Patricia Aho, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, wrote a July 3 BDN OpEd entitled, “What the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is doing right”.
Our experience on Vinalhaven, as neighbors of industrial wind turbines, contradicts important parts of Aho’s story.
Noise from the wind turbines upset nearby residents as soon as the turbines started in November 2009. By spring neighbors appealed to DEP for involvement establishing noise violations by the Fox Islands Wind. Aho avers, “The public has a right to be part of the difficult and complex questions surrounding environmental concerns.” On Vinalhaven, we had to do it ourselves.
Proving wind turbine noise violations was complicated and costly. Some neighbors chased sound data in the woods in the middle of cold nights because the wind turbine owner refused to cooperate.
Once we proved violations had occurred, the DEP was then willing to enforce and would have if Aho had not stepped in. When Aho directly intervened, she overturned years of careful work, leading to litigation that is slowly unwinding in Maine Superior Court.
In her OpEd, Aho chides the press and affirms her support for staff “who have my utmost respect,” but Aho’s involvement on Vinalhaven seems to have been a principal reason for the resignation of at least one top regulatory official.
On July 15, our complaint will finally be heard in Maine Superior Court after nearly four years of expense and effort on our part. The petition in Maine Superior Court is publicly available at the website: http://fiwn.wordpress.com.