Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sitting Cows (i.e. How Close are the Neighbors?)

Below is a quote from Angus King, a 'principal' of Highland Wind LLC, which proposes to build a 39 turbine grid-scale industrial wind facility on the five mountains in rural Highland Planatation...despite massive opposition from many of the locals.

" close are the neighbors? That's a big factor and one of the great things about the Highland site is that-- there are 2 camps....summer cottages on the side of one of the mountains that are about 1/2 mile from the nearest turbine. Other than those, NOBODY is within a mile or a mile and a half of the turbines,... except for those two camps, the closest people to Highland are 6,000 feet. The people at Mars Hill are 1,000 feet. That's the difference--- a huge difference! The issue about sound. It's just like a truck going by on 201. If they're 100 yards away, they're louder than hell. If they're a mile away-- you're not gonna hear them. That's how sound works. It's a question of distance. The simplest way to think of it that I've come up with... if someone builds a turbine today in Seattle, Washington, I think we'd agree that no one in Skowhegan would be bothered by it. If we put one right by where the basketball courts are-- you'd hear it. So that means the only question is-- what's the right distance between Seattle and the basketball courts? And the answer is, based on Mars Hill and wind projects around the world is-- about 1/2 mile. Depending upon the wind, topography.... 2-3,000 feet, you're not gonna hear them.

Here's a quote from a resident in Mars Hill--that northern Maine town that Mr. King references as having residents living only 1,000 feet away from the wind facility...

"The closest resident is about 900 feet, the next closest is 1200 feet, the next 1400, the next 2 at about 1600 feet, one at 1800 feet, about 4... are at about 24 - 2600 feet, two more at about 3000 feet, two more at about 34 -3600 feet and one at about 4000 feet. The turbines keep many of us awake at night. I know that the house at 3600 feet has nights of disturbed sleep and the woman of the house gets migraines (turbines make them worse)."

Angus King's words, again:

"And by the way, what you hear from these things.... somebody wrote in about "The roar of the turbines" Come on! There's no noise at all from the machine. The machinery, the gears and stuff are all enclosed in this sound-proof box. You could stand from here to that wall and not hear that.

"There's not a sound issue, there's not a health issue, there's not a bird issue, there's not a wildlife issue-- if you want to see the effects of wind turbines on wildlife... on animals... go to... google image...put in 'wind turbines cows' and you'll see hundreds of pictures of wind turbines and cows sitting around underneath them... completely unconcerned, doing whatever it is cows do....."

Well. All else aside-- I don't believe that cows are known for 'sitting'. But I could be wrong.

And so could Angus King. I have spoken to people who live much further away from a turbine development than one-half mile who are very affected by the unmistakable high, low and ultra-low frequency noises. Mr. King is famous for trivializing 'wind's' affects on those who live within a wind development's shadow. It's time that he, and other wind developers, took responsibility for the negative affects of these industrial facilities.

This is also a quote from our former governor:

"The neat thing about Highland-- except for those two camps, everybody else is twice the safe distance away. And the two camps, from talking to the people in Mars Hill... It's winter time, that's the problem... because you don't have the leaves on the trees, and that's when you hear them. The camps are summer camps. I think it's very unlikely that they'll have a problem. We're legally responsible for not creating a problem."

Those are Mr. King's own words. He admits that he's "legally responsible for not creating a problem." That's good to know.

That's good to know, because industrial wind developments are riddled with problems--here in Maine and around the globe. At least three of Maine's new industrial wind facilities are embroiled in disputes at the current time. And if Mainers are not able to call a time-out-- if we cannot call upon our legislators to take a measured and practical approach to the current proliferation of grid-scale wind facilities on our mountains-- then I predict that there will be many, many more conflicts and lawsuits.

This can be avoided. There are bills pending before the Maine Legislature which are designed to give experts the necessary time to study the true impacts of industrial wind. To determine whether those perceived benefits outlined in the preamble to the 'expedited wind law' are justifiable. To determine, using scientific methods, whether or not they are true.

The FACTS will speak for themselves... just like Mr. King speaks for himself.

Shown in photos, above: Blue-- a 'cow' from The F.A.R.M.
Perrin and Wendy Todd, Mars Hill, Maine
Greg and Jenn Perkins, Highland Plantation, Maine
Heidi and Justin Emery, Highland Plantation, Maine
Art and Cheryl Lindgren, Vinalhaven Island, Maine
Dan Bell, Highland Plantation, Maine

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