Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inequality in Maine...And an Opportunity to Right a Wrong

These Maine citizens lost an important right... 

No, let me rephrase that.

These Maine citizens are the victims of a flawed law, passed in 2008, that REMOVED -- without warning, without the affected parties' input and without their permission -- a basic right they had previously enjoyed.  It is a right still owned by more than 99% of their fellow Mainers.


What so special about these guys?  Or more appropriately....what makes them LESS worthy than their counterparts?  Is this small fraction of Mainers made up of people who are too short to merit equal rights?  Or maybe too tall...or too old?  Too bald?  Too hairy, too poor, too dumb?


No, what's special about this select group of Mainers has nothing to so with their physical appearance or their mental acuity.  These folks had their rights taken from them simply because they made their homes in rural locations that the powerful Wind Industry coveted.  And the Industry, smarting from a denial of their permit to build an industrial wind energy facility at Redington/Black Nubble, set out to change the laws that allowed these rural citizens to 'have a say' in any zoning decisions in their communities.    


Most of us didn't realize what had happened until months later.  Some didn't learn about it for years.  And other rural Mainers still do not know that their right to 'due process' disappeared with the Emergency enactment of the Wind Energy Act.


LD 616 is an attempt to right that wrong by giving those impacted by the law a means to remove their communities from the Expedited Permitting Area, which was established as part of the WEA. This is a critical bill...not just for those few thousand Mainers who've been disenfranchised...but for every single Mainer who is wondering..."Who will be next?" It's important for every Mainer who looks at their loved ones and asks themselves... "Would I be okay with this is it were MY family who'd lost their rights?"


LD 616 is important because it is about treating all Mainers fairly.  It's about allowing the people who live in a community to have a voice in the future of their home towns.  This bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support in the House in 2013 but the Senate held it over for 'further review'.  Well, the review has been undertaken.  The Committee voted Ought to Pass, once again.  Now... LD 616 will be coming up for a second vote in the House any day now. 


These people need the help of Mainers all across the state.  WE need your help.  Please contact your Representative and Senator today and ask them to vote in favor of LD 616. Restoring Citizens' Rights is the right thing to do.  Thank you!

126th Senate email addresses:


126th House email addresses:

 rbbeavers@comcast.net, henry.beck@gmail.com, RepSeth.Berry@legislature.maine.gov, sixwings@metrocast.net, bolduc74@yahoo.com, sheryljbriggs@gmail.com, joeandmary@myfairpoint.net, scampbell1936@yahoo.com, RepMichael.Carey@legislature.maine.gov, acasavant@maine.rr.com, kcaugusta@gmail.com, chapmanHD37@gmail.com, justinchenette@gmail.com, Ben.Chipman@legislature.maine.gov, cooperjanice0@gmail.com, mattie@mattiedaughtry.com, dechantforbath@gmail.com, mick@mickdevin.org, lizzie.dickerson@gmail.com, jdill@umext.maine.edu, mndion@msn.com, AnnDorney@gmail.com, caa04@roadrunner.com, markweves@yahoo.com, omc@maine.rr.com, lorifowlehouse58@gmail.com, RepAaron.Frey@legislature.maine.gov, dgattine@aol.com, RepSara.Gideon@legislature.maine.gov, pegilbert@hotmail.com, RepAdam.Goode@legislature.maine.gov, apg1@maine.rr.com, RepGay.Grant@legislature.maine.gov, scott@scotthamann.com, deniseharlow@hotmail.com, terry@megalink.net, erinherbig@gmail.com, craighickman@rocketmail.com, RepBrian.Hubbell@legislature.maine.gov, representativebrianjones@gmail.com, ejorgensen@maine.rr.com, kaenrath@gmail.com, pskentz5@hotmail.com, RepTori.Kornfield@legislature.maine.gov, cbkruger@myfairpoint.net, wkumiega36@gmail.com, karen.kusiak@colby.edu, lajoie1@midmaine.com, RepNathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov, thomas.longstaff@gmail.com, louieluchini@gmail.com, bmacdon@roadrunner.com, andrew@andrewmason.pro, abby@psouth.net, jeffmccabe4me@gmail.com, psmcgow@aol.com, mcleanforgorham@gmail.com, waymitch10@hotmail.com, kmderrig@maine.rr.com, matt.moonen@gmail.com, smoriarty108@aol.com, tmorrison16@msn.com, nadeau1@roadrunner.com, mpn3@maine.rr.com, NoonforMaine@gmail.com, annpeoples116@msn.com, petersonhouse08@gmail.com, planteman33@comcast.net, cbpowers@me.com, cpriest1@comcast.net, jane.p.pringle@gmail.com, rankin8076@roadrunner.com, megan.rochelo@gmail.com, mrotundo@bates.edu, RepDiane.Russell@legislature.maine.gov, rykersonforkittery@gmail.com, lindafsanborn@gmail.com, saucierforpi@gmail.com, RepJeremy.Saxton@legislature.maine.gov, RepJohn.Schneck@legislature.maine.gov, utumike@aol.com, RepStanley.Short@legislature.maine.gov, Sipayik@midmaine.com, stanleyss@pioneercable.net, pstuckey114@yahoo.com, kent23@myfairpoint.net, oronoryan@gmail.com, RepSharon.Treat@legislature.maine.gov, arthurverow@hotmail.com, Villa98staterep@gmail.com, joanwelsh08@gmail.com, rw556@aol.com
RepBernard.Ayotte@legislature.maine.gov, mike@mikeformaine.org, bennettco2000@hotmail.com, russellblack@juno.com, dickcampbellllc@yahoo.com, kathydhchase@hotmail.com, tyleraclark@msn.com, cotta@fairpoint.net, dalecrafts@aol.com, dacray@msn.com, jarrodscrockett@gmail.com, RepDavis@midmaine.com, angus37@roadrunner.com, skime2@roadrunner.com, repduprey@me.com, espling2@securespeed.us, RepJoyce.Fitzpatrick@legislature.maine.gov, RepKenneth.Fredette@legislature.maine.gov, jeffery.gifford@gmail.com, RepJames.Gillway@legislature.maine.gov, repguerin@gmail.com, lanceharvell@hotmail.com, reproger.jackson@legislature.maine.gov, djhouse20@gmail.com, rumridge27@gmail.com, keschl@yahoo.com, repkinney@gmail.com, LGary.Knight@usa.net, RepAaron.Libby@legislature.maine.gov, rdl_chief@yahoo.com, smacdonald@maine.rr.com, gjmaker@gmail.com, rsmalaby@gmail.com, lindonfarm@sacoriver.net, mmcclell@maine.rr.com, cmcelwee@maine.rr.com, wtpfordist1@yahoo.com, mln@fairpoint.net, bob@bobnutting.com, RepWayne.Parry@legislature.maine.gov, RepJethro.Pease@legislature.maine.gov, RepAnita.Peaveyhaskell@legislature.maine.gov, mpouliot57@gmail.com, rogerreed60@gmail.com, deb.sanderson2010@gmail.com, RepHeather.Sirocki@legislature.maine.gov, jtimberlake_us@yahoo.com, repbethturner@gmail.com, RepTom.Tyler@legislature.maine.gov, avolk@volkboxes.com, wallace8540@roadrunner.com, wcw63@aol.com, alexander.willette@gmail.com, RepCorey.Wilson@legislature.maine.gov, ellenaw12@yahoo.com, twinsor@megalink.net, woodysnavy@aol.com



Monday, August 5, 2013

FIRST WIND'S BOWERS WIND PROJECT DENIED -- AGAIN!!

Below: The cover letter for the denial document sent to First Wind by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection...
The first Bowers Public Hearing in June of 2011 (LURC also denied the project.)

August 2013

Champlain Wind, LLC
129 Middle Street, Floor 3
Portland, Maine 04101

ATTN: Mr. Neil Kiely

RE: Site Location of Development Act/ Natural Resources Protection Act Applications, Carroll Plantation and Kossuth Township, #L-25800-24-A-N/#L-25800-TE-B-N/#L-25800-IW-C-N Denial

Sign for a free First Wind-sponsored dinner provided prior to the second
Public Hearing for those who would testify on behalf of the
Bowers project. 

Dear Mr. Kiely:

Please find enclosed a signed copy of the denial of your Department of Environmental Protection
applications for permits under the Site Location of Development Act and the Natural Resources
Protection Act. You will note that the denial includes a description of your project, and findings of fact that relate to the criteria the Department used in evaluating your project. The Department reviews every application thoroughly and strives to formulate reasonable findings of fact within the context of the Department’s environmental laws. You will also find attached some materials that describe the Department’s appeal procedures for your information.
 
Maine citizens testifies about the negative visual impacts of
grid-scale wind in the pristine Downeast Lakes region.
If you have any questions or concerns on how the Department processed this application please get in touch with me directly. I can be reached at (207) 446-9026 or at Jim.R.Beyer@maine.gov.

Sincerely,

James R. Beyer, Regional Licensing and Compliance Manager
Division of Land Resource Regulation

Bureau of Land & Water Quality
Press Conference in Lincoln about the negative impacts wind turbines would have on the
Bowers region's natural resource-based economy and locals' quality of life.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Voices From Woodstock


INTRODUCTION:  Below are some of the documented complaints that we have received over the past year or so.  They are from nineteen Woodstock area residents, families or households who have given their permission that we share them publicly.  They are representative of other comments/complaints we have received, both verbally and in writing.  The notes are separated by a row of asterisks, as immediately below, except in one series of notes that were an e-mail dialogue over several days, where we centered the asterisks in the line between the messages.  Thank you, The Woodstock Wind Ordinance Committee



March 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM 

Thanks for the information on the Wind Ordinance Committee.

I live in Milton Twp. approx. 3 mi. from the industrial wind site in Woodstock, so I don't know what my opinion will matter.  I can hear these things at times when the evening is calm and day to day noise has subsided.  Yes, it is annoying considering I built out here to get away from town, mill, and traffic noise.  My opinion is these things do not benefit anyone in this state other than a small amount of tax revenue. They did create a small number of specialty jobs at unbelievable cost, in my guess, that was indirectly paid by tax payers, [the working people]. I also wonder if taxes collected are enough to pay for the road damage that seems worse than normal this year.  Oh, I forgot to mention of having to look at these things on the mountains that drew me in and make a home here. 

Thanks for reading,

E. Milton Resident


April 4, 2012    

We purchased our land on Redding Road close to Shagg Pond in the summer of 2007 with plans to build in the next couple years.   We chose the location of the land for its peace and quiet, for its natural beauty, and for its distance from things man-made.  We had never heard of Patriot Renewables, and no one in the area had any knowledge of coming wind turbines. 

We built a small cabin in the fall of 2008 and by the summer of 2010 our dreams to build a small home came true.  I remember being on top of the roof in August of 2010 when a woman pulled up in a car and hollered something to me about windmills.  She asked if she could leave some papers on the truck windshield and that is the first time I remember hearing about them.  This woman was apparently opposed to the idea and was trying to gather others who felt the same way.  Busy building the house, I didn’t think much about it. 

By the summer of the following year (2011), we were living there full time but still with a lot of work to do on the house.  That is about the time we saw things beginning to happen.  There was talk that the road up near Concord Pond would be widened and that the logging we were hearing was to clear space for the wind farm.  Sure enough, things progressed rapidly.  We began to get literature from Patriot Renewables about the project.  We could hear the heavy equipment and the blasting. 

It must have been one day in late November or early December of 2011 that my wife and I were inside the house and she asked me if I heard something.  After listening, I replied that it was a jet plane.  We didn’t think much about it until the next day when one of us heard what we thought was another jet.  But this time we kept listening and the noise never went away.  We realized it couldn’t be a jet unless it was circling the area.  We went outside and listened.  It was constant.  It took a few moments and then it dawned on us that the sound was the wind turbines. 

Having lived with the turbines now for several months, it has become clear that the noise is loudest to us when the turbines are faced Northwest and the wind is coming from that direction.  Our home is in that path and I guess that’s why.  The wind comes over the blades directly toward us.  What is most interesting to me is that they seem loudest on the calmer days.  That is, if the wind is barely existent, I can really hear them roaring. 

These windmills have definitely impacted our home here.  If we had known they would be building them so close to us, and we’d known about it before we bought the land, we may be living somewhere else now.   

Shagg Pond Resident



4/10/12

(The following is our summary of verbal conversations with eight people from five households.)

The turbines are very disturbing!  We can’t see them much from our house, but they are loud, annoying and distracting from all around the Pond, even down into Sumner on the Redding Rd.  On the east side of the Pond they just loom over you!  They have changed the whole atmosphere and appreciation of the Pond for everyone who lives here, and they’re really going to devastate the people with camps when they show up!

Some days you hardly hear them, then others it’s loud much of the day, even indoors with the windows closed.  Quiet nights without much wind are some of the loudest times.  I hate to think what nights will sound like in warmer weather with the windows open!

Shagg Pond Residents


Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 8:18 AM
Subject: RE: wind ordinance committee
We would like to voice our concerns about the low level sound emissions from the wind towers. We are sure they do not violate the decibel levels, but after spending many days on the pond since March we were both affected by what appears to be the prop noise. Although they may not violate the approval levels, they certainly will affect our lives at Concord. We spend a great amount of time there and were hoping to spend 6 months a year on the pond as we prepare to retire. When the wind on the pond dies down, it is still windy on the mountain. The only noise we can hear at that time is the noise from the props. This is a constant thumping and whooshing that is 24 hours a day. It appears to be affecting our sleep and we have had headaches the entire time we were there that we can definitely attribute to the noise. When we leave, the headaches subside within a few hours.
We are very concerned about the quality of life. We also hope that you will keep the record open so that others get a chance to weigh in. Not many people are there at this time of year, but more are coming back as the weather improves. The once quiet, serene and remote pond is now going to be a nightmare for many. We expect you will hear from others when the full impact is known.
We are also very concerned about the wildlife and the impact this may have on their well-being. The loons and others are returning as usual, but will this interfere with their habitat?
Thank you,
A Couple on Concord Pond


Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:59 AM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
RE: Spruce Mountain Wind Towers and Concord Pond

We are camp owners on Concord Pond.  We recently were able to get into camp for the first time this season.  Our observations and findings regarding the wind towers were quite upsetting.  They include:

Noise
Turbine noise that sounds like a plane is just about ready to pass overhead, but never arrives
Turbine noise that intermittently produces an unnatural wind sound; whoosh, whoosh, thump
Turbine noise that reminds you of the buzzing that occurs when a mosquito is around your ear
No escaping the low sound emissions

Visual
The view from various places on the pond is destroyed
The simulations presented by the company did not accurately portray the realty

Our hope is that observations will be considered should any further wind projects be addressed by the town.

Thank you,

A Couple on Concord Pond

         

Date: 07/27/2012 11:28 AM
Subject: Woodstock Wind Ordinance

As residents of Concord Pond in Woodstock we would like to express our concerns about the wind ordinance being created for the Town of Woodstock.

We support the committee's efforts to create an ordinance, but we would propose stricter setbacks and noise levels than the current state standards. We believe these should be located no closer than 3 miles from any homes and that the decibel levels should be set lower.

The Spruce Mountain wind project is an industrial usage in a rural setting. We are situated on a pond surrounded by mountains and believe this creates a unique topography that captures the sounds of the towers on Concord Pond. We are currently spending a great deal of time on the pond and are experiencing sound levels and types of sounds that are detrimental to our health.  The towers may not be above the levels required, but they are too close and repetitive. We are approximately 1.5 miles away but have been experiencing headaches, lack of sleep and are aware of a pulsing background noise. Some days are quiet and some are nearly unmanageable.

We understand that the Spruce Mountain project is completed and will probably not be affected by the ordinance.   We hope that Woodstock residents will take into consideration what has and is happening to some of their neighbors as a result of the current project and create an ordinance that will protect everyone from future development.

Respectfully, a Couple on Concord Pond
          
Date: 07/16/2012 08:59 PM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
Subject: RE: Woodstock Wind Ordinance

I have contacted the Spruce Mountain hotline and been on the phone with Dawn Hallowell of Maine DEP and Tetra, Patriots acoustical people. Tetra is meeting me at our camp at Concord Pond tomorrow (Tuesday) at 12:30 PM to set up a 5 hour monitoring. Dawn asked them for the monitoring data from the remote monitoring site on the Concord Pond side of Spruce Mountain, and apparently there is no data as the mice have eaten the wires. Convenient!

A Concord Pond Resident

       

From: Hallowell, Dawn <Dawn.Hallowell@maine.gov>
Date: Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Subject: RE: Sound Monitoring for SMW

A mouse did eat the wires and data was not available for the date of the Concord Pond resident’s complaint. SMW is responsible for getting it back up and running until the Department has reviewed and issued a decision regarding its pending amendment application to stop the requirement of continuous sound monitoring at the facility.
Dawn Hallowell, Licensing & Compliance Manager, Central Maine Region
Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station | Augusta ME 04333  
                                                                                               
From: Hallowell, Dawn [mailto:Dawn.Hallowell@maine.gov]
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 2:57 PM
Subject: FW: Spruce Sound complaint

Mr. ----------

Here is a copy of the TechEnvironmental report from the monitoring conducted on July 17, 2012 in response to a complaint you filed on July 15. 

The Department agrees with its expert and finds that the project was operating in compliance on both July 17 & 19 2012.

Dawn Hallowell
Licensing & Compliance Manager, Central Maine Region
Department of Environmental Protection

                                                                              
Date: 08/07/2012 12:49 PM
To: "'Hallowell, Dawn”, Maine DEP
CC: Woodstock Wind Committee
Subject: RE: Spruce Sound complaint

 Ms Dawn Hallowell

There are several points I would like to touch on concerning the sound test report done on July 17 by Tech Environmental.

First of all the noise level that I witnessed during the sound test on July 17th was NOT at the same level as when the complaint was made on July 15th.  The sound technician reports in the paragraph on page 2 of the report, and I quote, “The SMW turbines operated under wind conditions that produced maximum sound power on July 17 (hub-height winds above 8 m/s), and operated at a higher level than at the time of the complaint on July 15 when hub-height average wind speeds were below 8 m/s. Power production by the four closest turbines (T8 through T11) at the time of the complaint totaled 1,103 kW and were relatively low all day on July 15. By comparison, power production by these same four turbines during the sound compliance test was higher, in the range of 1,699 kW to 2,397 kW."  He then makes the assumption that, “Thus, there is a greater POTENTIAL for turbine sound impacts during the test on July 17 than at the time of the noise complaint on July 15.”  I can attest that on July 15 (for whatever reason) the noise was much louder than on the day of the sound test July 17.   Conditions were not the same as Tetra contended, as I was at the camp on both days!

Secondly, I would like to say that the jet sound we hear at the pond is from the turbines and not a jet going overhead. There is a difference as the Jet goes away; however, the turbine jet sound varies with wind direction and may not go away for hours. I point to the local Bethel Citizen weekly newspaper released on July 26 2012. The headlines are, “Neighbors of Spruce Mountain Wind complain of ‘aircraft’, ‘freight train’ like sounds”, and these claims are made by several people, not just me - whom the sound technician quickly, (without any basis), dismisses. 

After several days of quietness and low level noise on Concord Pond, (during which time the towers appeared to be shut down for hours at a time), the towers once again reached the level of great annoyance on August 4. At approximately 10:30 – 11:00pm on August 4 until 1:00am on August 5, and again between approximately 5:00 am – 7: am August 5, the towers were very annoying. I called in the complaint on the morning of August 6 as I did not have the hotline number with me at the time it was occurring. Spruce Mountain Wind’s representative immediately called me back and stated that he was talking to a Concord Pond resident with a camp on the opposite end of the lake from us, and that camp owner stated that a plane was buzzing the pond at approximately 11:15 on the night of August 4. I acknowledged that there was a helicopter that passed over our end of the pond directly over our camp, and it appeared to be a life flight. It passed over our camp at low level and was gone in less than 15 seconds. It later returned on its path presumably to the Lewiston/Auburn facilities approximately ½ hour later, again being gone from hearing distance within 15 seconds.  No plane was buzzing the pond. Before, during, and for some time after the helicopter had returned - the wind towers were very annoying. Whoosh – Whoosh and an occasional distant jet sound was present.  This reoccurred in the morning of August 5 between 5am and 7am.

 Conclusion:  The SMW representative has told me they are working on the problem to try and see what is going on, so as to come up with a solution. I appreciate this and offer my services in any way I might be of help. I for one love Concord Pond and hope to be able to spend many more years enjoying what Concord Pond has offered in the past: quiet solitude at night with daytime sounds of kids and loons enjoying the pond.

Witnessing what I have so far this summer on the few times I have been able to go to the pond – I believe that a return to this is not likely going to happen.  I believe that further setbacks are required in the mountain regions, especially within the reaches of our ponds, as evident with Concord.

I do hope however, that this can be resolved at Concord Pond so that my only resort is NOT to try and find another water body to reside on.
   
Thank you for your help

Sincerely,

A Concord Pond Resident

          

Date: 08/08/2012 09:04 AM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
Subject: Sound test

I meant to attach this to the last email.

FYI, SMW is holding a meeting at the wind tower maintenance building on the Shagg Pond Road @ 6pm on 8/14/2012. They are getting together to hammer out details on setting up a two-week sound study at the north end of the Pond. I have been invited to attend – which I will. I will keep you informed if you are not invited.

My biggest concerns are that the test is being put together with Spruce Mountain Wind’s knowledge.  I feel it’s like the fox protecting the chicken pen. I think that a third party sound test should be done on a surprise basis during a time at which they do not know they are being monitored.  Because SMW can, at all times, control the speed of the turbines, they are currently at the controls of all test results. I for one am not comfortable with this conflict of interest.

I understand it is a step in the right direction and welcome the test, but hold little confidence, at this time, that it will accurately depict the levels we are hearing at random times on the pond. I suspect that this is not the last step.

A Concord Pond Resident

         

Date: 07/19/2012 04:21 PM
To: bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net
Subject: Please support wind turbine ordinance

Dear Woodstock Residents,

I am writing to ask your support for the ordinance to put regulations and controls in place concerning wind power in our town. Wind energy companies and town governments must improve their communication with property owners, and compensate owners most negatively impacted.

Impact:
I am a long time summer resident. My family bought a cottage on the East Shore of Shagg Pond 40 plus years ago. Four generations of my family have come to enjoy the quiet peaceful landscape, listen to the loons and swim in the refreshing waters of Shagg Pond. Each family member has been shocked upon arriving this summer to find 3 huge wind turbines looming above and directly in front of our cottage. We can see and hear 9 turbines but 3 are so close, and at times so loud, that our cottage environment is no longer peaceful.

Poor Communication:
The town never sent any official, unbiased information to out-of-town tax payers so the only source of information we received was from Patriot Energy. Public Meetings were advertised only in newspapers that summer residents don’t typically subscribe to. As summer residents we were left out of the loop and the wind turbines are a done deal without us having any input.

Misleading Information:
When I heard about the wind turbines from a year-round resident I called Patriot Energy. The information I was given was misleading and the only information they offered was via their website and infrequent newsletter. I was told that they would not be visible from Shagg Pond and I would only be able to see the turbines if I could see the meteorological test tower.  From my view, the test tower was off to the side and partially hidden. Turns out, the turbines are VERY visible from my east shore. I directly face them and they are 400 feet high. Nothing to block the sound or sight. When it is windy the noise is terrible. WUMP, WUMP, WUMP - plus a jet plane going overhead, but it never passes. 

Loss without compensation:
I assumed that I would be receiving a tax abatement since my property has obviously lost value.  The town does not plan to do re-assessments. I was told they rely only on sales data, so until someone sells their property, there will be no abatements. All the cottages on the east shore have been passed down through generations, so the families who have lost property value and quality of life will not be compensated in any way - No reduction in energy costs and no tax abatement. This is very unfair. I feel like I have been robbed!

A Shagg Pond Family

          

Date: 07/19/2012 02:22 PM

To: bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net

My wife and I have owned our camp on Shagg Pond for approximately 10 years. We live and work in Brunswick, Maine. Our camp has provided us with a sanctuary and escape from the daily grind for many years. Shagg Pond has always been abundant in natural beauty and solitude, and I have always felt very fortunate to own a small piece of property so rich in beauty and so close to home.

When describing my camp, I would tell my friends that it felt like being in a far- away place. The only sounds were those of nature; wind, water, loons and the occasional passing motorist or barking dog.

Last year I was informed of the Patriot Wind Energy turbine project. I read everything available, including the noise propagation study, to prepare myself for the coming shift. I am a retired paper mill electrical engineer, so technology is something I understand and appreciate.

I watched with interest as the turbine construction advanced and was finally completed. I even took the tour to get a closer look at the completed project. My first experience visiting my camp after turbine startup was discouraging. The wind direction was such that the turbines atop Spruce Mt. were in a direct line with my camp. The noise was something akin to the low deep rumble of a freight train in combination with a passing jet aircraft. I was disheartened by the noise but also in the realization that Shagg Pond would never again be the magnificent natural sanctuary many generations had loved and treasured for so long.

Being an engineer, I mostly consider myself unlucky.  We are told that wind turbine technology is the future. My camp was once a gem. Now, not so much. More care in planning and execution of turbine siting could virtually eliminate or greatly reduce much of the public anger. The 2 most northerly turbines closest to Shagg Pond likely contribute 90% of the noise radiated to the Shagg Pond basin. 

As with all large revenue producing projects, economics are at play. Low density residential areas present a low economic risk, when measured against litigation costs and the intangible cost of public protests.

An intelligent compromise is real and exists within the ordinance that is being presented by local Woodstock residents. An ordinance will empower the town and provide protection to its citizens to the extent defined by its citizens. Patriot Wind Energy is motivated by profits. Period. I don't doubt they have an interest in being a good corporate neighbor. But an ordinance is like insurance, ready and available, only when needed.  It helps encourage and enforce a process of checks and balances, protecting all citizens.

My wife and I accept the Patriot Wind Energy project as it exists, but strongly believe a well written ordinance would encourage the implementation of best practices into the management of future wind projects.  
 
Sincerely,

 A Couple on Shagg Pond

          

Date: 08/07/2012 06:01 AM
Subject: Loud Days

Saturday night and all day Sunday were excessive. We were with friends on the south end of the Pond, and they thought it loud, too. We will not forget to call you the next time!  We will be back up on Saturday until Tuesday. Thanks for your concern!

A Couple on Concord Pond

           

Date: 08/08/2012 05:45 PM
To: bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net
Subject: Loud Days

Very loud this morning between 4:40 say till about 6:00.

Thanks,

Shagg Pond Resident

           

Date: 08/10/2012 08:50 PM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
Subject: RE: Sound test

Thanks for your suggestion of inviting Committee and other interested Woodstock residents to our end of the pond to hear the turbines when they are loud.  It would probably be best that you  bring people to the public boat ramp at Concord Pond to observe the towers rather than to someone’s private property. 

We need to stop this assault on the public as they are unaware of what is about to happen to them if a project is within their hearing range. We will likely have to relocate to reach the serenity that we have known at Concord Pond for so many years, but if we can save one other family from the same demise, we are here to help!         

Thanks for listening and for your support,

A Concord Pond Resident

         

Date: 08/13/2012 03:16 PM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
Re: A Neighbor’s Complaint

We have a camp on the north end of Concord Pond, and a neighbor told us today of her recent turbine noise experience.  Late last week she was jogging with her I-Pod on, and the wind tower noise was so loud it was interfering with her hearing the songs. She said that she called the Spruce Mountain Wind hotline, but no one has gotten back to her.  I wonder if that might be due to the recommendation of Patriot’s acoustical people that they no longer address noise complaints from our side of the pond! 

The relevant parts of Tech Environmental’s report following their investigation into other recent noise complaints are pasted below:  

         

August 13, 2012

Ms. Dawn Hallowell, Licensing & Compliance Manager, Maine DEP

Re: Independent Review of the Noise Complaints from the north end of Concord Pond, August 4, 5, and 6, Spruce Mountain Wind

Tech Environmental, Inc. (TE) has completed an independent review of the noise complaints lodged by X and Y. X called on August 6 and stated the “towers were really annoying” on Saturday August 4 starting at 11 p.m., and again on Sunday August 5 at 5 a.m. Y called twice, first at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 5 and said the “towers are quite loud,” and again at 6:40 a.m. on Monday August 6.

Conclusions Regarding Future Complaints

From the measurements and data analyzed in the two sets of complaints regarding the X and Y properties on July 24-25 and August 4-6, and from the measurements TE made on X’s property on July 17, it is my professional opinion that any turbine related sounds heard on the north side of Concord Pond will not exceed 45 dBA at their properties on Concord Pond. Forty-five dBA is the lowest Maine DEP sound limit in the SMW SLOD permit. Thus, there is no need for Tech Environmental to do a quantitative analysis of sound levels in response to any future complaints that may be received from residents on the north side of Concord Pond.

Sincerely yours,

TECH ENVIRONMENTAL, INC.
Peter H. Guldberg, INCE, CCM

         

I for one am outraged!!!

A Concord Pond Resident     

            

Date: 8/30/2012 08:20 AM

Dear Wind Committee,

Today is a good day to come and listen to the windmills near our house. They are as loud as I have heard them, especially persistent and disconcerting. The weather is clear with no wind in our valley but a northerly wind on the ridge.

Shagg Pond Resident

         

Date: 09/20/2012 06:16 AM
Subject: RE: SMW Noise Test

I called the SMW hot line again this last weekend. It has been awful. We believe that now it is September and the winds are more prominent, we may be hearing them a bit more like they would normally be prior to the quieter spell of the previous two or three weeks. If that is the case, I don't see how we will survive. My husband is hearing it at night now and understands the blood sounds in our heads while trying to sleep.

The Sound Study equipment is still on the shore of the Pond, and we've heard no responses or calls from anyone about its results. The blood noise I mention above is what happens at night. I wake up and my head aches and is pounding. I had one night that the pain was so bad I could not lift my head from the pillow. My husband and I compared notes and it feels like our blood pressure/pulse are reverberating in our heads in sync with the towers. This weekend the windows were closed because it was cold and the noise was not as loud, but I still woke up every hour or so with the pounding. I’m hoping to find time to read some articles on wind turbine syndrome. We also spend more time at our camp than nearly anyone else on the pond. That may be why we are more in tune to them.

Prior to the last few weeks it was loud only on random days. Since Labor Day (or thereabouts) it seems to be 24/7 every weekend. The wind is obviously more prominent now. Think we just had such a hot, quiet summer that it was not happening that often. All visitors have noticed and said that it may be below the requirements, but that it not something that they could live with. We have tried to keep an open mind and see if we can live with it, but after the last three weekends it doesn't bode well.

We are devastated. We are currently in the process of selling our house - on the market two days and already have an offer! So we will not make any decisions yet as we need to wait until we are resettled.

I know this is the emotional part, but this was our dream. We have had a tough life and the last few years have been good to us, so we were able to buy a camp and help make a dream come true. We searched for two years for something we could afford, and we have been so happy there. We know we will not get what we paid for it 5 years ago, let alone the money we have put into it structurally. When we purchased it the front porch was totally rotten, there was no outhouse and the camp was falling over. We have put our hearts and souls into this and still had so many plans.  We had hoped to live there six months of the year starting in 2013.

A Couple on Concord Pond

           

Date: 09/20/2012 11:04 AM
To: <bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net>
Subject: RE: SMW Noise Test

Dear Committee:

Noise at Concord Pond was awful Saturday the 15th and seems to be getting worse with the climate change and foliage drop. My wife and I have decided that we will ready the camp for sale as it is obvious that we will no longer enjoy the serenity of the pond. We do not see the towers from our camp and thought we had dodged a bullet - how untrue. We sit on the deck and start to read a book or do some studying and low and behold the wind changes and the sound of the towers breaks our solitude.

I am truly saddened by the fact that the project was allowed to be sighted where it is and hope that the town of Woodstock and DEP officials realize that if they allow the project to expand that it will affect others elsewhere in town. Maybe it will be one of them next time! I wish this on no one and am happy for the townspeople who say they can't hear them or they are not bothered by them.  I wish I were one of them.

I can only hold to the great many memories since first coming here in the early 50's and wish the rest of Woodstock the best in the future with whatever they decide. I cannot have a vote as I am not a resident. Time to move on.

Best wishes –

A Woodstock Property Owner and Concord Pond Resident

           

Date: 12/01/2012  08:35 AM

(Phone Message)

I wanted to let you know the windmills are the loudest we've ever heard them this morning.  They are absolutely roaring.  The noise started a couple hours ago and woke us up.  Please stop over if you can to get a dB reading.

Shagg Pond Resident

        

Date 12/01/2012  10:02 AM

(Phone Message from same person as directly above)

If you didn’t get my earlier message, don’t come over.  The noise has died down in the last twenty minutes or so, and there’s now not much volume to measure.  Sorry we missed you on the phone earlier.

Shagg Pond Resident

        

Date: 12/01/2012 09:05 AM
(e-mail from a different resident than the two phone calls, above.)

Just wanted to let you know the windmills are the loudest we've ever heard right now. We have music playing and the washer running and the noise is roaring above them.

Shagg Pond Resident

          

Date: 03/06/2013 02:15 PM
To: "news@bethelcitizen.com" <news@bethelcitizen.com>
Subject: Please support the wind ordinance for Woodstock

I applaud the members of the Woodstock wind ordinance committee for their dedication and work on the wind ordinance.  Assuming the voters of Woodstock support the ordinance, their sacrifice of time and energy will benefit us and future generations who value the beauty and peace of our lovely western mountains by preventing further degradation of our landscape.

My family has owned a rustic cabin on Shagg pond in Woodstock for over 40 years. Each spring the extended family negotiates for their vacation time in the quiet and solitude of the pond. It is such a respite from the stress and demands of our lives. We were all extremely disappointed last summer to arrive and be confronted with 9 wind turbines directly in front of the cottage. Even more disturbed by the loud jet plane noise that came up at random times during our stays and often did not recede for hours.

We, as summer residents, although tax payers, were poorly informed of the plans for these turbines, had no say in their approval and are receiving no benefit from their electricity. We discovered that one of my brothers, who lives in Concord, Mass., actually has the choice to choose the green energy generated by these turbines.

I urge residents to support the wind ordinance and its efforts to limit noise and intrusion of further wind turbines on the landscape of our area.

Thank you,

A Long-Time Shagg Pond Resident

         

Date: 3/6/13
To: Letter to the Editor, Bethel Citizen

To those that have an interest in the wind towers of Woodstock, Maine, I would encourage your support of a wind ordinance.  As a camp owner on Big Concord Pond, I am writing to offer my insight and perspective on the importance of a wind ordinance for every town, large or small. Our camp was the first built on this remote wilderness pond, and it was positioned with stunning mountain views to the South. We enjoy afternoon sun, a steady breeze off the water and gorgeous sunsets.

We were not happy at the original prospect of the wind tower farm for all the reasons presented from previous projects, such as noise, flicker, flash and the ominous presence of the massive towers and blades.  Unfortunately the camp owners of Big Concord Pond do not live in Woodstock and had no vote on the towers being permitted.

The wind towers have been very bothersome when the atmospheric conditions are present to perpetuate certain issues. When the blades are positioned toward the sun, (with a westerly wind and afternoon western sun position), there is a reflective "flash" for each blade of each wind tower and a "flicker" shadow from each blade of every tower. These words- flash and flicker- held little true meaning until we experienced the effect for ourselves. With eight towers in
our direct view, we have 24 blades spinning, catching this reflective flash and flicker. It is quite hard to look in the direction of the towers when this occurs. It literally causes some to have seizures, headache, nausea or dizziness...it definitely causes distress.

The noise is a real problem, as well. When there is a high level wind blowing toward the pond and the pond has little or no wind at the lower levels, the noise is quite irritating- even inside the cottage. This is a common occurrence, as the pond is situated in a mountain bowl. Another big
change to our vista is the night sky. On dark nights when the best night view was of only shooting stars, we now look at flashing red tower lights.

The biggest impact to us, however, has been a business issue. In 1996 we began a vacation rental business. The Cottage became one of our several rental properties for families to enjoy in the summer weeks. We have consistently rented it between 7 and 10 weeks each summer through fall. The remote area, no electricity, serene, private location and great mountain views were our advertising promotional points. With the wind towers’ construction, we felt an obligation to our clients to inform them of the wind towers.

This is what one of our advertising sites says, "The Lake Cottage is a vintage Maine camp set within feet of the sandy beach of Concord Pond. It has a large grass yard, with a fire pit and babbling springtime stream in the back yard. There is much privacy with a small camp on one side and conservation land on the other. The water front is very private with southern mountain views and a dock with canoe for your use. This is a remote mountain pond that is very serene. The area has no electricity which adds to the charm. The cabin is equipped with gas lights and appliances and has cold running water, gravity fed from the mountain stream. A true off the grid
experience, with the ironic twist that the south-west views are of a modern wind farm supplying green energy to the rest of New England."

Even with a bad economy for several past years we have still done very well with summer rentals as this is a reasonable summer vacation without a lot of travel expense for New England families. This past summer, however, with the presence of the towers was quite a different scenario. The loss of business at the Cottage was dramatic. Several long time renters opted to look for another location. With our tax returns finished for 2012, our revenue at the camp was off by almost exactly 60% over the income from 2011.

I strongly urge residents to approve a wind ordinance before further damage is done.

Thank You,


A Concord Pond Cottage Owner


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