Judge orders limited use of wind turbines

Nov. 23, 2013 Republican American story: 
Judge orders limited use of wind turbines


BARNSTABLE, Mass. — The town of Falmouth was ordered by a judge on Friday to limit the hours two town­owned wind turbines operate after neighbors blamed them for health problems.

Effective immediately, the energy-generating turbines at the Cape Cod town’s waste­water treatment facility are only allowed to operate from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on every day of the week except Sun­day, and are not allowed to operate at all on Thanksgiv­ing Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse wrote in the decision.

Neil and Elizabeth Ander­sen, who live about a quarter of a mile from the turbines, said they caused “continuous insomnia, headaches, psycho­logical disturbances, dental injuries, and other forms of malaise” they had not suf­fered prior to the turbines’ construction.

“The court finds the Ander­sens claims that they did not experience such symptoms prior to the construction and operation of the turbines, and that that each day of opera­tion produces further injury, to be credible,” the judge wrote.

Continued operation of the turbines at previous levels put residents at risk of “irreparable physical and psychological harm,” the judge wrote.

The environmental group Wind Wise Massachusetts called it a landmark decision.

“This is believed to be the first time that a court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby,” said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts.

The decision has repercus­sions in other Massachusetts towns where wind turbines are being blamed for health problems, Neil Andersen said. “It’s torture,” he said of the turbines’ noise and pres­sure effects. “But this deci­sion is a victory. It gives us some relief.”

The 1.65 megawatt tur­bines were erected about 3½ years ago to power the treat­ment plant and to create rev­enue for the town by selling electricity back to the grid.

They ran 24/7 at first, but more recently have been run­ning from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m.

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