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Association of Towns urge state officials to consider health impacts of low-frequency noise

The New York State Association of Towns wants state officials to assess potential health impacts of low-frequency noise produced by wind turbines when reviewing BP’s Cape Vincent Wind Project.

In a brief comment to the state Public Service Commission, the association asked that the PSC and state Siting Board “consider the health impacts of low frequency noise associated with living in proximity to industrial wind turbines,” citing a noise study commissioned by the Wisconsin PSC.

The infrasound and low-frequency noise study report for the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County, Wis., was released in December and prompted Wisconsin’s Towns Association to adopt a resolution calling for a statewide wind moratorium.

In the report, several sound experts – including BP Wind Energy’s noise consultant for the 124-turbine Cape Vincent Wind Farm, Hessler Associates Inc., Haymarket, Va. – recommended that more in-depth impact studies be conducted.

Inspired by this movement in Wisconsin, Cape Vincent’s Town Council passed a resolution in February asking the New York State PSC to halt “any discussion, consideration or determination” regarding wind turbine noise impacts until the effects of infrasound and low frequency noise are properly assessed.

Lori Mithen-DeMasi, counsel to the NYS Association of Towns, declined to comment on whether the association would consider adopting a similar resolution.

BP had previously dismissed the findings of Wisconsin’s noise study, despite Hessler Associates’ involvement.

In its preliminary scoping statement for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm, BP stated that “the actual finding of the Wisconsin PSC study was that the levels of infrasound from the project turbines were extremely low and most likely similar to or equivalent to the natural environmental sound level at those frequencies inside of each tested residence.”

Furthermore, the wind developer argued that it is “not possible to predict or calculate the infrasonic sound emissions from any wind turbine.”