“Anger, sadness, and hopelessness”

Jul 28, 2010


To whom it may concern:

With the desire to help in some way, but with the inability to travel to wind hearings, I am writing to give you my personal perspective since the construction of 292′ privately-owned wind turbine about 1200′ away in ’09.

As much as I would not want to publicly identify myself with such images, unfortunately, anger, sadness, and hopelessness are predominant emotions in relation to my situation.

I feel them when I experience the impacts of noise, shadow flicker, and red flashing lights at my home, as well as the rotating blade movement that distracts my concentration as I sit in my favorite family room chair. There are times when it seems the colors of the blades in a particular light penetrate even the curtains. It is truly a feeling of invasion of property that I recognize no short-term visitor will ever understand.

And these feelings are present when I realize there is no getting away from this massive industrial equipment in my neighborhood, either. From almost every street and yard on this hill the turbine is always there; even with your back turned you cannot escape the spinning blades reflecting on anything glass. As the sun goes down, the shadow flicker usurps everything like a monster eating all the trees and homes.

Feelings of anger, sadness, and hopelessness also come from having the experts and even a city official tell you, “you won’t hear it” and “you won’t get flicker,” and then to find that is not true. Worse yet, in realizing that many people have no empathy and think nothing of calling you names merely because they happen to think wind energy is great. I can accept that there are those who may ignore the impacts because they believe this technology is going to save the world, but I cannot accept their total lack of concern for others.

I feel great sadness when I consider the wildlife that cannot defend itself. There are not sufficient studies to understand what impacts they are enduring. Perhaps there are other reasons why changes have occurred here, but the Canada geese that traveled in formation over my home so low you could feel you could touch them, are no longer taking this route, and the great blue heron never flies over the hill anymore. The night-time cries of the coyote and fox are gone and chipmunks and bunnies are on the rise. In all of my 15 years on this hill, I had never seen one rabbit here. I do not suggest I know the cause for these changes and perhaps things may revert to normal, but I mention in hopes that new projects require pre & post detailed studies on wildlife by independent parties.

We have invested a great deal in our home in our native Newburyport, and these impacts have and will negatively affect us for the next 20+ years. Fear of property value loss is real and intense. It drives some folks from speaking out or showing others just how bad it truly is. But it is a little hard to deny flicker impacts when you have a city councilor state that he felt “carsick” being in one of the neighborhood homes and “even standing outside, one doesn’t get the full measure of how disturbing [it is] being inside the house during the strobe.”

Emotions of anger, sadness and hopelessness come from having the realization that this industrial equipment will be not be mitigated, yet city officials have been quoted as saying, “we blew it” and “no one anticipated the impacts that are happening.”

Unfortunately, ours is an admitted 292-foot mistake that cannot be undone. Please do not step into the same path. Educate yourselves and seek to protect the community you serve.  Thank you.

Patty Spalding
5 Bricher Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
July 27, 2010

  1. Comment by Heather Hunter on 07/28/2010 at 9:45 pm

    Dear Patty,
    My heart goes out to you. You are brave and caring to speak out to protect others from your fate. I hope that those in power to do so dismantle that insidious monstrous machine and put people before profits. Try to find a way to save yourself. I pray for you.

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