ARKWRIGHT – Charlotte resident Joni Riggle is making the rounds, approaching every area that will soon be erecting a wind farm and trying to appeal to their rational sides.
She was in Charlotte, and then at a Ball Hill Wind Farm meeting, before stopping at the Arkwright Town Board meeting earlier this week to ask the board what they planned on doing when the inevitable complaints about the wind farms were made known, citing issues made public after the implementation of the Jericho Rise Wind Farm.
“I had received a letter from somebody that lives in the Jericho Rise Wind Farm that is in the paper, actually, in the OBSERVER, and it’s an EDPR project, and I have another article from the town officials there …” said Riggle.
“Recently, they’ve had a lot of noise complaints, 50 decibel noise limits, and just because (the project) complies with (the decibel limit), it doesn’t mean that it’s not noisy,” she added.
She then went on to describe noises akin to “low-flying planes” and quotes town officials stating the noise was worse than they had imagined, and the health effects were unbearable.
“I (also) have an acoustician who was at the Shirley Wind Farm, and that wind farm was declared a human health hazard because of the infrasound levels,” Riggle claimed. “EDPR says its a non-issue, they don’t have to measure it, it’s not going to be a problem, and I would disagree with that. They’re acoustician that was used here for Arkwright says that to prevent adverse health affects, the noise limit should be 39.5 decibels.
“So, I’m questioning, if they’re looking out for the town’s welfare, why would they allow 50 decibels? Kevin Sigourney, he’s a science teacher from Jericho Rise that wrote us, and he was pro-wind until they put them around his house, and he’s actually got his house for sale now.
“There will be people with noise complaints. This is not accounting for the low frequency sound. Fifty (decibels) is too high. You can look around the world, around New York state, around the nation – wind farms of 50 decibel levels will have people that will complain they’re sleep deprived, (have) headaches…
“I just would like to ask this board, what will you do when the wind company measures and says its okay, it’s within 50 decibels, even though that can be manipulated at times to make it look that way, but it doesn’t account for the infrasound, the low frequency noise that causes health problems that negatively affects the human body, causes nausea, vertigo, different things like that, headaches, hypertension. What will you do to mitigate that? What recourse will people have that don’t want this surrounding their homes? Infrasound can travel a mile and a half. The Shirley Wind Farm, people abandoned their homes and mile and half away and that has gone on throughout the world.
“So, I’m asking you, as a town board, what will you do to address that issue? Will the wind company turn those turbines off? How will you address that? Do you think it’s fair, Mr. Norton?” Riggle asked.
At that point, her tirade was cut off at the three-minute mark by town Councilman Roger Cardot, who asked, “Are you a town resident?”
Riggle confirmed that no, she was not a town resident, which basically sealed the deal for the town board, who asked her to please sit down.
She did not sit down, though, and continued to try to speak her piece, but the board was not having it.
“We have a contract and within our contract and within our town law, there is a whole process (about how) the testing has to be done, and the way it is mitigated. Have you read that?” Cardot asked Riggle.
She said she had, but stated that the certain turbine requests had been ignored.
“That just tells me they’re not looking out for the welfare of our community! That’s not a priority; it’s all about money and profit!” Riggle exclaimed.
“Thank you very much, goodbye,” Cardot said.
Town Supervisor Frederic Norton tried making light of the tense situation, stating that compared to where he grew up, and his current living situation, an alleged hum from the wind turbines is nothing.
“… I lived in the village of Denmore, and I grew up 150 feet from Delaware Avenue, and if you’re familiar with Buffalo, Delaware Avenue is the major artery to downtown Buffalo from Niagara Falls, and so when you talk about noise to me, I have a different attitude,” Norton joked.
“Also, when we bought (land) here and I built our house, we put in a pond, and in that pond, in the summer, and the spring, are some highly sexual frogs,” Norton laughed alongside the rest of the town hall.
“And then of course, when you’re talking about noise in October and September, hunting season, you sort of feel like you’re at the banks of Normandy during the invasion. So, I don’t have a very good attitude when it comes to living with noise,” Norton said, while hinting there are possibly much worse and closer noises to have to deal with daily compared to the low, potentially occasional hum of a wind turbine.