Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Woodstock Wind Ordinance Committee

Bob Elliott -- Denise Hall -- Dennis Poland -- Charlie Reiss -- Marc Wentworth

                                                                   WELCOME TO BETHEL RESIDENTS!
                                                                                  November 10, 2017
                                                                      Bob Elliott, Intervale Rd., Bethel
                                                                   e-mail:  bpwindcomm@oxfordnetworks.net

Although the science of sound and human health is not that of space travel, it cannot be captured in a sound-bite.  I chaired the Woodstock Wind Ordinance Committee from the fall of 2011 until after the Town voted to approve our Ordinance in late March of 2013.  In those years, and in the nearly five years since, working with other towns on Industrial Wind Power issues, I've learned most of the science behind good community regulation of the Wind Industry and much of the personal experience of people who live too close to where Industrial Wind Farms have been sited.

I am not anti-wind!  I am an ecologist and environmental educator who has supported “green energy” since the late 1960s!  I think wind is fine as long as the facility is sited well away from where people live and work.  And I believe that solar is the wave of the “now” and the “future”.  It is silent, or nearly so, and can be sited to have a very low visual impact.  I encourage you to drive up to Mt. Abram and see and "listen" to the solar system they’ve built to provide the power to make snow!

Patriot Renewables' Spruce Mountain project was already permitted by the State DEP when our Woodstock Wind Ordinance Committee was appointed.  By the time we started work on the Ordinance in September, 2011, the project was under construction and began operating in late December of that year under State DEP rules. 

With all due respect, the State did a very poor job of designing reasonable and appropriate noise levels and setbacks.  It appears that they didn't care two hoots about how their rules would affect quiet rural Maine communities.  It appears that they were primarily intent on getting as much wind power developed in Maine as quickly, and as profitably (for a few), as possible.  They then "expedited" the process, which made it harder or impossible for local communities to control their own fates!  

The "Proposed Revised Bethel Wind Ordinance", discussed at the Public Hearing on October 30,
 has very similar noise level and setback regulations to the State DEP, (and Spruce Mountain).  If the "Revised Bethel Ordinance" is approved on November 13 , Bethel will then have the same inadequate regulations and unhealthy living conditions as Woodstock.  These will provide little protection from too-loud noise and too-short setbacks when an Industrial Wind Energy Facility is built in Bethel.  I urge you not to approve Bethel's Revised Ordinance by voting "NO" on November 13!

Before we get to the science, I ask you to experience what it's like living with Wind Turbines regulated by the State DEP.  Please read the two letters just below, the read as much of the citizen input as your time allows by clicking on the folder, “Woodstock Comments and Complaints”, at the top of this homepage.

Then, to provide the factual and scientific information that we all need to know to make good decisions about your town's Wind Ordinance, I offer four short pieces, in  the tab, "Bethel and Greenwood Wind Ordinance Resources", at the top of this page.  I believe that until each Town's Board members have read these, and incorporated their science into writing a reasonable and safe Wind Ordinance, they will not have done "due diligence" in upholding their responsibility to provide for the welfare of their town's residents.  

I have made these resources as concise as possible while providing enough of the science to make the case that the Maine DEP’s permitting process for Industrial Wind, and the current version of the proposed Bethel “Commercial Wind Energy Facility Ordinance”, are both inadequate to protect human health, well-being, and peace of mind. 

I wrote the first piece, 1. “The Very Basic Science of Sound”; the second piece, 2. "Peace of Mind", to explain the graph below my explanation; the introductions to scientific studies written by others; and the fourth piece, 4. "Setbacks".  The authors of the graph in 2. and of piece 3. are clearly identified on each.  A fifth and longer piece on the health effects of infrasound is included on our website.

I suggest you read these in the order presented here.  
My introductions and a few comments within the pieces are enclosed in brackets with my initials inside them, as: [BE: …..]

Thank you for being here!     

The rest of this Home Page hasn't been used much since the spring of 2013, so most of the material below was provided before April, 2013. 

The Woodstock Wind Ordinance Committee was a group of volunteers, appointed by Woodstock’s Selectmen in the spring of 2011, who met regularly from September, 2011 until April, 2013, after the Ordinance was approved at the March Town Meeting. The purpose of the Committee was to study the effects of the current Spruce Mountain Wind project and to write a Commercial Wind Energy Facility Ordinance that would best meet the needs of the citizens of Woodstock.

To view a partial list of comments and complaints about the SMW project that were sent to us, please visit the Comments - Complains tab at the top of the page or click the link below for a word document version:

Please join us at the Woodstock  Elementary School on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7:00PM when we vote on the finished wind ordinance below:
Letter to the Boards

To access the committee's meeting minutes, dated in a "Year-Month-Day" format for chronological sorting, please click the link below: