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Fairhaven Board of Health accepts turbine mitigation plan

FAIRHAVEN – The Board of Health has voted to officially accept a mitigation plan submitted by the owner of the town’s two turbines.

In November, Fairhaven Wind LLC submitted a plan to shut down one turbine during some adverse winter conditions in an effort to not exceed state noise regulations.

The Board of Health voted 2-1 to accept the proposal on Monday. Board Chairman Jeannine Lopes and member Peter DeTerra voted for the plan, and member Barbara Acksen voted against.

Acksen said Tuesday she did not agree with the proposal because it was “basically the same” as the one proposed in November, which she also opposed.

“I do not think the sampling is adequate” to support the plan, she said.

Neither Lopes nor DeTerra responded to two requests each for comment.

The accepted plan will shut down the southern turbine for four hours on nights from midnight to 4 a.m. during adverse conditions between Nov. 15 and through the end of April.

Wind would constitute adverse weather if it is from the northwest, northeast or south-southwest; when it is moving slower than seven meters per second; and when there is no precipitation.

The decision to accept the plan was a welcome one to turbine owner Gordon Deane, he said Tuesday.

“I’m very pleased it has been accepted,” he said.

He noted that Fairhaven Wind had been adhering to the plan for almost a month before the Board of Health voted to accept it.

That has resulted in the South turbine being shut down three different times overnight due to weather, according to Fairhaven Health Agent Patricia Fowle.

Louise Barteau, who has opposed the turbines based on concern for the health of their neighbors, said she was “discouraged and dismayed” by the Board of Health’s decision.

“This does not address the sleep needs of human beings, especially school-aged children,” she said. “To shut the turbines off between midnight and 4 a.m. is inadequate.”

Linda Therrien, who supports the turbines, said she was “fine with” the plan.

“We want them to run and we want them to run in compliance,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to be suffering but we do want the turbines to operate.”