“Six acres and a nice, un-sellable home” (Mass.)

Aug 12, 2011


Editor’s note:  Sue Hobart, author of this letter, occupies the home wherein two professional acousticians became debilitatingly ill with Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS).  

Robert Rand (Brunswick, Maine) and Stephen Ambrose (Windham, Maine) were hired by Sue and her husband to measure noise/vibration from the industrial wind turbine next door.  Rand & Ambrose have been in the business for decades.  Ambrose is Board Certified by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE); Rand is a Member of INCE.  Both men had taken noise/vibration measurements at other wind turbine sites.  Neither had experienced WTS before.  Both were flabbergasted by the experience, even as it was happening to them.  They basically had to flee the home.  

Sue, unfortunately, can’t do that; she is being forced to move out.  

When Robert Rand met Nina Pierpont recently, he shook her hand, looked her in the eye and declared, “”Nina, what you wrote about in your book is real!  Thank you!”

Dear Falmouth (Mass.) Board of Selectmen,

The wind turbine issue rolls on, and my health is rapidly failing. I am in the acoustic range of the Webb turbine (see Dan Webb, below), and am trying to make plans to have some sort of future.  I need to know if anybody is going to hear, or pay attention to, anything I have to say.

I have closed my business for next year, and am just barely making it, physically, this season. I’m in pain and can’t think clearly.  I never sleep.  I work out of my home.

Life as I knew it is over.

I sleep in the middle of my dark basement.  Even so, I still vibrate and ache all the time. I have headaches all the time, and the only time they stop is when I am away from my home for 12 hours or more.

I have to give up my home because there is absolutely no possibility of any kind of restful or meaningful life, here, when that turbine is turning—which is just about all the time.  Occasionally there are several hours it is off—and I become human again.  I celebrate those few hours—but then they leave.

You have absolutely no idea how horrible this situation is. I cry and grieve every day for all that has been taken away, here.

There is talk and talk about caring, but I just don’t believe you.  It seems nobody actually wants to take responsibility for this horrendous mistake.

In the meantime, how does Dan Webb get off having that thing (wind turbine) paid for by grants, then selling it to himself, locking it up in a limited liability corporation, and dancing off with all the profits in his pocket?

Is his permit grandfathered? Is that turbine up for good, no matter what?

You see, I don’t have his millions to fight him. I just have 6 acres and a nice, un-sellable home.

My life will most likely be spent in a van or a rental, now, because my house is toxic to me.

Whatever.  I never get any answers, anyway.  Have a fun barbecue and sailing trip and community dinners at the Coonamessett Inn and cocktail parties, hobnobbing about and patting yourselves on the back for being “progressive.”  Apparently, that’s what matters more than quality of life, anyway.

I can’t wait till my wedding floral business is over, so I can get out of here and sleep again.

Make no mistake, however; this is your mistake to correct!

Even so, I expect the same response I always get.  Silence.

Sue Hobart
Hobart’s Fine Florals
476 Blacksmith Shop Road
East Falmouth MA 02536

508-737-1450 cell

  1. Comment by Preston McClanahan (Rhode Island) on 08/12/2011 at 4:32 pm

    Ms. Hobart and the rest of us who live near enough to a wind plant are paying double.

    First, the noise/vibration that Ms. Hobart writes about, and second, our tax monies that go into government wind subsidies that fund construction with very little return in energy. The Congessional Budget Office recent review puts wind energy at 2% fraction of our national needs in 2010.

    The wind industry and their investors lay out the pie-in-the-sky picture-fantasy which many have bought. This brings in government subsidy money to all kinds of investors. The payoff will belatedly show up in low/no productivity. By then, the investors will have skipped town or country. Its got to be the biggest swindle ever.

    What to do? Inform the electorate, those who could know better, who then, hopefully, will hand sane directives to their elected officials.

  2. Comment by Karen Bessey Pease (Kaz) (Maine) on 08/12/2011 at 6:35 pm

    Och, Sue…

    Surely, someone will hear you! Surely someone will listen?

    There are multitudes of people in Maine, in the United States, and around the world who empathize … who understand every word and emotion in your letter.

    Please don’t give up fighting. By standing together, we can–and WILL–make a difference!

    At your service, if I can help in any way.

    Kaz (roomtomove@tds.net)

    Editor’s comment: God bless you Kaz! The more I get to know you, the more I sense you may be a genuine, bona fide saint! (I don’t say this frivolously, mind you.)

  3. Comment by Melodie Burkett (Ontario, Canada) on 08/13/2011 at 9:44 am

    Hello Sue, We hear you. My husband was elected Mayor of our Township…we now have the ear at Township, County, Province and Federally. Many people are now taking notice of your plight and plights of suffering people and wildlife and economies around the world. You must hang tough and believe. The house of cards will fall! Many dedicated men and women are fighting non stop all over the world to put an end to the governments and facilitators of this Greatest Boondoggle of the century! Freedom and democracy were asleep for a period of time while this hoax of panic and fear gripped the non thinking public ….BUT… We are awake NOW… Sanity will prevail. Just as in the War to end all wars and in the 2nd world war… WE THE PEOPLE will rise up , join together and win back democracy once again. Then we will pass a ‘convention’ to; NEVER AGAIN allow the people to be betrayed by their governments in the free world. Freedom and democracy must have eternal vigilance but somehow complacency and apathy allowed us all to be temporarily swindled by carpetbaggers and snake oil salesman, power grabbing politicians and the blissfully ignorant… NEVER AGAIN. … Trust that the underground global network of opposition to this madness has made a stand..loud and clear. The bell of freedom is ringing for all to hear. The tide is turning big time. God Bless the brave people that have made this happen.

    Melodie Burkett

  4. Comment by Sue Hobart (Falmouth, Mass.) on 08/13/2011 at 12:17 pm

    Have been fighting for the last year …I am being shut down at every angle. I have never once been given a chance to talk with any town officials or anyone that might care to help.

    We have a group of neighbors all in this same situation .. but the town has signed on to wind and forget about the people and their quality of life. What a mistake.

    Well the selectmen did hold 2 meetings where we could each have 3 minutes to talk.. and they hired a moderator to keep us in line. they ruin our lives, health and property value and we get 3 freaking minutes!!!!

    I won’t actually be abandoning my home. My husband is less affected and he plans on making it to his retirement pension at the Woods Hole Oceanographic. So he will stay and we will put it on the market and if we get something for it we can stay near his work and be together.

    The immediate problem is that I have 4 beautiful dogs too..and you can hardly find affordable rentals here let alone ones that will take the dogs. Damn if i will give up my home and my dogs! But no problem ditching this God Forsaken town… hopelessly corrupt and /or just plain stupid.

    But i did love living here. While it lasted this was a piece of heaven. I will never undertand why this had to happen to us in particular… we never did a thing to deserve it.

  5. Comment by Frank Haggerty (Falmouth, MA) on 08/18/2011 at 2:34 pm

    Falmouth, Massachusetts:

    Wind Watch: Industrial Wind Energy News

    filed: June 2, 2011 • Letters, Massachusetts
    Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study’s credibility called into question
    [ Alternate short URL for linking/sharing • HOME ]
    » Translation tools are available at the bottom of the page «
    Credit: May 22, 2011, J. Malcolm Donald

    Dear Falmouth Board of Selectmen,

    In the course of my investigation into a matter before the Zoning Board of Appeals [ZBA] regarding a professional engineering review of the Notus/Webb turbine noise study, I obtained an email indicating that the engineers were prejudiced. I asked the ZBA to disqualify the engineer, Tech Environmental Inc. [TE], and dismiss their evaluation but to no avail.
    Peter H. Guldberg, Founder & President, Tech Environmental
    I found the subject email to be troubling because here the ZBA had a supposedly professional engineered review performed by a firm which is actively working against “organized opposition to community wind projects”.

    So here we have a Town board (ZBA), supposedly attempting to objectively implement the terms of the Notus/Webb Special Permit which affects the health and well-being of Falmouth neighbors, basing its judgment of a noise study performed by the owner on the evaluation by a “professional” engineer, TE, who is actively engaged in working against the very group which the study affects. How is that? Is this ethical? Is the work of the professional engineer credible? Is this in the best interests of the residents of Falmouth?

    However, most disconcerting is the fact that this same “professional” engineer was meeting “to handle the organized opposition to community wind projects” in the very offices of the Town of Falmouth’s own professional sound engineering consultant, HMMH (Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Inc.)!

    HMMH, as you are undoubtedly aware, is the same professional engineering firm who performed the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study in June of 2010 and issued its report in September of the same year.

    Furthermore, the point person for information on the agenda of the meeting to discuss how “to handle the organized opposition to community wind projects” is none other than the HMMH Director of Clean Energy, Steve Barrett!

    The actual complete copy of the email message can be found on page 37 of the attached document entitled: CEC FOI Records Request April 2011.pdf but I present it below for your convenience. The email message is as follows with my identifications in brackets:

    From: Peter Guldberg [President, Tech Environmental]
    To: Orlando Martinez [Project Manager of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center]
    Subject: RE: conference call
    Date: January 12, 2011 3:11:15PM

    … Did you get the message that I sent about the EBC [Environmental Business Council of New England, Inc.] wind energy group meeting on 1/18 Tuesday 10 a.m. at HMMH [Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Inc.]? The group would welcome your attendence to discuss how our respective organizations can handle organized opposition to community wind projects in Mass. Are you available? (For more information – call Steve Barrett at 781-852-3125 [HMMH Director of Clean Energy 781-229-0707 Burlington MA Headquarters of HMMH])

    This email message seems to indicate that HMMH, the so-called “professional” engineer that the Town is basing its assertions that there are no problems with noise from Wind-1, is absolutely prejudiced. How can anyone think that HMMH is impartial? How can anyone think that HMMH can keep its agenda out of its work? How can anyone take the findings of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study with any credibility? How can the Town rely on statements by HMMH, the study’s author, when HMMH is actively working against “organized opposition to community wind projects”? Is not Wind-1 a “community wind project”?

    I request that you call HMMH before you to testify and ask them to account for their actions. In light of the fact that Wind-1 neighbors’ own professional engineers have found serious flaws with the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study, Falmouth residents may have their own questions of HMMH which they would like to ask at the same time. Falmouth residents want to know whether HMMH can be trusted.

    The work by the HMMH directly affects the health and wellbeing of many Falmouth residents, who have been attempting for more than a year, to bring to your attention scientific facts and assertions related to the noise from Wind-1 and both flaws and shortcomings of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study. HMMH’s activities in working against groups, of which the Wind-1 neighborhood organization is one, may explain why Wind-1 neighbors’ scientific facts and assertions have been summarily dismissed by HMMH.

    In addition to interrogating HMMH about their activity, I request that you initiate an investigation of HMMH with the objective of determining their credibility and the appropriateness of purpose for which the Town has contracted with them and continues to use their services. HMMH’s actions against “organized opposition” call into question the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study’s credibility. Please determine whether or not the Falmouth Wind Turbine Noise Study should be discarded and explain to the residents of Falmouth why or why not.


  6. Comment by sue Hobart on 08/21/2011 at 2:44 pm

    Oh did I mention that the Zoning Board of Appeals claimed they had no money to pay for a peer review of the Webb sund study findings… threw out own much more extensively collected information and review and then allowed Dan Webb to pay for a review by his chosen firm…which of course showed what he wanted to show…. nothing slanted about that.

    Oh yes, then the town somehow does mange to come up with another $50,000 to pay for infrastructure improvements to get their new turbine up and running…In spite of safety, setback and evacuation concerns by abutters.

    NOTHING about what is happening in falmouth makes any sense , except to those involved with the very likely payoffs going on here…

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