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Our View: Data shows need for action on wind turbines in Fairhaven

State testing shows that the two industrial turbines on Arsene Street in Fairhaven at times violate state noise regulations.

It doesn’t happen all the time and testing is not finished, but this news is certainly enough for town officials to take notice – and to take action.

The state Department of Environmental Protection took 24 tests at five locations around the turbines – based on the preponderance of complaints – and found excessive noise five times at three of the locations: three times at Little Bay Road, and once each at Peirce’s Point and Teal Circle.

The DEP hasn’t been able to finish the testing because some of the conditions under which they hope to test have yet to occur when a tester was available, but the five instances of the violations yield at least one interesting common characteristic: the wind is coming out of the north.

In Falmouth, where the turbines were constructed by the town, rather than a private developer as in Fairhaven, the price tag of tearing them down is so distasteful to officials and residents they have tried turning them off at night rather than pay millions to take them down.

The legal implications of such action in Fairhaven are different, as there is a private-municipal contract involved. There’s no way to know if any more violations will arise, or whether completed testing will show the problem is better, worse or any different at all from current assumptions.

At the very least, however, officials need to approach the developer and start the good-faith process of curtailing turbine operation when the conditions that create a violation of state regulations occur.

Another Standard-Times report on Wednesday pointed out that environmentalists are concerned that residents within 30 miles of the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset are adversely affected by emissions. Plant operators have spent more than a billion in mitigation and millions in penalties.

Now with proof of noise-level violations on Arsene Street, it’s time for something to be done.