Noise Affected Neighbours Fightback: Wind Industry Can’t Treat Homeless Victims as ‘Collateral Damage’

Paul Brouha’s home and his nightly tormentors.

 

Life next to industrial wind turbines is a living hell for far too many rural residents.

Practically incessant turbine-generated low-frequency noise and infra-sound drives neighbours nuts, preventing them from sleeping in – and otherwise enjoying the comforts of – their very own homes.

An Australian Court found long-term exposure to wind turbine noise to be a pathway to disease: Australian Court Finds Wind Turbine Noise Exposure a ‘Pathway to Disease’: Waubra Foundation Vindicated

And that decision only adds to the wind industry’s greatest fear that, one day soon, the unvarnished law will be applied in favour of their thousands of victims.

The common law tort of nuisance protects property rights by preventing the unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of land by, among other things, excessive noise: Judge finds case to answer in Falmouth Nuisance Claim

Wind power outfits alive to the risk of multi-million-dollar payouts bully and coerce neighbours into entering what are euphemistically called ‘good neighbour agreements’, by which the neighbour signs away every statutory and common law right that might protect them, in exchange for a paltry few thousand dollars a year: Wind Farm Neighbours Forced to Sign Away All Legal Rights in ‘Good Neighbour Agreements’

That Faustian ‘deal’ literally involves signing your life away.

The next line in the wind industry’s ‘defence’ to threats of legal action is to quietly purchase their victims properties, using bullet-proof gag clauses to shut them up, forevermore: Victorian Planning Department involved in Waubra Wind Farm Non-Compliance Cover Up

In the US, actions in nuisance pursued by neighbours have got as far as having the jury impaneled – only to be settled in a panic – before the plaintiffs got to put their stories of intolerable suffering at the hands of the wind industry to their peers: US Wind Farm Operator Settles to Shut Down Neighbours’ Dynamite Damages Case

The wind industry operates like a team of state-sanctioned thieves, destroying the value of neighbouring properties with complete impunity, if not active encouragement by governments and regulators: No Retreat & No Surrender: Wind Industry’s Victims Left Furious at Government Inaction

The farmers that do business with them fair no better: SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

Wind power outfits pay peanuts to spear their turbines into the back paddocks of the gullible and the naïve. And pay absolutely nothing to gut the value of their neighbour’s land.

However, in that litigious land of the free and home of the brave, the wind industry’s victims are no longer content to be treated as collateral damage.

New sound study indicates sound violation for Sheffield Wind
True North Reports
Michael Bielawski
24 October 2018

SHEFFIELD — For several years, one old-school Vermont senior has been the tip of the spear in the fight against industrial-scale wind turbines — local resident Paul Brouha.

Brouha, 73, lives just over 6,000 feet from the nearest turbine of the Sheffield Wind project, a green energy installation comprised of 16 418-foot-tall turbines.

In 2011, Brouha filed his first complaint with what today is known as the Public Utility Commission. Today, he finally feels that his repeated complaints and financial investments into independent noise and vibration studies could start to pay off.

“We’ve got sort of a David versus Goliath theme to it,” Brouha said.

The latest sound report came from a company called Aercoustics. The independent sound expert contracted during the administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin concluded that the noise coming from Sheffield Wind is too loud.

The report details that during high wind conditions from May to September, decibel levels reached 5 points higher than what was permitted in the project’s certificate of public good from 2007. It states an increase of just 3 decibels exponentially increases the intensity, disrupting the ability to sleep or live peacefully during waking hours.

To achieve compliance, potentially three turbines may need to be shut down.

Chad Reed, director of investor relations for Terraform Power, the current owner, responded to True North regarding the latest study.

“We continue to review the recently published third-party acoustics report, which, among other sources, may inform local authorities on their ultimate findings,” he said. “We remain committed to providing clean renewable energy to our customers and working alongside the local communities in which we operate.”

Last Friday the Public Utilities Commission held a status conference involving their hearing officer Micah Howe and attorneys for TerraForm and for Brouha. They agreed that all the appropriate data would be available for scrutiny by this Friday.

A next step is the PUC and the Department of Public Service need to concede that a noise violation occurred. If they do, then the two entities will begin the compliance phase, which will involve more sound testing. Aercoustics would continue to perform the tests.

Howe told True North that progress was made at the status conference.

“They are working on a process for proceeding forward in the investigation,” he said. ” … That will set the remaining steps.”

In Brouha’s press release, he noted that the PUC has done little to gain his confidence over the years.

“The PUC accepted, without any independent investigation, Vermont Wind’s [a limited liability corporation formed in 2004 as the project’s business entity] representation was that there could not possibly have been a violation of the CPG noise monitoring plan or the noise standard limitation for the project,” he wrote.

This time Brouha said he has reserved hopes for progress.

“We’ve been hopeful, but we thought we’ve had things pretty lined up before only to have our hopes dashed,” he said. “This whole thing should have been taken care of within three months of the filing of my complaint in 2011.”

He further said that even before the project was completed in 2011, it was clear from the modeling that the noise standards could not be met.

“We were just collateral,” he said of him and his neighbors. One of his neighbors, the Therrien family with two young children, chose to flee their home of 20 years due to noise from the wind farm.

He told True North that his goal is to pursue this fight to a conclusion and force the state to practice good sound monitoring and compliance protocols, and ultimately hold these turbine operators accountable for how they do business.

“I’m pleased to say, at least in that regard, we are building the base for that to be adopted,” he said.

Brouha explained that at some point he would like to explore options for his own compensation for all the stress he’s endured.

“That’s left for me under some sort of a filing for a nuisance suit or court filing against the state of Vermont,” he said.

Asked if he’s ever tempted to just give up, sell his home for a loss, and move on, Brouha said no.

“My parents brought me here when I was born,” he said. “That was almost 73 years ago. This is my home, it’s not just a house. It’s not something that I can just walk away from, this is me.

“I’ve got a right to the peaceful use and enjoyment of my property, and to be left alone.”
True North Reports

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Randy Lanier says:

    My wife and I and several neighbors have been invaded by huge 2.5 Megawatt wind turbines in Oklahoma. This was our retirement dream – a home at the end of a quiet dead end road with a small fishing lake below. Lots of plans then BAM!!!!
    The one right next to us, about 1/4 mile away, sounds like a 747 jet taking off on most days. The noise on windy days is unbearable. We are looking for attorneys with experience in wind turbine litigation to represent us. The wind farm is owned by Next Era Energy and Blattner Energy – Minco IV Project and has been very public on local news and what have you. Construction was actually halted a couple of times by litigation.
    We seek compensation for noise damages and reduced property values and would appreciate any help anyone can give us.
    Thank You

  2. Sarcastic Cynic says:

    Looking forward to the day in the US that lawyers start to advertise to attract litigants for class action lawsuits. When lawyers smell a buck, the floodgates will open.

  3. “This is my home, it’s not just a house. It’s not something that I can just walk away from, this is me.

    “I’ve got a right to the peaceful use and enjoyment of my property, and to be left alone.”

    In rural Ontario people feel the same way about their homes. Stewarding one’s land is an intention that people hold close to their heart.

    The level of distress at the thought of being forced to leave one’s beloved home is real to these people. These people deserve deep respect and yet in Ontario they’re being abused by government agents whose mandate is to protect our environment from harmful impacts.

    The level of moral degeneracy behind this willingness to allow people to be harmed is staggering. It’s so downright evil.

    It must end.

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