Sarah Wolfe’s claims on wind’s benefits are wrong

Saint Albans Messenger; May 2, 2017

Sarah Wolfe’s letter regarding the proposed regulations on sound from wind turbines makes some claims that are unsupported. “[W]ind power has clear, proven economic, environmental and health benefits” and is a “clearly proven public good.” I would enjoy seeing such proof, and I seriously doubt that she can provide it.

She also states that the proposed standard is more restrictive than it needs to be. It goes against “the clear weight of scientific evidence” – where’s the proof ? — and is “unprecedented” in the US. She then claims that the “lowest comparable standard is Maine’s nighttime limit of 42 decibels (Maine’s daytime limit is 55 decibels).” I, however, found that Maine’s (and WHO’s) standards are considerably lower: Limit.pdf

• 30 DBa is the no effect limit for outdoor nighttime noise: World Health Org (2009)

 • 32 DBa is the night time limit in wind law of Frankfort, Maine (2011)

• 35 DBa limit (24/7) in wind law of Sumner, Maine (2013)

• 35 DBa daytime limit in wind law of Woodstock, Maine (2013) Furthermore, the proposed rule would not be a functional ban on wind but, rather, a measure to protect neighbors’ health, comfort, and enjoyment of their property. Let industrial wind be placed where Vermont citizens are not affected.

Cynthia Barber 

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First meeting tomorrow night; join us against Swanton Wind

St. Albans Messenger, Letter to the Editor, May 1, 2107

By now many of you know that a group of concerned citizens have been opposing Swanton Wind for almost two years . Many of you have offered kind words. You showed your support at the polls, and some have asked how you can help.

To recap, we’re talking about the proposed 20MW Industrial Wind generation facility of seven 500 foot turbines. These would be the largest turbines in Vermont and the closest to homes in a residential neighborhood than any other wind projects to date. It will be two years in June since we learned of this project. Even though the Belisles and Bourbeaus (the developers) illegally put up a MET Tower years prior to this, neighbors were kept in the dark. Continue reading

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VPIRG a shill for wind industry and the industry is wrong

St. Albans Messenger Letter to the Editor April 27, 2017

Sarah Wolfe, for those who haven’t followed industrial wind matters, is a paid hireling of the shadowy cabal behind industrial wind in Vermont. She works for VPIRG, a non-government organization which receives major funding from industrial wind interests. Wolfe’s apologia in behalf of her financial benefactors is full of half-truths and many outright mis-statements. I’ll be clear from the start where my interests lie. I’m a strong supporter of any renewable energy project that is done right and which strives to be a positive influence in the renewable energy movement. Industrial wind in Vermont could be such a movement, but presently it is not. Sadly, the Vermont industrial wind movement is all about nailing down lucrative monetary incentives promulgated by the federal government. The Vermont industrial wind cabal and its shill, VPIRG, care not one whit about promoting carefully thought out wind projects designed to save our environment, not destroy it, along with our precious eco-systems.

Every single one of the major industrial wind projects presently built-out in Vermont represent a seriously failed design concept—they’ve been built too close to the homes of Vermont citizens and those citizens have suffered from the offensive noise such projects produce. The continual noise from industrial wind turbines cannot be compared to road traffic or other noises we’ve become accustomed to. It is more like an airplane flying directly overhead that never lands. Instead of getting behind a new SOUND RULE which could protect Vermonters from their noise predations (and perhaps encourage developers to work with their neighbors and communities) the Vermont wind movement wants to water down the few protections built into the currently proposed SOUND RULE. Continue reading

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Letter about noise levels for wind power was simplistic

St. Albans Messenger Letter to the Editor April 22, 2017

I read a letter to the editor about sound levels from wind turbines and different regulations about them in different states. Before a person should make comments about noise I strongly recommend that you buy a sound meter and listen to the differences between the regulations.

Also these sound waves must be tested at the home in all directions as shapes of trees, foliage, mountains, adjoining buildings and wind direction change dB’s received.

Insulation and window types also greatly affect indoor dB’s. Also different humidity levels affect dB’s received. So as you see it’s not just a simple one test tells all.

I managed a hotel in Baltimore MD years back and had a contract with a trucking company that used refrigerated trucks. I learned a good lesson about sound, sound waves, sound shapes and so on. I figured having the trucks with the refrigeration units running at night would be best placed facing one of our buildings, it would best serve the neighbors, WRONG. The noise bounced off our building and back toward the homes, at more dB’s than directly coming off the motors. Which was below allowable levels at the motors but not at the houses with the trucks facing toward my hotel. The shape of the bushes, trees and our building was causing a megaphone effect. Continue reading

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Wind opponents seek deadline extensions

St. Albans Messenger, April 24, 2017
Local residents push for broader participation

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — Community members are fighting for maximum participation in the Public Service Board’s review of Swanton Wind, as that review process becomes potentially more complex and certainly longer.

A visual rendering of the constructed Swanton Wind project as seen from Burton Island in St. Albans, designed by LandWorks for the project.

Patty Rainville resides near Swanton Wind’s proposed construction site, and is one of the project’s opponents.


The board issued its ruling on who can participate under which criteria in early April. For example, any citizen participant falling under the Northwest Regional Planning Commission’s jurisdiction can participate in regards to the project’s “orderly development.”

But that’s as inclusive as the board’s order got in regards to citizen participation. Take Fairfield residents Sally and Bruce Collopy, for example, who applied for participation under several criteria. Continue reading

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Opponents get boost from governor

Saint Albans Messenger; April 18th


Scott directs agencies to ‘thoroughly’ review application


By TOM BENTON Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — Gov. Phil Scott has offered his administration’s support to the Town of Swanton through the Public Service Board’s review of Swanton Wind.

The Town of Swanton Selectboard wrote to the Governor in February, expressing concerns that the project would destroy the “scenic beauty” of Swanton’s ridgelines, that it would have adverse effects on local wildlife and wetlands, and that the power is not locally needed. That specialists in these fields have testified the opposite has not appeased Swanton town officials’ concerns.

In Gov. Scott’s response, dated March 6, Scott wrote that he has directed officials in the Department of Public Service and the Agency of Natural Resources to “review [the selectboard’s] recommendations and take the appropriate steps to ensure that [those officials] have sufficient expertise and resources to thoroughly review and critique all aspects of [Swanton Wind’s] petition” before the Public Service Board, which is a separate body from the Department of Public Service.

“As you may be aware, I have had an active interest in this issue and have made clear that the potential host community’s perspective should be an important one when considering proposed energy generation projects,” Scott wrote. Continue reading

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Wind energy guys get breaks no one else could dream of

Saint Albans Messenger; April 8, 2017

Former Governor Shumlin revealed during a recent speech at his alma mater, Wesleyan University, in Middletown Connecticut that: “we changed the regulations so that we could build big wind, meaning wind turbines, in the right places in Vermont”. The right places according to former Governor Shumlin turned out to be intact, carbon sequestering, ecosystems on our Green Mountains.

Another change that occurred during the Shumlin “change the regulations” era involved the necessary permits and pre-construction data that is required for the issuance of a certificate of public good (CPG) by the Public Service Board (PSB) for renewable energy projects. For example the following questions were asked of Swanton Wind through discovery: PETITIONER 1-153: Please describe with particularity how deep below present grade the following components of the project would be after construction: A) the lowest extreme limit of the turbine towers or their supporting infrastructure or armature elements; B) the concrete pads to be installed at each turbine site; and, C) any guy line anchors. RESPONSE: A. No geotechnical work has been performed to date, therefore, no foundation design work has commenced and the lowest extreme limit of the turbine towers, their supporting infrastructure, or armature elements is not known at this time.

B. The dimensions of the concrete pads to be installed at each turbine site are not known at this time.

C. The location type and size of any guy line anchors that would be needed are not known at this time.

Response provided by Swanton Wind’s engineering consultant. Continue reading

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