Public makes noise on wind regulations

PSB hosts discussion on sound limits

By Tom Benton

Staff Writer

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The Facts

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“We keep hearing ‘in reality.’ The ‘reality’ is the people living with it.”

- Sally Collopy, Fairfield

 

MONTPELIER — The Public Service Board (PSB) held its second workshop to gather information regarding industrial wind sound limits in Montpelier on Jan. 9. This time, members of the public dominated the proceeding.

The Vermont legislature has tasked the PSB with creating sound regulations for industrial wind facilities by July 1. The PSB held an initial information-gathering workshop on Dec. 2, at which government agencies, specifically the Department of Public Service, dominated the proceedings. Members of the public in attendance criticized the PSB for not allowing the public due time, so the board established a follow-up workshop session.

The last workshop took several hours, from mid-morning until the early evening. The second workshop took only two-and-a-half. There were just two presentations, by Les Blomberg, director of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, a Montpelier-based national non-profit devoted to combating “noise pollution,” and by Olivia Campbell Anderson, the executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, another Montpelier-based non-profit, in this case supporting industrial efforts to increase renewable energy.

It was an even split between those advocating for tighter restrictions on industrial wind, arguing higher wind sound levels damage human health, and those advocating for less-harsh regulation, arguing strict restrictions on wind projects damage the economic prospects for renewable energy in Vermont. But those tighter-regulation advocates dominated the floor, with almost a dozen members of the public present to support them and voice their own concerns, sitting around the small conference room adorned in their trademark lime-green reflective vests.

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