CANTON – A Carthage woman has filed an administrative appeal with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection of the eight-turbine wind project on Canton Mountain.
Alice McKay Barnett, an anti–wind power advocate, submitted seven documents of supplemental evidence on July 17 that mostly concerns turbine noise adversely affecting health.
The DEP approved the nearly $50 million, eight-turbine Canton Mountain wind project in May. Canton Mountain Wind LLC is owned by Patriots Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass.
The Canton project is part of a larger plan to include similar wind projects in the adjacent towns of Dixfield and Carthage. Construction has already started on the Carthage project – Saddleback Ridge. It is a 34.2 megawatt, 12-turbine wind project that’s expected to be completed in 2015.
The Dixfield project, Timberwinds, is still in the early stage of development, according to Patriots Renewables’ website. The proposed project would consist of six to 12 turbines sited on Colonel Holman Ridge in Dixfield.
In her petition for review of final agency action against the DEP and Canton Mountain Wind LLC, Barnett writes that she objects to a ruling that the wind developer establish a toll-free complaint hotline designated to allow concerned citizens to call in noise-related complaints 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Barnett said she believes a complaint hotline like that should be in the hands of health officials instead of a wind developer. She cited Spruce Mountain Wind, Patriots Renewables’ 20 megawatt, 10-turbine wind project located in Woodstock.
She said that developer “is not responsible to collect data of complaints.” Barnett then cites and includes several examples of that, such as complaints by residents adversely impacted by SMW turbine noise and the developer’s control of noise by purchasing noise easements or making sound agreements with property owners.
“I request local health officials maintain a hotline (at the expense of the developer) as they know the local area and the citizens who reside in the impacted zone of industrial wind turbines,” Barnett stated in her petition.
“Local health officials could respond directly to complaints on hotline, and then ask county and state for help. Public health nurses continually work to improve the health of individuals, populations, cultures and communities. A public health nurse can enforce laws and regulation,” she stated.
Barnett also said the Maine Department of Environmental Health and the Center for Disease Control offered no help. She said wind turbine noise is a health issue and that the DEP and Patriots Renewables are not health experts.
She also asked to strike the word “expert” from a page in the Canton Mountain Wind permit, stating the firms listed are paid consultants not experts per the order of the Bower’s Mountain uphold of denial of the Champlain Wind permit on June 5.
Additionally, she named five people living in East Dixfield, Jay and Canton and within two miles of the Canton Mountain Wind turbines who have asked that no harm be done to their property.
She defined “harm” to include light pollution from turbine blade flicker and red flashing lights, audible wind turbulence noise levels, air turbulence, sound wave emissions (included but not limited to infrasound) disturbance or emanations of any kind of nature that are created in the ordinary course of operations of the Canton wind facility.
“They do not want diminished property value,” Barnett said.
Cynthia S. Bertocci, executive analyst with the Board of Environmental Protection, replied to Barnett’s appeal in a letter dated July 22.
Bertocci told Barnett that her timely appeal contains proposed supplemental evidence that will require a ruling from the board chairman, Robert A. Foley of Wells.
Following Foley’s ruling on the proposed supplemental evidence, the board will set a deadline for the filing of comments on the merits of the appeal and notify Barnet of the deadline.
Bertocci said information in Barnett’s appeal doesn’t appear in the DEP’s licensing record.
Per department rule, a respondent – defined as the licensee or anyone who submitted written comment on the application – can submit written comment on the admissibility of Barnett’s proposed supplemental evidence.
They can also offer proposed supplemental evidence in response to Barnett’s evidence and issues raised on appeal, Bertocci said. The respondent’s submission is due within 30 days of the date of the board’s written determination as to which of the appellant’s exhibits constitute proposed supplemental evidence.
Bertocci said the board may allow the record to be supplemented on appeal when it finds that the evidence offered is relevant and material and that:
* The person seeking to supplement the record has shown due diligence in bringing the evidence to the department at the earliest possible time.
* The evidence is newly discovered and by due diligence, could not have been discovered in time to be presented earlier in the licensing process.
Bertocci said the deadline for the licensee and anyone who submitted written comment on the application to comment on the admissibility of Barnett’s proposed supplemental evidence, is by 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21.
After Foley rules on the admissibility of Barnett’s evidence, the board will set the deadline to respond to the merits of her appeal.
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