, according to PSC documents.

“Based on concerns expressed by some area residents, we performed extensive analysis of the noise from these turbines,” said Parnell in an April press release. “We believe Pinnacle is operating in a manner that meets the requirements of our permits, but taking additional steps to mitigate noise is an important part of our commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen of the communities in which we operate. We look forward to many years of providing clean energy generated by Pinnacle, and we intend to work in good faith to address local concerns.”

Richard Braithwaite also complained that the proper repairs were not made to Tasker and Pinnacle roads in his February complaint with the PSC. The resurfacing of Pinnacle Road has been completed and resurfacing on Tasker Road has begun and will be complete by the end of next week, according to Parnell.

Should the Braithwaites de-cide to pursue the matter further, they could file a nuisance claim in circuit court, according to the PSC document. Gary Braithwaite, along with 26 families, have hired a lawyer and are discussing the possibility of filing a suit for damages, according to the State Journal.

Source:  Elaine Blaisdell, Cumberland Times-News | times-news.com 6 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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