BRISTOL – A coalition of anti-wind farm development groups from all six New England states drafted a letter late last week and sent it to New England governors attending a conference in Canada this weekend.
The letter, addressed “Communities to Governors and Premiers” at the 37th annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in La Malbaie, Quebec, on Sunday and Monday, is signed by hundreds of “victims” of wind power projects and groups opposing them.
It asks the governors to “fix wind’s problems before creating more,” citing claims of noise-related health problems from homeowners living near wind farms in New England, as well as potential environmental issues from wind farms, such as the effect on animals living near modern multiple-story wind turbines.
“We are asking (the governors) to take clear, compelling, and compassionate steps to solve the problems they have created by supporting the deployment of ‘big wind’ in our region,” said Windwise Massachusetts president Virginia Irvine.
“These projects are happening in no small part because of the legislative requirements and generous subsidies for developers pushed by governors and supported by elected officials. Those officials need to take responsibility for what has happened to individuals and communities as a result.”
The letter is said to be signed by physicians, a state poet laureate, victims of already-built big wind turbines, neighbors of areas threatened by big wind projects, groups grappling with wind energy development, and individuals from throughout New England.
New Hampshire WindWatch president Lori Lerner said her group’s 1,600 members were among the groups that quickly joined together to send the letter, as groups opposing new wind power development were able to agree on the wording of the letter on Friday.
“The wind issue is not just a New Hampshire problem, it’s a global problem that deserves the immediate attention of our government,” Lerner said. “We’re all fighting the same fight.”
Lerner said New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan “has been very responsive” to WindWatch’s appeals regarding complaints about the Groton Wind Project, which is run by Iberdrola Renewables of Spain, as well as proposals by Iberdrola and EBD Renewables of Portugal to build new projects in the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain region.
WindWatch isn’t pleased that legislation asking for a moratorium on new wind projects in the state was defeated earlier this year by legislators, many of whom cited concerns of business groups over the potential for job creation from the proposed projects.
NH WindWatch is also worried that the problems of other states could occur in New Hampshire. Stories of health problems in other states include that of Luann Therrien, a neighbor to the Sheffield, Vt. wind project, who says her family has been suffering health problems – headaches, nausea, sleep disruption – from the noise of the project’s turbines for about a year.
“There are literally people trapped in their own homes who have been lied to by the wind developers,” said Larry Goodman of Hebron, a member of WindWatch. “There is a growing body of evidence that these turbines projects present a substantial health hazard.”