Letter to Italy Town Clerk

Dear Ms. Trischler:

Please share this with the members of the Town Board, and please confirm receipt of this email.

My husband and I are in escrow for the purchase of 5100 Sunnyside Road in Italy. We also have owned, for 15 years, 110 acres of wild land on Lent Hill in Cohocton. We dearly love the Finger Lakes region, and hope some day to retire there. At present, due to jobs, we must live elsewhere, and so cannot attend the September 19 meeting in person to express our concerns about the wind projects proposed for Italy township.

My husband works for an environmental consulting company that is world-renowned (see www.esri.com). We are both very eager to support sustainable, renewable resource management and energy production. We were initially supportive of the wind project planned for Cohocton, but as we researched it and got more informed about it, we became very concerned that it would turn out to be a disaster--both for the town and also for us personally.

It is turning out to be exactly that. The turbines are badly engineered and break down constantly. The crews ruined the roads putting them in, and the town has had a terrible job and has generated a lot of pollution rebuilding them. The town inhabitants have divided along pro and con lines and many don't speak to each other any more. The people who live within earshot of the turbines hate them with a passion, and that includes many people who were very supportive at first. The wind isn't consistent, and the turbines are usually not producing at "capacity" although they are still very noisy. I could go on and on.

We have a small cabin and we spend many weeks there each year, contributing to wildlife management and also to the local economy with our groceries and other purchases. We also pay taxes! So even though we don't live there year-round, we are not just absentee vacationers who don't care about the community.

The turbines often keep us awake at night. The blades make the sound of a jet engine, and the gears and machinery (that turns the turbine into the wind) are very loud, making loud crashing booms and creaking and grinding noises. You can't just learn to tune the noise out, because it changes all the time. The red night lights and the flicker caused by the sun through the blades are annoying, but the noise is just torture.

Ecogen does not care about the citizens or the quality of life in Italy. They are just using you, counting on your naïveté and ignorance. PLEASE don't make the same mistake that Cohocton made!

Carolyn Morehouse

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Prattsburgh Update

  • Important Message from John Servo
  • The Ecogen meeting is at the Prattsburgh School Cafetorium at 6:30 pm Thursday May 21. Come early if possible, as it will be well attended.
  • Ecogen has a PILOT agreement with Prattsburgh for $9M less that their deal with Italy for a comparable number of wind turbines – 75% less than Italy's deal. We anticipate that Ecogen will present the Town about $1,000,000 in "sweeteners" – several trucks, maybe a new pole barn, some sidewalks, and Scholarship Fund. And where is the other $8,000,000? How stupid does Ecogen and the Town Board majority think we are? What was done to "grease the wheels of progress" to have this rip-off rammed down our throats?
  • Those people who will be potentially damaged by noise, and health and safety problems are supposed to just "shut up and take it". This is not acceptable, and citizens need to make ourselves heard.
  • This past week, Ecogen tried to get Prattsburgh Town board member Steve Kula to accept an artfully worded bribe – Steve's father would not get a (potentially several million dollar) gravel contract with Ecogen unless Steve Jr. recused himself from voting on any wind farm issues. And town attorney John Leyden – who also represents SCIDA, the lead agent for the Ecogen project – suggested that Steve accept and recuse himself! This, after Leyden has previously told Harold McConnell (who received money from a wind farm developer) – and before him David Hall and Andy Moesch, whose families leased to the developers – that they did not need to recuse themselves for conflict-of-interest! Evidently, attorney Leyden believes that only town board members concerned about noise, health and safety issues, and corruption should recuse themselves. If you want to protect the citizens and the Town, you better shut up! What do you think? Come to the Ecogen meeting and tell us what you think!
  • Last month, a 25 acre property in Naples located 537 feet an Ecogen turbine site in Prattsburgh had its tax assessment lowered by 60%. What does this mean? If the Ecogen project is built as planned, the assessments on dozens of damaged properties in Prattsburgh will also be lowered – and if the Town budget doesn't go down, everyone else's taxes will go up. Welcome to the "financial benefits" of a badly planned wind project in Prattsburgh! Tell Ecogen – and their fans on the Prattsburgh Town Board – that you want Ecogen to guarantee protection from these higher taxes!
  • Advocates for Prattsburgh will have a highly respected noise expert speak at the Ecogen meeting. He will address the health and safety impact on adjacent landowners which will result from these damagingly short setbacks. Please listen to what he says, and then tell Ecogen what you think, and what you want!
  • If you have concerns about what is happening and Ecogen's plans for Prattsburgh, please sign up to speak at the meeting.

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Loud Turbines in Cohocton

Residents: Turbines too loud

Atlanta, NY - Several Cohocton town residents want to know why they have to call wind developer First Wind to complain about noise from wind turbines instead of town officials.

Residents packed the town board meeting Monday night, hoping to hear how the complaints will be handled.

According to Joe Bob, one of the town’s code enforcement officers, the town’s wind law specifies exactly how much noise can be made at a certain range.

Bob said the town law states the noise cannot reach higher than 50 decibels at the closest non-participating property line. According to town law, no turbines are allowed within 1,500 feet of a property line without a variance.

The law also sets lower limits for some sounds. Any “pure tone” noise, as defined by the law, is limited to 45 decibels. “It’s in-depth, very methodical, very thorough,” Bob said.

With several residents offering complaints to the town, First Wind and the media, Bob set out how the complaint system works.

First, the town needs to determine the sound levels put out by the turbines. Right now, the town’s wind noise monitoring firm, Massachusetts-based firm Tech Environmental, is trying to monitor 10 turbines around Cohocton for noise at peak operating time.

Bob said the town’s noise monitoring firm tests for noise several ways, including shutting off turbines to check background noise, sheltering the meters from the wind and repeating tests over a period of time. “The problem is, they’re not done yet,” Bob said, adding until a baseline of how much noise is being created, it will be hard to determine what is above the legal noise limit and what is not.

Once that baseline is set, he said, residents can call a toll-free telephone number to lodge a complaint, which rings into the First Wind office in Cohocton. The town code enforcement office, a First Wind representative and monitoring firms hired by both the town and First Wind — but both paid for by First Wind — will set up at the complainant’s residence and monitor the noise. If the noise is over the limit, the turbine will be shut down at peak noise production.

Residents spoke out against the process, saying the noise now is too great to wait for a long study to be undertaken.

“They’re making so much noise, I can’t sleep at night,” Graham said. “The thing is reading 82-110 decibels at some times.”

Graham said he thinks he was lied to when First Wind, then called UPC Wind, offered to place turbines on his property. “They told us we wouldn’t hear anything at 900 feet,” he said. “The noise is so great that my windows are vibrating.”

Graham added he has hired an attorney to pursue the complaint process if needed. “If you’re the code officer, you should be able to monitor these things and enforce this,” Graham said.

Zigenfus said there is little the town can do but follow the procedure it agreed to. “We’re bound by what the law is,” he said. “If we violate their rights under a contract, we could end up in even more trouble.

Steve Trude, one of the heads of Cohocton Wind Watch and co-plaintiff in three lawsuits against the town over the development, said he feels the system should not go through First Wind. “We don’t feel well calling Jane (Towner, a Cohocton-based First Wind official),” Trude said. “The protections need to be tweaked.”

By Bob Clark, The Hornell Evening Tribune

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Cohocton Noise Warning

Prattsburgh residents get warning on wind turbines

By Mary Perham, Gatehouse News Service

Wind turbines will disturb your peace and quiet, neighboring town residents warned the Prattsburgh town board last week.

"It's like a jet engine landing right behind you," Hal Graham, of Cohocton, said. "It's constant noise."

Graham leased land to First Wind for its 50-turbine wind farm in the town of Cohocton. Tuesday, he spoke during the Prattsburgh board's public hearing on a wind energy facilities permit there. The permit will stipulate certain terms and charge a building permit fee for any wind facilities in the town.

The only wind project currently being considered in Prattsburgh is EcoGen, an East Aurora-based developer. In December, First Wind announced a year's hiatus in its plan to put up a 36-turbine wind farm in Prattsburgh and recently closed its office.
However, FirstWind did complete its larger project in Cohocton, beginning operations there earlier this year.

Graham said he was a strong supporter of wind energy and studied any potential noise problems extensively by observing other wind farms in the state and asking questions.

Both he and a neighbor each have a turbine on their properties, he said.

"When I signed the contract, I was assured there was no noise," he said. "Well, people can't sleep at night, in the winter, with the windows closed. As the wind speed increases, the noise level rises. It rattles our windows ... It's like a jet engine going full blast."

The noise can be heard in neighboring hamlets of Ingleside, Atlanta and North Cohocton, according to Graham and other Cohocton residents at the meeting. Other residents complained about a lack of sleep and disturbed animals.

Click here to read the full Steuben Courier report.

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Night Noise in Cohocton


Says he has trouble sleeping due to the noise.

A Town of Cohocton man tells us that he has a turbine on his property and that there is a wind turbine next door, and because of the turbines, he has trouble sleeping at night. He says he has asked the wind companies to turn the wind turbine off, and he says they won't.

That wind farmer now describes having a wind turbine as the biggest mistake of his life. His complaint about noise is not uncommon. All over the state where the giant turbines are installed, people complain of the noise as well as the fact that shadows often cause problems. The turbines also tend to ruin any beauty on the countryside.

For clues about who this mystery man might be, read the article below. [Ed.]

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Update from Prattsburgh

Dear Folks,

It seems that some of us missed an interesting meeting in Prattsburgh last night. I have spoken to several people who attended and am passing along comments from Arnold Palmer, a landowner in Prattsburgh, who sent me this email.

Just to give you some basics - Prior to the regularly scheduled town board meeting there was a public hearing on the "wind law." Once there is a wind law the town is legally allowed to receive money for building permits from wind companies. They did not vote on the wind law last night - rather they agreed to have a workshop in a couple of weeks to discuss setbacks.

The following is from Arnold:

The meeting was standing room only.

A fellow from Cohocton - Lent Hill Road, [Judge Hal Graham] spoke eloquently about the noise resulting from a 2.3 turbine on his property, how strongly he supported the wind farm concept before they became operational, how completely frustrated he was with the noise level which is so different from what he was promised when he signed a lease, his complete lack of results in trying, now after the fact, to do something about it, how badly he felt about what he'd wrought on his neighbors, and urging the Board to act prudently.

He made the excellent point that, rather than relying on Ecogen or whomever to provide theoretical DB prognostications, the Prattsburgh Board had the option to simply come to Cohocton and listen. He urged them to visit his home and to do so on windy days without giving the wind company a heads up in that, whenever visitors were anticipated, the turbine speeds are slowed down so that visitors are treated to noise levels at 25% or less of what the residents are subjected to on a daily basis. Good discussion about what sorts of setbacks were necessary and what point from which the setbacks should be measured.

The overall tenor of the Hearing and Board Meeting was substantially different that any I've attended in recent memory.

However some things don't change:

The Town Attorney was his usual self, yelling at Al to keep quiet and bristling whenever his posture was questioned by attendees or the Board. Stacy got in a few "you people" epithets in a lengthy self-serving statement describing what a privilege it had been to direct the Comprehensive Plan initiative and remind everyone she was pleased with the Plan and couldn't care less whether anyone else liked the plan, or the people who worked on it or the process under which it was prepared.

When Judge Graham was speaking, the room was silent and he was given the courtesy of speaking when his allotted three minutes were up.

The star of the evening was Steve Kula. He was extremely even-handed on wind related issues, got Harold and the Town Attorney squirming on whether bills (attorney fees and engineering company bills, among others) were being paid properly and transparently or whether they were being sent directly to Harold rather than to the Town who had approved the bills and had them paid. He brought up a number of other equally lightning rod issues about propriety, including asking for an executive session at the end to present a 'legal solution' to end the issues of condemnation and Harold's vote.

So folks, the good news is that the wind law in its present form was not voted upon, and the Board appears to be taking the issue of setbacks seriously. Thanks to everyone who attended last night - the support from this group continues to stay solid, and it is appreciated.


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Sounds of "Silence" II

Dave Hunt, we hear you. It's too bad your father and his enthusiastic companions on our Town Board didn't listen to sound reason while this whole project was just an over-hyped sales pitch. We've been documenting the noise problems of industrial wind turbines and UPC ("First") Wind's duplicity in its noise measurements all along. For some historical background, just click the "Noise" link below.

Since Cohocton's turbines went online and began spinning on Lent Hill, we've been keenly aware of the noise(s) they make, even though the 4 turbines near our property are all farther away than the nominal 1500' margin specified by our Local Law. Last month I reported about how they sound when the wind is blowing through the turbines toward our property. Today's report is about how they sound when the wind is blowing the other way, across our property first and then through the turbines.

The noise is like a jet airplane crossing overhead high in the sky, but instead of getting slowly louder and then softer again over a several minute period before fading away entirely, this sound stays at the same level and just keeps going on and on, hour after hour. The "plane" never arrives or leaves, it's just constantly roaring overhead with occasional groaning sounds added when the turbine nacelles turn as the wind shifts. Your mind keeps waiting for the noise to stop, but it doesn't. On the other hand, the aggravating thumping sound heard when the wind is blowing in your direction is barely audible when the wind is going the other way.

There are basically three ways to learn - from your own mistakes, from other people's mistakes, and from discernment and revelation about who can and can't be trusted. Unfortunately, it's too late in Cohocton now to learn from anyone else's mistakes but our own. When enough folks in town wake up to the fact that UPC's project was put over on a well-intentioned but naive rural community by a bunch of profit-minded urban con artists, we may be able to spread the alarm to other communities in the Finger Lakes before it's too late for them. Do you hear me, Wayne?



Only the beginning

Cohocton man complains of turbine noise

by Jeff Miller in Genesee Country Express

Son of town councilman says high-pitched noise keeps him awake

Before the turbines have been fully placed online, the first noise and shadow flicker complaint was brought before the Cohocton Town Board Tuesday night by David Hunt of Kirkwood Road.

Hunt complained that the noise of the turbines, which he said has a constant high-pitched sound like a train whistle, an occasional roar and a loud whooshing sound, has regularly kept him awake at night since the blades started spinning in August. Although he cannot see turbines from his home, he said he can hear about a dozen turbines between a half-mile and three-quarters of a mile away.

Hunt stated that although he approached First Wind representatives on the issue, they said that the turbines are in compliance with the town’s local ordinance on the noise level, which is 45 decibels.

Hunt suggested that the town find a way to change the law to a more reasonable decibel level.

Hunt’s father, town board member Wayne Hunt, said, “Changing the law is not going to change the sound.”

David asked, “What am I going to do with a house I can’t live in?”

Cohocton Deputy Supervisor Jeff Wise answered, “That’s a good question.” But Wise also said that his best solution to getting a change in the local law is to address the problem to the planning board first, which then recommends changes to local laws to the town board.

Besides his noise complaint, Hunt said after the meeting that six of his neighbors have also complained about the turbines, but their complaints are mostly due to the shadow of the turbine blades flickering on their property and in their homes.

Hunt said that he will be addressing the planning board. “I don’t know what else to do,” he said. Hunt has lived on Kirkwood Road for the past nine years.



The Sounds of "Silence"

During the public review phase of NY State's SEQR Environmental Impact process, we attended public meetings, spoke before the Cohocton Board and Planning Committee, wrote letters, and published many articles about the noise problem that industrial wind turbines have (see Noise link in Post Labels list at right). Now that Cohocton's turbines are up and some are running for us to hear, what kind of noise are they making?

There are 4 turbines within 1/2 mile of our dwelling on Lent Hill, none of which are within the tight 1500-foot margin set by our Town leaders. We can see 2 of them towering above our treetops. Only 3 are actually spinning. There are 3 distinct noises that the turbines make:

  1. A "threshing" sound, like machinery whirring or a train running by on tracks, that is constant while a turbine is spinning and is probably the massive turbine/gearbox unit itself.
  2. A "whumping" sound, like a heavy towel being flapped rhythmically in the wind about once a second while the blades are turning, that is made by the blades as they pass by the tower.
  3. A "groaning" sound, like a not-so-distant train horn blowing or metal wheels screeching on tracks, that comes on in 2 to 20+ second intervals 30-40 times an hour while the wind is shifting and appears to be coming from the mechanism that rotates the schoolbus-sized turbine nacelle unit to keep the blades facing the wind.

These remarkably intrusive sounds come from various directions, depending on which way the wind is blowing and which turbines are spinning. Even though the decibel level of the noises we hear may technically be under the unrealistically high limits set by our Local Law, the whole effect is that of living in an industrial district about a block or two away from a busy train switching station. Our quiet, pastoral countryside has clearly been overtaken by an industrial installation.

When the original noise studies were done, we seriously doubt that the second 2 noises were measured at all. Unfortunately, now that we've all been deceived by the developer and the turbines are up, there is probably little that can be done.



New Nina Pierpont Book


  • Available August 2008.
  • Approx. $10 + shipping. Discounted bulk orders.
  • The complete and authoritative report on Wind Turbine Syndrome to date.
  • Includes peer-review reports by American medical school faculty and other American scientists (including acousticians).
  • Intended for clinicians and people living in the shadow of wind turbines.
  • Based on the evidence presented, it calls for a minimum of 2 km setbacks of industrial turbines from people's homes.

Visit www.windturbinesyndrome.com for purchasing information.

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Report from Maine - 9/26

Excerpts from testimony given by Wendy Todd about local effects of UPC Wind's project in Mars Hill, Maine. Note that this is a small project by Cohocton standards: only 28 towers, each fitted with a 1.5 MW turbine. Click here to read her entire testimony.

A Serious Payment Problem

What about the tax benefit to the town of Mars Hill? The town signed a TIF agreement with the wind company for $500,000 a year for the life of the project (20 years). Because of that $500,000 a year, the town of Mars Hill will be losing $249,000 in school funding. That brings the total benefit to the town down to $251,000.

The Noise Problem

People think that we are crazy. They drive out around the mountain, stop and listen, and wonder why anyone would complain about noise emissions. But believe me when we are having noise problems you can most assuredly hear the justification of our complaint. We have had people come into our yard, get out of their vehicles, and have watched their mouth drop. We have had company stop in mid conversation inside our home to ask, "What is that noise?" or say "I can't believe you can hear those like that inside your house."

Visiting a wind facility or sitting at the end of someone's driveway once or twice for 2, 3, or even 10 minutes to listen does not make that person an expert on turbine noise. To be an informed witness could take days or weeks for one to know and experience what we are living. Not until an individual has been in a home and has heard turbine noise emissions of 45 decibels or higher does that individual have any right to judge how turbine noise truly affects the lives of people. Even noise experts should be talking to residents who are living next to turbines to ensure they are collecting data that is relevant to the burdensome noise emissions heard by those who live closest to them. Let us tell the sound experts when we are having a noise issue.

Nick Archer, our Regional Director with the DEP thought we were all crazy, too. But he finally made it to our homes and heard what we were talking about. I don't believe he has ever heard a 50+ decibel day but he has heard close to that on more than one occasion and has made statements like these. "This is a problem." "We need to figure out what is going on with these things before we go putting anymore of them up." "I thought you were crazy at first but you are not crazy." "The quality of life behind the mountain is changed." Did he say these things just to appease us? I don't believe so.

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VN 7/17 - Maine Problem

UPC Wind's industrial wind power project on Mars Hill in Maine, just completed this winter, has caused a lot of local stir, primarily because of the noise it makes. Residents who live within half a mile of the project began complaining of disturbing thumping noises as soon as the turbines were activated. Since then, UPC has done a lot of public relations "damage control" and commissioned its own noise study to evaluate the situation. The results are now public.

Did UPC's noise study find and correct the problem?
- No. According to UPC's new numbers, there really isn't a problem. Their project meets the noise criteria they said it would. Period.
- Why is there still a problem? The answer can be found by comparing the noise study done for Cohocton with the new one done in Maine.
- Both studies have fraudulently defective assessments of ambient noise obtained by using improper wind screens on their microphones which give baseline noise levels that are 5-10 dBA high. The resulting levels of "allowable noise" are therefore 5-10 dBA too high as well.
- Both studies assume that turbine noise will be masked by ambient noise but overlook the fact that naturally-occuring ambient noise does not have the deep low "thumping" sounds that turbines generate.
- Both studies estimate noise propagation and masking based on the average noise turbines generate at all frequencies (106 dBA) not their much higher dBA output at lower frequencies (120 dBA).
- Microphones used to monitor noise compliance don't measure accurately down into the thumping frequencies below 100 Hz.

So the result is troublesome noise that UPC can deny. What else can you expect from a developer whose bottom line is making money? Costly corporate honesty? It's time to wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late and we're all stuck with noise that won't go away.

Click on the Label for Noise below
for more "Updates" articles about this subject, then go to the Sound section on our main website for more background information and updated links, including this link to an index page of UPC noise studies. After you've studied the noise problem for a while, be sure to let our Town leaders know what you think.



VN 7/10 - Thump, Thump

Two weeks ago the Cohocton Planning Board uncritically accepted UPC Wind's FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) without further review and appears to be poised to grant "Special Use Permits" (zoning variances) giving the developer local approval to go ahead as planned. Since then we've seen the voluminous FEIS and done a preliminary review of some of its revised findings.

What improvements does the FEIS contain?
- Absolutely none. Unsurprisingly, it's more of the same self-serving project justification that we've seen all along.
- Hessler's "new" noise study fails to correct its underlying fatal flaw: a totally inaccurate assessment of ambient noise (at least 5 dBA high). However, it does tell us that the Clipper turbines are much louder at the low thumping frequencies than previously estimated - up to 120 dBA - a fact that is glossed over in the sound projection contours.
- Revised visual impact studies note that the most dramatically negative impacts are where turbines are within 1/2 mile of the viewer (where most residents on the hills live). But simulations showing turbines this close are hard to find. Why? Probably because they won't fit on a page without using a camera with a special "fisheye" lens.
- Shadow flicker studies only measure impacts at one window in a house, not on the landscape within view of each dwelling.
- PILOT payment estimates - negotiations with SCIDA are still incomplete - keep getting smaller. What is SCIDA's status, anyway?

Are we really ready to approve this project? If it gets past the legal, political, logistical, and economic hurdles that lie ahead with ongoing local concerns, the PSC, and limited availability of Clipper turbines, what will we have? Defaced hills cluttered with looming industrial machines that make disturbing thumping noises night after night. And the promised PILOT payments? How small will they turn out to be?

Browse our website for more information, and make sure you come out to this week's Planning Board meeting on Wednesday night at the Hatch Hose Fire House, 30 University Avenue in Atlanta, at 7:30 pm to find out how our leaders handle UPC's Special Use Permit request.



VN 5/22 - Who Will Suffer?

For the past year we've heard a lot of controversy about the proposed Cohocton and Dutch Hill wind projects. How large and intrusive will the units be? How much noise will they make? Will they have an impact on wildlife? What will they do to property values? For each concern, UPC Wind has reassuring answers. They'll look good. They're very quiet. They won't effect the wildlife. If anything, your property values will go up. And so forth. Of course, the developer has nothing to lose.

But who will suffer if the developer is wrong?
- According to recent testimony from neighbors surrounding UPC's Mars Hill wind farm, everyone near the turbines will suffer, especially leaseholders and their immediate neighbors.
- Noise is apparently a big problem on Mars Hill where residents were reassured over and over by UPC that it wouldn't be. - Evidence is pouring in from Tug Hill that bird and bat kills are dramatically higher than predicted by the developer. - And studies are clearly indicating that the value of neighboring recreational and retirement properties will go down.

In other words, everyone but the developer will suffer. Meanwhile, we appear to be locked into an "us" vs. "them" struggle in Cohocton, "the good guys" vs. "the bad guys," in which our team is 100% right and our opponents are 100% wrong. Even if the YES! group manages to prevail against its opponents, every truth that wind critics have spoken will still be true - visual blight will still be blight, noise will be noise, dead wildlife won't be resurrected, and lost property values won't go back up. Winning won't make falsehoods and lies go away.

Couldn't we at least wait until UPC's noise controversy at Mars Hill is settled before forging ahead? Misplaced trust and group loyalty could end up paying poor rewards. Be sure to read our recent Proposal for breaking the deadlock. Thanks!



Testimony from Maine

Testimony before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee of the Maine Legislature

by Wendy Todd, April 30, 2007

Senators, Representatives, and Committee Members,

Thank you for allowing me to speak. My name is Wendy Todd. I am from Aroostook County. I am a resident of Mars Hill and live approximately 2600 feet from the Mars Hill Wind Project. I am here today to offer testimony that residents around the project are suffering. There are 18 families that I know of that are negatively impacted on a regular basis from the noise, strobe effect and shadow flicker from the turbines. Most of these 18 families live less than 3000 feet from the turbines. There is no one that I know of from 425 East Ridge Road to 212 Mountain Road that does not agree that there are issues with noise. Issues that are changing the way residents view life around the mountain. We have formed a group called the Mountain Landowners Association in an attempt to share information and come up to speed on the issues of living this close to turbines of this size and generation. We have had to struggle through massive amounts of documentation from the Internet and from other towns that are dealing with the same issues.

We have tried and I believe have succeeded in finding the answers to many of our questions but it has all been from our own efforts. We have received very little help from our town or the company that sited the windmills. Nick Archer with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been a helpful resource, but I believe even he would say that the State has a ways to go to educate itself on the pros and cons of wind turbines and how to best site a project. It would be a recommendation from our group for the State to look to California and other states in the nation that have been dealing with these issues for years, as well as other countries who have gleaned a great deal of information from years of studies, to help form guidelines to protect not only the land but the residents that live nearby proposed projects. We should learn from those who have gone before us. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel.

Let me make it very clear that no one in our group is opposed to wind turbines. We are for alternative, renewable forms of energy. Some from our group supported this project from the beginning. Some hated the project from the beginning and still do. Some were on the fence, but because of the points of renewable energy, landowner rights and proposed benefits for our town, county and state were swayed to sacrifice precious views of Mars Hill Mountain and our quiet with the disruption of the construction phase of the project. Nobody really knew or realized what was about to happen and how it would change our lives...

Click here to read the rest of Wendy Todd's testimony.



Noise Update from Maine

UPC Mars Hill Q & A
An update for Mars Hill Residents - March 30, 2007
(excerpted from a UPC Wind* handout)

I heard there were some sound issues with the Mars Hill wind farm. What is this about?
>Several households in Mars Hill have expressed concern over sound levels at certain times and in different weather conditions.

How is UPC Wind responding?
>UPC Wind cares about neighbors' perceptions of sound at the Mars Hill wind farm and is taking their concerns seriously. In response, UPC Wind has retained RSE, an independent engineering consulting firm, to perform field measurements for sound in Mars Hill. In addition, UPC Wind senior managers plan to meet with individual households involved to better understand their concerns.

How and when will the testing be done?
>The goal of the testing is to confirm that the wind farm does not have an unreasonable impact on protected locations [italics added] in accordance with the permit issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in June 2004. This process is expected to take several weeks.

Where will the sound be measured?
>Sound measurements will be documented at several field locations around Mars Hill and at the turbines.

Why can't the sound be measured at individual residences during the process?
>We have targeted specific locations that will give us the best overall measurement of the sound level. The locations selected are nearby residential properties without being intrusive to landowners, and will minimize the influence of noise that can occur from ordinary residential activities.

Where can I get more specific information?
>If you have specific questions regarding sound issues at Mars Hill, please feel free to contact Michael Alvarez, UPC Wind Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer.

* A boast from the Mars Hill Wind website: "UPC Wind is a U.S. wind power leader, developing, owning and operating successful wind farms across America... "

Local reaction:

4/5 - Bill, they honestly do not care. Mr. Alvarez gave a smart aleck, attorney like, answer to an elderly gentleman who asked why the wind mills are so close to people's homes. This elderly gentleman's lower lip was quivering, and Mr. Alvarez had the nerve to answer him, "Close is a matter of perspective." I wish we had tar and feathers at this meeting. Good luck in fighting these people. By the way, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan somehow became part of the Mars Hill wind mill project. We are up against a brick wall and you probably are too. But we will not go down without a fight. Mr. Alvarez mentioned that they had a site in New York already, but it was on an "ugly" steel mill. What site was he talking about?

4/23 - Please keep the people living around Mars Hill Mountain in your prayers. We hired an attorney, a good attorney, in an attempt to make UPC address the noise issue. Our attorney asked UPC to pay for an independent sound analysis on behalf of Mars Hill residents; UPC flatly turned this down. We are stuck with the windmills that we supposedly would never hear, but today it sounds like Bradley Airport in CT. There is no letup on the noise. Now we are going to try to rattle UPC's cage via the media. There is a gentleman coming from Vermont to do a documentary. I don't think much will be done, but I will certainly write editorials to certain papers about Mr. Alvarez's total disregard for residents' issues at that meeting.



Letter from Mars Hill

Dear Bill,
My name is Diane Radell. I live 600 feet from a wind mill in Mars Hill, ME. UPC has lied from the get go about their project. From noise to what an eyesore their project would look like. These things are 26 stories high, throw ice, and make horrible noises.
Two years ago, our town council decided to sign a deal with "Evergreen Wind Power" which is really UPC LLC. Keep in mind LLC stands for a limited liability company. After going to the meetings town residents were told, "...there is nothing we can do about the wind mills coming to town because the wind mills would be placed on private land..."
Two years went by and all of sudden in the dead of the winter work begins on this project. These people blasted causing damage to our homes, and now 28 wind mills are on top of the mountain.
The closest wind mill is two acres from my property. When these things run they make horrible noise, they vibrate the house. My home and land has lost 15-40% of the market value.
Currently the neighbors and I around this mountain have formed an association to deal with the noise issues. It is very difficult to find legal counsel about this matter because UPC has paid off many attorneys in the area. This company, UPC, is really part of General Electric of Boston.
Do whatever it takes to keep them from getting in your town. They lied about the noise, the way these things look, the impact on the environment.
STOP your town council from putting these atrocities in. You can do this with legal counsel. Do not let it happen to your town. Go to your legislature to make laws about these wind mills because they will put them in your back yard if they can.
Diane Radell



UPC Makes Noise in Maine

Problems out East


"Something has turned terribly sour for about 18 homeowners who live along the mountain roads where the state’s first and only wind farm has recently gone on line. To a man and to a woman, they feel betrayed, cheated, used, ignored, and dismissed. Put them in a room and they are spitting mad. Collectively, as they gather on a Saturday morning inside a home that sits in the shadow of the turbines, their anger is barely palatable. Since the turbines started up, they say, silence has become a luxury."

Read Paul Lefebvre's full report from The Barton Chronicle, then follow up with a similar report from Bill Metcalf in the Vermont Times Argus and another recent study by Frey and Hadden investigating the effect wind turbine noise has on health.



VN 2/6 - How Much Noise?

UPC Wind's first project on the US mainland is just coming online in Mars Hill, Maine, and the community isn't entirely happy. The problem: Noise, Too Much Noise. Articles (#1, #2, and #3) have just started appearing in the Bangor Daily News detailing the problems people are having. But as far as UPC is concerned, the whole thing should just blow over, so to speak. They're sure that further testing will demonstrate that the noise of their new 1.5 MW turbines will pass the 45 dB limit they set up in the siting requirements, so it won't really matter whether people are bothered: they'll just have to get used to it, get ear plugs, or sell out and move away.

It's too late for Mars Hill now - the turbines are up. However, it's not too late for the rest of Maine, as this article points out. And it's not too late for us in Cohocton and Prattsburgh if folks will just start to wake up and smell the coffee. Click here to read our Valley News article, then follow the links to read Article 1 and Article 2 in the Bangor Daily News. Polish things off with Article 3, and while you're reading, be sure to browse through the community comments below each article. Then let your local leaders (and us, if you'd like) know what you think.



Turbine Noise

Noise generated by wind turbines and its propagation to nearby dwellings is a serious problem in turbine siting that I discussed in my comments to the Planning Board last week. I've been studying the problem for a while and just received the following email:

Yes! windpower: you should be calling the "Doc" on this 50 decibel thing, here's FOUR charts I easily found on the internets, with web addresses. Don't allow him continue the misdirection, you should make this part of his rhetoric more well known.

'Doc:' 'Yer STILL cheatin.'
Sincerely, JT

Click here to read my response to JT, which includes the 4 charts he mentioned. Further documentation related to the problem of noise is available in two evaluations, just completed by Richard Bolton this week, addressing Hessler's noise reports in the Lent/Pine Hill SDEIS and Dutch Hill Wind DEIS, respectively.

An article in yesterday's Bangor Daily News about UPC's Mars Hill Project reports the reaction of neighbors when the turbines were started up:

"They turned on tower Number 9, and almost immediately it made enough noise that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that can’t be right,’" Wendy Todd said.

"It all depends on the wind speed and direction, but the best way to describe it is you step outside and look up thinking there’s an airplane. It’s like a high-range jet, high-low roar, but with the windmills, there’s a sort of on and off ‘phfoop ... phfoop ... phfoop’ noise."

That’s one "phfoop" or more every two seconds as the turbine’s three blades rotate from 10 to 22 revolutions per minute. It’s loud enough, Todd said, that she can hold her cell phone outside her home and the person on the other end of the call can clearly hear the sound.

Read the whole article, then the comments that follow. Is this really what we want in Cohocton?



VN 8/15 - What Noise?

Noise is a big problem with industrial establishments of all kinds, and wind power installations are no exception. This week's Valley News article talks about wind turbine noise and the attempts the developer and its supporters have been making to minimize concerns about the problem. Click here to read the full article. You may also be interested in reading what we've posted about noise on our website.