December 4, 2013

Waubra Foundation attacks EPA

Shannon Twomey | The Weekly Times | December 3, 2013 |

The Waubra Foundation labels the South Australian Environment Protection Authority corrupt and is calling for an external inquiry.

The anti-wind farm group attacked SA EPA over its Waterloo Wind Farm Noise Study findings which were conducted during April and June. The results were released on November 26.

The study found the Waterloo Wind Farm meets relevant SA and international standards and there was no evidence linking the noise from the wind farm to adverse impacts on residents.

But in a letter sent yesterday to South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Waubra Foundation chief executive Sarah Laurie said the EPA staff involved in the study were deliberately attempting to corrupt the data and mislead residents.

Ms Laurie’s letter reads: “We are particularly concerned that SA EPA staff have used irregular practices to collect acoustic data which are different to the protocols specified in the SA EPA Wind Farm Noise Guidelines.”

“We think this has been done in order to ‘find’ that Waterloo wind development is compliant with the noise regulations when in fact it may not be.”

Ms Laurie also wrote: “We are aware of at least two locations where the acoustic data was collected with microphones underneath large gum trees, which is not in accordance with the SA EPA’s own noise guidelines.”

The letter concludes with five “necessary actions” that Ms Laurie has urged from the Premier including an immediate external public inquiry into the SA EPA to investigate breaches of integrity, respect and accountability.

SA EPA’s operations director of science, assessment and planning Peter Dolan said noise from the Waterloo Wind Farm did not breach EPA guidelines.

He said infrasound levels from the wind farm were below the internationally threshold for perception and in many cases analyses of audio records and data were unable to demonstrate associations with events described in noise diaries.

Ms Laurie’s letter was also sent to South Australian opposition leader Stephen Marshall, Greens MLC Mark Parnell, SA Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Clean Energy Regulator Chloe Munro.

South Australia’s Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter said today the EPA had operated independently.

“The EPA initiated an independent noise study at Waterloo Wind Farm as a result of concerns expressed by residents. The New South Wales EPA conducted a technical peer review of the methodology, data analysis and reporting and found the study to be of a high technical standard,” he said.

“The EPA has operated independently of all parties throughout the study, has conducted its own analyses of the information and has drawn its own conclusions from the study.

“The EPA is currently discussing privacy issues with the participants of the study in order to make data available to the public and others who may wish to undertake their own analysis.”

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