Why wind developers are sharks (Mass.)
Jul 9, 2013
Mr. Michael J. Rzewuski, Chairman
Zoning Board of Review
Charlestown, Rhode Island
July 9, 2013
Dear Chairman Rzewuski and Members of the Zoning Board of Review,
As residents of Massachusetts know, it seems that every day brings some new report of the profound tragedy that has been imposed on communities that have recently condoned the installation of industrial wind turbines, including (but not limited to) Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston and Scituate.
Some notable recent bulletins from Fairhaven and Falmouth (where the Board of Health and the Board of Selectmen, respectively, have ordered curtailment of the wind turbine operations) are reprinted below.
This news should provide a loud wake-up call to the Town of Charlestown, RI — or any other town that contemplates the possibility of treading down the same path — for all of the following reasons:
» In every one of these towns — Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston and Scituate — the developers insisted that fears about the disruptive adverse impacts of the wind turbines upon the health and well-being of the residents, their quality of life and their property values were overblown. In every single instance, the wind turbine proponents were tragically wrong; in every single instance, there have been widespread complaints regarding each one of these adverse impacts.
» In every one of these towns, the developers promised that the wind turbine noise would have little or no impact — that it would be “audible” but that it would be “no louder than a refrigerator” — and that the noise would comply with applicable noise standards. In fact, the wind turbine noise has been found to exceed the applicable noise limits in every single one of these towns — proving, yet again, that the developers virtually always underestimate the predicted noise levels of the projects by 10 dBA, or more.
»The wind turbines proposed for installation in Charlestown, RI (Vestas V90) are bigger; louder and closer — much closer — to homes than the wind turbines in Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston and Scituate where numerous residents have registered anguished health complaints.
Every wind turbine developer insists — without a shred of evidence or justification — that his wind turbines are different from other wind turbines that have caused problems all over the world. Every developer — including Whalerock — insists that his wind turbines are more modern; quieter; and less problematic than the “older” wind turbine models that are wreaking havoc all over New England and beyond. But this is categorically untrue.
The Vestas V90 wind turbine proposed for Charlestown is actually louder than its predecessor, the Vestas model V82, which has been installed in Falmouth. And the fact of the matter is that there is no way to “mitigate” or “resolve” the most obnoxious and problematic elements of wind turbine noise, including:
a) its unnatural, repetitive, man-made quality (particularly in a rural area like Charlestown);
b) its persistence — night and day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year;
c) the rhythmic rise and fall in the volume of noise at one second intervals — the “whooshing” sound described as “amplitude modulation”;
d) the asynchronous sound pattern of two wind turbines operating in close proximity to each other — but not necessarily together — because of their separation, wind turbulence, or other factors;
e) the very high power output of low frequency and sub-audible noise (infrasound), which does not readily attenuate over distances and which may cause the organs of the human ear, body cavities and even structures to respond and to vibrate in unnatural and unhealthy ways.
All of these elements which are currently being imposed on the residents of these towns — in a vast, unauthorized scientific experiment on unwitting human populations — should cause the Charlestown Zoning Board of Review to insist upon very robust proof that the Whalerock wind turbine project will not subject the residents of Charlestown to the same terrible fate.
In this regard, it should be noted that the developer of the proposed wind turbine project — the “Applicant” — is nothing more than a shell corporation — “Whalerock Renewable Energy, LLC” — whose primary purpose is to insulate the owners from any personal or financial liability beyond cost of the machines.
If the Applicant is wrong; if his noise estimates are faulty; if the adverse impacts to the health and well-being, the quality of life and the property values of Charlestown residents are dramatic; the consequences of these profound errors in judgement will be borne not by “Whalerock, LLC” — the paper corporation — but by the residents and the community of Charlestown.
Keeping this point in mind, it should be noted that neither the Applicant nor any of his hired consultants have ever unequivocally declared — much less proven — that the proposed project will be “safe.” Not once.
And needless to say, the Applicant has never offered any guarantees of any kind that he will accept the responsibility if his estimation of the potential adverse consequences proves to be tragically mistaken.
On the contrary, when pressed on this point, Mr. Menge, who oversaw the noise study for HMMH, demurred, saying that he was not a health expert. Furthermore, when repeatedly pressed about the potential adverse impacts of the wind turbine noise upon residents, Mr. Menge would only say that the wind turbine noise “would be audible at some residences.”
In fact, as Mr. Menge knows from his prior experience — including Falmouth, where he was hired by the Town of Falmouth to help diagnose the dire problems that occurred there and where Mr. Menge actually filed his report one month prior to the delivery of his report to Charlestown — the impact upon some residences is likely to quite severe.
But Mr. Menge did not share this knowledge with the Charlestown Zoning Board of Review — because Mr. Menge knows who hired him and who signs his checks. Instead, Mr. Menge would only say that the wind turbine noise will be “audible at some residences” — as if there is no distinction between classical music which is “audible” and fireworks or bulldozers — or wind turbines — which are also “audible.”
Similarly, when Dr. Singer — the audiologist [not a medical doctor–ed.] who posed as the Applicant’s wind turbine “health expert”; who had never heard of Dr. Nina Pierpont [a medical doctor–ed.] and who lionized Dr. Simon Chapman [not a medical doctor–Chapman has a PhD in sociology–ed.] of Australia (who has been denounced from the floor of the Australian parliament by an M.P.; and who appeared recently as a featured speaker at a Vestas public relations event) — appeared before the Charlestown ZBR and was repeatedly asked if there were likely to be any significant adverse health impacts to Charlestown residents, Dr. Singer would only say: “nothing is perfect; nothing is 100% fool proof.”
Dr. Singer then proposed that if we insisted on not harming people, we could never fly in airplanes or drive cars — failing to note that people who fly on airplanes or drive cars undertake these risks of their own free will and not involuntarily — as with residents who have the misfortune to live too close to someone who decides to erect a huge, pulsating machine directly over their heads where it will operate relentlessly, around the clock.
It is clear from the testimony that has already been presented; from numerous studies of wind turbine noise, adverse health impacts and significant, often devastating, property value impacts; from the cautions of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the very high risk to wildlife, including migrating birds and endangered species of bats; and from the real-time, first hand experience of communities all over New England — and the world — where wind turbines have been indiscriminately installed; that the Whalerock Project is extremely risky and that, from all available evidence, it must be considered to be fundamentally UNSAFE and UNSOUND.
If any member of the Zoning Board of Review is tempted to vote in favor of granting a special permit for the construction of this project, that member must be prepared to defend his, or her, decision by citing a compelling body of evidence that proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the project will not significantly harm anyone in the Charlestown community and that it will not significantly compromise the legitimate interests of any legitimate stakeholder in the region.
And any such member of the Zoning Board of Review who grants such approval — only to find that the adverse impacts from the wind turbines were grossly underestimated — must be prepared to defend his errant decision to his friends and neighbors in the Charelstown community.
I once again respectfully urge the members of the Zoning Board of Review, not to do this to your community. Please do not consent to create another Falmouth, Fairhaven, Kingston or Scituate.
I respectfully urge you to DENY this application for a special permit by a unanimous vote of the members of the Board.
Editor’s note: Mr. Bibler has long been exposing the nasty underbelly of wind energy and its thuggish practitioners who call themselves “wind developers.” He’s a resident of Rhode Island, with strong family ties to Cape Cod, Mass.