KEYSER, W.Va. – A West Virginia woman who says she’s suffered physically and mentally from turbine vibration at Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage on Green Mountain is suing to have the operations shut down.
Anna Bell Saville lives about 1.5 miles from the site and contends she’s lost the ability to enjoy her home and property. She sued Pinnacle Wind LLC, formerly Pinnacle Wind Force LLC, and its parent company, Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison Mission Group, in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg on Oct. 1.
The 23 turbines on Green Mountain create low-frequency pulsation noise and vibration that is irritating, annoying and “at times, severely debilitating, causing core pulsations,” her complaint said.
The sound, vibrations and “light flicker” are so intense that they cause anxiety, tinnitus, and mental and emotional distress that often force her to leave home, Saville said.
Saville wants a federal judge to issue an injunction shutting down the turbines and is demanding reimbursement for lost wages and medical expenses. Saville also wants unspecified compensation for the annoyance.
Vice President Charlie Parnell said Edison Mission Group won’t comment on litigation, except to say it “strongly denies the allegations being made against the project, and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
No hearings have been scheduled.
In a separate case, a Charleston attorney has filed 23 federal lawsuits on behalf of 38 Keyser residents against the wind farm, also alleging mental and physical health problems as well as loss in the value of their homes. Saville’s name is not included on the list of Keyser residents involved in the federal lawsuit.
Defendants in the Charleston suits were listed as Pinnacle Wind LLC, owned by subsidiary and affiliate of Southern California Edison Mission, Mission Wind Pinnacle Inc. and Edison International.
Like Saville, Keyser residents are also asking for a permanent injunction and seeking reimbursement for annoyance and any medical expenses related to its operation. Residents are additionally seeking compensatory damages for past and future personal injuries, annoyance, inconvenience and the loss in value of the properties.
“Pinnacle strongly denies the allegations being made against its wind energy project,” said Parnell, vice president of public affairs for Edison Mission Energy/Midwest Generation, in September. “Further, Pinnacle takes seriously its role as a responsible member of the Mineral County community and has worked with the turbine manufacturer to develop and install equipment which reduced the noise from the wind turbines.”
Last year, louvers were installed on all 23 of the wind turbines at Pinnacle, according to Parnell.
“By all accounts they had a dramatic impact on the noise of the wind turbines,” said Parnell.
The upgrade was prompted by a separate noise complaint filed with the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Last year, the PSC dismissed a complaint filed by resident Gary Braithwaite in regard to the noise and flicker from the wind turbines. The PSC dismissed the complaint because the sitting order does not contain material terms and conditions related to noise or flicker and because the agency does not possess the statutory authority to address the issues raised by Braithwaite, according to the commission’s final order.
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