The sound compliance testing underway in Fairhaven already shows that the wind turbines are substantially out of compliance most of the time, in most locations. They have been operating illegally since they went up a year and a half ago. Most importantly, Fairhaven Wind LLC knew it.
In his “open letter” of December 2011, Gordon Deane described Fairhaven Wind as the private part of a “partnership” with the town of Fairhaven. Sumul Shah, Jim Sweeney and Deane have been operating a sound nuisance illegally ever since, depriving residence of sleep, the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and their property value. It is time to reassess this so-called partnership.
Shah told the town that his turbines would be no louder than leaves rustling in the wind. He assured residence that these Chinese-made turbines would be much quieter than the ones in Falmouth. He promised to provide mitigations if turbine noise caused problems for nearby residents.
The DEP results shows conclusively that Shah’s turbines are louder than wind in the leaves – much louder! Just as residents have said all along. Moreover, testing shows they are frequently louder than the turbines in Falmouth, too.
Some months ago, Peter Deterra asked Shah to appear before the Board of Health to discuss a mitigation plan in the face of mounting public complaints. Instead of appearing as requested, Shah sent a 15-page document saying that no mitigations were actually possible. His reason:
“As the Board of Health, it is your responsibility to separate legitimate complaints, which could be related to a violation of local or state standards, from complaints which are merely a back-door attempt to implement a tiny minority opinion with respect to construction and operation of the turbines.”
In other words, Shah was inferring that many of the complainants are liars, issuing complaints for political purposes, and that he could do nothing to abate the painful noise pollution until the Board of Health determined which complaints were bogus.
Contrary to Shah’s allegations, the DEP test sites were specifically chosen based on which locations generated the most complaints. Testing at these locations shows that these residents actually had perfectly good reason for complaining about the noise. The only bogus statements were Shah’s.
In Deane’s letter mentioned earlier, he claimed that, “There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.” In support, he cites the findings of the infamous Expert Panel assembled by DEP.
This is the same study that Dr. Raymond Hartman referred to as “junk science”. Notably, Hartman was the key witness for Massachusetts litigation against big tobacco and asbestos manufacturers because he is a recognized and highly regarded expert on what counts as good science versus bad.
Deane also mentions the expertise of Robert J. McCunney, who was on this “expert panel.” However, at the Wind Forum, McCunney himself admitted under questioning by Karen Isherwod that he has never examined a single patient who was affected by wind turbines. Nor has he has conducted any animal or human research related to turbines or infrasound. He is not an expert at all. Neither is Dora Mills, or the others on the panel; and certainly neither is Deane.
Karmen Krogh, a public health expert who has studied the effects of turbines on residents for many years, recently warned rural Ontario doctors in the journal “Canadian Family Physician.” Here is a genuinely expert opinion:
“Industrial wind turbines can harm human health if sited too close to residents. Harm can be avoided if IWTs are situated at an appropriate distance from humans. … The documented symptoms are usually stress disorder—type diseases acting via indirect pathways and can represent serious harm to human health.”
It is difficult to know if Shah and Deane are lying, or conspicuously ignorant about the health impacts caused when turbines are too close to people. In either case, they have flunked the most fundamental tests of partnership. They are neither reliable, nor trustworthy.
When the DEP announced that these turbines were well above the legal limits for noise, neither Shah nor Deane had the simple human decency to apologize for the harm they have been causing in Fairhaven for more than a year now. They flunked the decency test, too. With partners like these, who needs enemies?
Apparently, they expected the same consideration and respect that they have denied to people and officials in Fairhaven all these months. Thank goodness the selectmen had the courage to do what the terms of the contract allow and the law requires.
If Fairhaven Wind had listened to what the real experts were saying about putting turbines too close to people, instead of hoodwinking Fairhaven with nonsense and propaganda they could have spared everyone a lot of anguish – especially themselves.
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