DANVILLE – A court battle regarding noise complaints against turbines in the California Ridge Wind Farm would seem inevitable, according to an attorney for Invenergy.
Vermilion County board members listened at Tuesday’s meeting as Michael Blazer, an environmental attorney for the wind turbine company, revealed some preliminary details of a study into the complaints, which began in February.
Blazer, in answering questions from board members, said he believes Invenergy will probably be sued – regardless of the study’s final results, which are expected at the board’s January meeting.
“This is going to be resolved one of two ways,” he said, adding either before the company is sued or after.
The Invenergy California Ridge wind farm – which includes 134 turbines, 104 in Vermilion County – officially began operations at the end of December 2012.
The study is the result of complaints voiced by the Miles and Hartke families, both of whom live in the Hope area near two wind turbines. The Hartkes, who have the nearest turbine 1,665 feet away from their home, contend the turbine causes sleep deprivation and health problems for parents and children.
The Hartkes began to voice their complaints about the turbines in January and in the past have compared the sound produced to a semi running outside their window.
In the preliminary study results announced Tuesday, Blazer said it has been determined that the Invenergy turbines are not in violation of state decibel limits in seven of the nine octave bands for residential property at night. Those limits are the lowest under regulations by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
For the two other bands, preliminary results indicate there is a 95 percent probability that Invenergy’s turbines are not in violation of those limits.
Two experts – one originally selected by Invenergy and a second hired at the request of the Hartke and Miles families – are handling the study, which began in August. The study, however, is being conducted on property adjacent to the property of each family because neither has allowed the experts on their land as of July 29.
Blazer said while the initial months provided little data with regard to noise by the turbines, later conditions in October and November allowed for “enormous” amounts of data to be collected.
Board member Kevin Green of District 2 questioned the preliminary results.
“Just because they are within regulation doesn’t mean sound waves are not impacting people,” he told Blazer.
Blazer acknowledged that the current noise limits for the state were written before the age of wind turbines – a fact, he added, is a concern among some.
Family members from both the Hartke and Miles families made references to the disturbance by low frequency sounds caused by the turbines. Blazer, during his comments to the board, said he gave the Hartke family attorney a copy of the study Tuesday afternoon and had not seen mention of low frequency problems in the complaints filed since February.
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