A case brought against the wind project in Sheffield by Sutton homeowner Paul Brouha continues with an order filed in recent weeks requiring Vermont Wind to share data and sound monitoring results with Brouha.
Brouha has contended almost since the Vermont Wind, LLC industrial wind plant became operational that it has exceeded the permitted noise levels allowed in its Certificate for Public Good (CPG) which allows it to operate by the state of Vermont.
After fighting for an independent analysis, Brouha’s complaint before the Vermont Public Utility Commission (PUC) led to findings that the plant may be in violation at times and in some locations of the noise levels it is allowed to emit as part of its power generation.
Testing was conducted through the Vermont Department of Public Service in the spring of 2018.
One of the documents recently filed in the public record as part of the ongoing noise complaint legal challenge is a five-page document containing the testimony of Payam Ashtiani on behalf of the public service document, breaking down a larger report on the wind testing done for the state in the case.
In his report to the PUC, which has authority over the permit allowing the plant to operate, Ashtiani wrote, “Based on analysis of the gathered data over two campaigns and … measurements previously carried out by the Department, the evidence points to a violation of the CPG for this wind electric generation facility during the windows-open condition.”
Under a recently modified schedule agreed to by all parties in the case, the Department was to provide narrow band data and audio files to the PUC for the fall monitoring period which has gathered more data on noise levels.
On Jan. 24, Vermont Wind and Brouha will both file testimony and exhibits in the case, the record shows.
Dates for discovery in the case will continue through the end of April under the schedule, and a Proposal for Decision by the hearing officer is set for issuance by the end of June, with parties having until July 8 to comment on the proposed decision for how to move forward.
Several motions in the case were filed during December and are on the PUC website, including on Dec. 10, a motion filed by attorneys for Vermont Wind, LLC.
In early December, the PUC issued an order granting a motion to compel the production of data from the Department of Public Service.
“In this Order, we direct that the full data set from the fall monitoring campaign be provided within 10 days of the date of this Order,” the PUC ruling issued on Dec. 5 states.
According to the public record, the Department, on Oct. 5, filed the sound monitoring report for the spring 2018 monitoring campaign.
“Mr. Brouha states in his Nov. 7 reply that the Department and Vermont Wind have refused to provide him with the data collected in connection with the fall monitoring campaign,” the recent order states. “The Department and Vermont Wind respond that our previous orders require them to provide only the data underlying a final report.”
The order goes on, “Because the data from the fall monitoring campaign were inconclusive, they argue, there was no final report and they are not required to produce the collected data. The Department and Vermont Wind cite the lack of probative value of the data, the risk of confusion, and the burden associated with analyzing the data as additional reasons for not providing the data to Mr. Brouha.”
“Apart from those concerns, the Department states that it has no objection to providing the data from the fall monitoring campaign to Mr. Brouha,” the order states.
The PUC order continues, “Our previous orders require the consultant to provide electronic copies of all collected data, not just the data relied on in a final report. The Department states that it does not object to providing the data and any burden of reviewing the data falls on Mr. Brouha.”
“Mr. Brouha should be permitted to determine for himself whether he agrees with the Department and Vermont Wind as to the probative value of the data,” the order states.
The order required that the information be released to Brouha by Dec. 15.
“Vermont Wind is directed to make all meteorological (and other) data for the project during the period commencing six months before and ending six months after the monitoring available to Mr. Brouha,” the order states, giving the company 10 days at the time to meet the order’s requirements.
Efforts to obtain comment from Brouha’s attorney, Denise Anderson, and from Vermont Wind’s attorney, Geoffrey Hand, were not successful by press time on Wednesday.
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