August 13, 2014
Letters, Massachusetts

Turbine mitigation plan doesn’t protect residents

Letter to the editor Turbine mitigation plan doesn't protect residents | August 13, 2014 |

I am writing in response to the article in last week’s edition of The Advocate titled, “Turbine complaints decline: Residents may have just given up.”

It is important to understand that the turbine mitigation plan that was adopted in a 2-1 vote of the Fairhaven Board of Health last year is so limited in nature that it cannot (and does not) protect the town’s residents from harm.

This “mitigation” plan pretends that the turbines only create noise that is harmful between 12-4 a.m., only from November to April, only when wind speeds are below 7 meters per second and never in the rain. And even under those conditions, only one turbine is ever turned off.

It is absurd to think that this level of mitigation is the reason for fewer complaints.

Anyone who lives here understands that the wind can, and does, blow hard in all months of the year and at all hours of the day and night. And it can certainly blow hard in the rain.

Higher wind speeds produce higher power output from the turbines. Higher power output creates the increased sound energy that causes harm to those who are forced to live too close to the turbines.

More likely indeed is that our town residents who live near the turbines see no point in registering complaints that are never answered. What is more remarkable is that any of them continue to do so given the lack of action on their behalf.

I ran for Board of Health last spring because I had hoped to properly respond to the families whose 714 complaints over two years had gone unanswered.

And even though I lost the election, I have never stopped believing that the families and individuals who are being harmed by the excessive noise of the turbines both need and deserve our help despite pressure from the turbine developers and the state’s political agenda.

After the findings of multiple measured exceedences of the state noise limits by the state Department of Environmental Protection, our Board of Health and the Board of Selectmen had an opportunity to demand real relief for the town’s citizens.

Instead, the so-called “mitigation” negotiations, which took place behind closed doors, were driven by outside political and financial interests. The public was not allowed to attend, much less give input into the process.

At the very least our residents deserve the same relief recently granted the residents of Falmouth by Barnstable Superior Court Judge Muse. (In November of 2013, Judge Muse granted a temporary injunction that shut down Falmouth’s Wind 1 and Wind 2, from 7 p.m. to 7a.m. and on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s of that year.)

That way they could at least get a good night’s sleep and occasionally enjoy the same peace and quiet that most of us who live here in Fairhaven get to experience all the time.

Louise Barteau


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