Tuesday May 7, 2013

SHEFFIELD (AP) -- The Vermont Public Service Board has ruled that the 16-turbine industrial wind project in Sheffield is meeting its noise standards and is in compliance with its state permit, known as a Certificate of Public Good.

The board’s ruling last week came in response to a noise complaint filed by Sutton resident Paul Brouha who had asked the board to provide "backup data" used to create the noise monitoring information contained in its quarterly noise monitoring reports.

"We appreciate the board’s careful review of the extensive sound testing data we provided and are pleased the Board recognized that the project is in compliance with the state’s sound requirements," said John Lamontagne, a spokesman for First Wind, of Boston, the company that owns the turbines.

But industrial wind opponent Annette Smith, of the Danby-based Vermonters For a Clean Environment, Inc., said the board is not adequately regulating the noise of the project because First Wind chose the firm to design the plan and conduct the sound monitoring.

"This is a perfect example of ‘the fox guarding the henhouse,’ " Smith said. "The PSB’s order further illustrates the near-impossibility of neighbors being able to participate in protecting their interests before the PSB."

Brouha said the order denying his request for outside-to-inside noise attenuation measurements with windows open is disappointing but not unexpected.

"The noise monitoring plan which the Board approved stated that such measurements should be taken during the first quarterly monitoring period (January 2012) ‘weather permitting.’ First Wind’s noise monitoring expert therefore had discretion to decide that conditions were not conducive to open window testing," he said.