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Sutton resident asks PSB to curb Sheffield wind noise

A Sutton resident and longtime opponent of First Wind’s Sheffield wind farm has filed a Request for Relief from wind turbine noise to the Vermont Public Service Board.

In his letter, Paul Brouha, who lives on Queen Elizabeth Farm Lane in Sutton states, “Using Vermont Wind’s own data: the reports demonstrate that wind turbine noise regularly exceeds the 30 dBA Leg (1) indoor standard” in Brouha’s residence.

Brouha said Monday afternoon that he filed the request on Friday with the PSB in Montpelier. Brouha said the company is not complying with noise standards established as a condition of their permit by the PSB, and he wants whatever changes it takes to ensure that continued operation will be in compliance. Brouha said solutions could include shutting down some of the wind towers, repositioning some of the structures.

He said he previously asked the PSB to send qualified experts to his property in Sutton to conduct noise compliance measurements. The PSB refused and Brouha hired the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse. According to Brouha’s letter to the PSB, the experts reviewed the quarterly reports for the Sheffield wind farm and the data on which they are based and measured the noise at his residence. The results, Brouha said, show noise levels regularly exceed the allowable noise levels set by the PSB as a condition of the Certificate of Public Good.

According to Brouha, the indoor standard set by the PSB as a condition of Vermont Wind’s CPG is 30 dBA and that his consultants can demonstrate the indoor noise level regularly exceeds the PSB standard.

Brouha noted Monday that the wind company never came to his property to measure indoor noise attenuation from outdoor measurements of wind levels. Instead, according to Brouha, the company took measurements taken at the girl’s dormitory at the King Georg School up the road from his residence and extrapolated those noise levels to calculate the outside noise level on Brouha’s property and to calculate the amount the noise level would be attenuated when measured inside Brouha’s home with the windows open and with the windows closed.

John Lamontagne, director of Communications at First Wind, said Monday afternoon that his firm does not ordinarily comment on pending litigation. He added, however, that all of Vermont Wind’s noise measurements have demonstrated Vermont Wind is in full compliance with the requirements of its Certificate of Public Good.

In January, Brouha filed a civil suit in Caledonia Superior Court requesting that the Sheffield wind project be shut down becuase “the nuisance created by the defendants’ operation of the Sheffield Wind Project has caused significant harm and damage to Plaintiff, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, discomfort and inconvenience, loss of the use and enjoyment of Plaintiff’s property, and a reduction in the value of Plaintiff’s property,” reads the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that Brouha is bothered night and day by the sound, sight and lights of the 420-foot-tall, 2.5-megawatt turbines.

At the time Lamontagne said, “The Sheffield Wind project was exhaustively reviewed by state officials during the development of the project, and since it was built, it has cleared every sound and environmental test that has been conducted with flying colors. The project has always been in compliance with the permit it was granted by the state.”