Everyone is in cahoots!
In meetings that are closed to the public, Fairhaven town officials, Fairhaven Wind LLC, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Clean Energy Center are discussing a mitigation plan for the turbines.
The reason for this mitigation plan is that the DEP found multiple-measured exceedances of the state noise regulation caused by the turbines over the course of a year from August 2012 to June 2013.
On the 10 nights over a year, (just 10!) that the DEP tested, they found the turbines violated state noise regulations on five out of those 10 nights. They did not test at all in the months of December, January or February. They only tested between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. and they did not test in the rain.
Despite the promise by Laurel Carlson of the DEP to the residents of the town to shut down the turbines if they were found to be too loud, the DEP has refused to act on behalf of the affected neighbors.
The Fairhaven Board of Health initially did the right thing and called for the turbines to be shut down from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in order to give some relief to the neighbors. They later revoked that decision under considerable pressure from Fairhaven Wind LLC and its various and sundry supporters.
Fairhaven Wind has subsequently come up with a mitigation plan that is based on faulty logic and math. They claim that the turbines are only too loud under the specific conditions and at the specific times that they were tested.
For example, the DEP never tested in the rain, (because the instruments can’t be used outdoors in the rain). To Fairhaven Wind, that means that the wind turbines are never too loud in the rain. Any intelligent and logical person knows that is a false conclusion. The only thing it tells us is that they didn’t test in the rain.
In fact, many of the neighbors have told me that the turbines are the loudest in the rain.
Fairhaven Wind also wants us to believe that the turbines only need to be turned off between midnight and 4 a.m. because that is the only time the DEP found violations.
Between midnight and 4 a.m. is the only time period that the DEP tested. It doesn’t mean that those hours are the only hours that it is too loud – it only means that those were the hours they looked.
Based on the actual test results, logic and statistics, if the turbines were monitored 24 hours a day, it is likely that we would find the turbines in violation at all times of day, all times of year, and in all types of weather and wind direction.
If the town of Fairhaven accepts Fairhaven Wind’s faulty logic and math as the basis for mitigation, they are signing on to continue to harm some of the town’s residents. Moreover, they are agreeing to do so in a process that does not include the affected turbine neighbors, and that process is clearly being driven by those who stand to gain the most – Fairhaven Wind LLC.
Before making any more decisions regarding the turbines, the town could, and should, make a genuine effort to listen to those who are harmed, and to do due diligence by seeking truly independent expert acoustical advice on behalf of the neighbors.
That would be the fair and right thing to do.
Louise Barteau lives in Fairhaven.
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