Commentary

Melodie McLane: You know you live too close to a wind project in Vermont when …

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Melodie McLane, who is a neighbor of the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project.

• You dread checking the mail because you probably have another filing from the Department of Public Service that supports the wind developer in every way possible, even though they supposedly work for you.

• You do a slow burn because someone has written that you will participate in the Public Service Board’s noise investigation only because you lost. Lost what? The right to sleep at night?

• You spend every Sunday afternoon meeting with the neighbors that are still speaking to you to write discovery questions, answers, briefs, comments and to do research.

• You have stupid looking equipment set up near your house to monitor sound from the turbines.

• You laugh at the look of shock on people’s faces when you tell them to be aware that everything they say is being recorded outside when that stupid looking equipment is there.

• You have to sign a release saying that you give yourself permission to listen to your own conversations before the wind company will release the raw data from the monitoring to you.

• You plan your barbecues and neighborhood parties around whether that stupid looking equipment is there.

• You go ahead and have that barbecue or party regardless and get perverse pleasure out of blasting loud music all night at that stupid looking equipment in order to drown out all conversations.

• You realize the noise from the turbines gets louder when they take that stupid looking equipment away.

• You think you are going to stroke out if one more person says “I drove over to New York and listened to the ones there and couldn’t hear anything.” Were they running at full capacity?

• You understand why your father used to sit and swear at the television when a politician was talking.

• You know the true meaning of “campaign donations” and “follow the money.”

• You have “wind friends” who you can talk freely with about the stupidity of wind and then you have “regular friends” with whom you never discuss wind.

• You go to work ticked off and exhausted because you could hear the turbines rumbling all night, even with your windows shut.

• You are dreading summer, even after one of the most miserable winters on record, because the noise is worse when you open your windows.

• You used to love a good snowstorm but now it just means more noise with all the moisture in the air and southwesterly winds.

• You used to love going to bed at night in the summer with your windows wide open, listening to the rain. Now you shut your windows and turn the fans on to drown out the turbine noise, because it’s always louder when it rains.

•You look out at your garden and remember how peaceful it used to be to work in it. Now it’s just an annoying place to be.

• You used to love having your morning coffee on your south porch, but now you are driven away from it by noise.
You try sitting on your back porch, but the noise is worse back there because the noise bounces off from the ledges behind your house.

• You open your door in the morning and think you hear a jet flying over really low, but then realize it’s just the turbines.

You have pet names for noises that come from the mountain. There is the airplane noise, train rumbling noise, whale noise and semi-truck noise.

 

• You open your door in the morning and think the turbines are really loud, but it’s just a jet flying over really low.

• You have pet names for noises that come from the mountain. There is the airplane noise, train rumbling noise, whale noise and semi-truck noise.

• You are angry because the turbines are running and you can’t sleep.

• You are angry because the turbines aren’t running and someone ruined a perfectly good mountain for no reason.

• You want to stroke out every time you hear a wind developer say that you only complain about the noise because you didn’t want the project there in the first place. You didn’t want the wind project so close to your house because you knew it would be noisy.

• You want to stroke out every time you hear a wind developer say that only “two or three” neighbors complain about the noise. Those neighbors are the only ones who are ridiculously close to the project.

• You are shocked when the project owner starts using the Facebook group, Victims of Industrial Wind, to tout the merits of wind when most of the people in this group are suffering from sleep loss every day from wind.

• You are shocked when that owner says on his Facebook page that he has a Trunk Monkey by each turbine on Georgia Mountain to keep the anti-wind people away. Trunk Monkeys shoot people with guns and beat people up with tire irons.

• You are up checking the victims group at 4 a.m. on a regular basis to see if someone else is being kept awake by the noise.

• You are in constant disbelief at how loud 45 dBA is.

• You know that some people will make nasty NIMBY comments about this when they read it, but you have been bullied and called names so much that it doesn’t even hurt anymore.

If you read us, please support us.

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer.

We moderate every comment. Please go to our FAQ for the full policy.

Commentary

Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Melodie McLane: You know you live too close to a wind project in Verm..."
  • Matt Fisken

    Stay strong and don’t let the bullies try to silence your voice Melodie. You happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but you will be on the right side of history.

    • Melodie McLane

      Thank you Matt!

  • Bill Birch

    We have 2 wind projects near Readsboro in Southern Vt. There not near enough to my home to harass me but the wind farm on the border of Mass & Vermont is to close to several friends houses and has destroyed their quiet. I couldn’t imagine living near these things. When I hunt on the mountain in Vermont near these monsters the quiet I use to enjoy is gone. Does anyone know if these wind farms actually would make money if they didn’t receive the subsidies from the government. I understand that they generate power about 30 percent of the time. I’m against destroying our mountains in Vermont for what little power we get from them.

    • Annette Smith

      Bill, please pass along to those neighbors in Readsboro VCE’s site for logging complaints. windreporting.org is something we set up for Vermonters who live near wind turbines so we can get a sense of the extent of the problems. Mostly so far I have been using the information primarily for mapping purposes and in discussions with regulators who really have no clue where or how many people are bothered.

      I have visited the mason who lives in Readsboro and am aware from him that there are others in town who are complaining, but it would be helpful to know specifically where they are.

      For those of you not familiar with the area, this neighborhood is roughly 1.8 miles from the 1.5MW wind turbines built just over the border in Mass. by Iberdrola.

    • Annette: The turbines’ output varies constantly, and at times they are turning even though they are not making any power because the machinery needs to be kept moving to avoid warping. Output can be stated as: ” capacity factor”, which is the ratio of the turbines’ power production over a period of time compared to the “installed capacity”. Maine wind farms’ capacity factor for all of 2012 was under 25%, according to FERC. The 600 kW turbine at U. Maine Presque Isle has capacity factor under 11%.

  • Paul Lorenzini

    I woke up this morning to the sound of the windmill near my house! Loud and irritating! Vermont Yankee never woke me up. I am wondering how solar panels work under 3 feet of snow.

    • Melodie McLane

      Where do you live Paul? I’m sorry that you are living with the noise as well.

      • Melodie McLane

        Sorry, now I see that you live near Vermont Yankee. How large is the wind turbine near your home?

        • Paul Lorenzini

          No. I do not live near vt Yankee.

          127 Church Hill Rd
          Websterville VT, 05678

          We I do live nearer the farther.

    • Paul, Solar works by removing the snow. It’s simple and sort of like when there is snow on your walkways except a shovel might not be the tool for the job.

  • Jane Palmer

    You wrote a good piece, Melodie. It should wake some people up. If it doesn’t…make more noise. I have been wondering what it’s like to be near those monsters. Trouble is, they look so benign and high tech from afar…your description is very informative. Thanks for writing it.

    I wish I could help.

    • Melodie McLane

      Thank you Jane.

  • Kim Fried

    Melodie we feel horrible for you and I want to apologize for Vermont. We are doing everything we can in Newark, Brighton and UTG to prevent this condition from destroying our citizens by Seneca Mountain Wind. The State of Vermont, as you have pointed out, no longer cares about all citizens. They will study, study, study the problem and then not read the report or implement the recommendations. All of Vermont owes you an apology and swift action in correcting this horrible condition.

    • Melodie McLane

      Thank you Kim. Keep fighting as hard as you can and please do not give up.

  • Annette Smith

    For more about what it is like living near these machines, on Monday I assembled this file about the Therrien family in yet another attempt to find them housing. I sent it to every relevant top elected and appointed official in Vermont. No response. No meetings with the Commissioner of Public Service and legislators, no hearings before the PSB, nothing.

    The story of the Therriens’ efforts to get safe housing are in this file http://www.vce.org/THERRIEN_HISTORY.pdf which is in chronological order from newest to oldest for 65 pages, then the supporting documents are in chronological order from oldest to newest.

    Also see the following videos, which include TV and radio news coverage, testimony, and public speaking tell the story of the Steve, Luann, Baily and Seager Therrien, neighbors of First Wind’s 16 2.5MW wind turbines in Sheffield that went online in November, 2011.

    1. Sheffield Wind Turbine Neighbor talks about Noise, April 18, 2012
    https://vimeo.com/40723372

    2. Sheffield Vermont Wind Turbine Neighbor Talks at Stanstead/Derby Rally
    https://vimeo.com/42668710

    3. Video: Sheffield wind neighbors say sound is unbearable | Burlington Free Press, December 22, 2012
    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20121222/NEWS02/121222003/Video-Sheffield-wind-neighbors-say-sound-unbearable

    4. Luann Therrien and Baily at Energize Vermont press conference, Jan. 31, 2013
    https://vimeo.com/58681174
    Luann Therrien Testimony Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, January 31 2013
    https://vimeo.com/59419761

    5. The Therrien Family Grafton, March 1 2013
    https://vimeo.com/60949732

    6. Luann Therrien, Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee, April 24, 2013
    https://vimeo.com/64765558

    7. Sheffield Family Say Wind Noise Will Force Them To Move, August 2013
    http://digital.vpr.net/post/sheffield-family-say-wind-noise-will-force-them-move

    8. Meadowsend Timber’s Clearcut Funnels Wind Turbine Noise to Therrien Home, Dec. 2013
    https://picasaweb.google.com/114098560210816181304/MeadowsendTimberSClearcutFunnelsWindTurbineNoiseToTherrienHome?authkey=Gv1sRgCM7p6MSrn83uOQ#5975501434620676066

    9. Keith Balleck comment about Therriens to PSB on Sound Standard Investigation Jan. 8 2014
    https://vimeo.com/83815894

    10. Therriens in Sheffield, Lyndon State News, February 4, 2014
    https://vimeo.com/86116997

  • Deb Ty

    I am sorry, but I am lmao. You didn’t want VY , lets do wind they said . Now, your complaining about that! No pity here.. sorry but like the old saying goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

    • Luann Therrien

      Deb Ty,

      I am not lmao.

      Not sure about anyone else commenting on this story but I didn’t want to do away with VY.

      And we were on the fence about big wind until they went online and started having a negative impact on our families health.

      Your arrogant, heartless, uninformed comment is exactly the response Victims of Industrial Wind have come to expect.

      As far as your pity, we do not need want or require it. I genuinely hope you never have to watch your spouse and children become increasingly ill through no fault if your own. But then and only then would you and all others with your mind set have any idea of what we are living with on a daily basis.

      Luann Therrien
      Victim of First Wind’s Industrial Wind Power Plant
      Sheffield Vermont

    • Melodie McLane

      Deb Ty, thank you for your comment.

      Everyone else has been so compassionate and nice, it just wouldn’t seem normal if someone didn’t get hateful.

      I sincerely hope that a wind project is never built too close to you.

    • Bill Birch

      I was not in agreement with closing VY. I would prefer to get power from nuclear then destroy all the mountains in Vermont. Pretty ignorant to assume that anyone that is against Wind power was for closing VY

  • Kathy Nelson

    Thank you for writing this Melodie. The developer that destroyed Georgia Mountain is a vicious brute and we all know it. However, he has political connections and we all suffer for that. Stay strong, Melodie, justice has a way of catching up to brutes and political cronies.

    • Melodie McLane

      Thank you for your support Kathy.

  • walter moses

    Melodie, what goes around comes around. Shumlin and the PSB will find that is so. I hope you hang in there and keep everyone aware of your plight. I wish there was a single organization to fight Blittersdorf and all the other henchmen in wind power. I belong to VCE and I know they will keep fighting.

    • Melodie McLane

      Walter, I’m glad that you belong to VCE because as you probably know, it is the only organization that will help us. Thank you for your support and kind words.

  • The horror stories regarding the negative impact on Vermonters tied to the development of industrial renewable energy projects continue to mount. The toll on families across the state builds while the Governor and many in the legislature appear to care less.

    Today we hear Melodie speak, adding to and reinforcing some of what we have heard all too many times before. The worse part is that the issues are greater and broader than defined by Melodie. There is no need to repeat these problems as we have all heard them many time before.

    But there is a need to again ask the Governor and those in the legislature pushing for the rapid deployment of these society upsetting industrial renewable energy projects…….WHAT’S THE RUSH?

    Vermont, a state that has long prided itself on protecting individuals’ rights has now chosen to throw so many of its citizens into the whirling blades of industrial wind turbines and the reflective glare of industrial solar farms……….WHY?

    The old canard that we’re facing a global warming/climate change crisis and must act now is total absolute nonsense. Vermont is a tiny speck on this planet accounting for less than .009 of one percent of the world’s 7.2 billion population. What Vermont does or doesn’t do, has no measurable impact on the world’s air quality. And what’s more, the rest of the world could care less about what we’re doing or any message we’re attempting to send.

    While our state’s renewable energy policy is making life miserable for so many Vermonters, the rest of the world is busy planning new coal fired power plants.
    According to the World Resources Institute currently there are 1,199 coal fired power plants proposed for 59 countries around the globe, with China and India leading the way. Even progressive California is busy building new natural gas fired power plants to meet its energy needs. Go to the internet, its loaded with statistics relating to power generation.

    My point….. its more important for this state to step back and review it’s energy policy and development regulations to get things done correctly versus quickly.

    At this point, the state is embarked on an energy policy course that’s friendly to renewable energy developers, hostile to Vermonters and does nothing to improve global air quality. This is wrong and it’s bad public policy.

  • Melodie, I think that at this point the developer knows just what he has done. Hence his extreme paranoia and talk of “trunk monkeys.”

    What he has done, in a wider sense, and beyond the specific injury to you and your neighbors, is a very wicked act of vandalism — an assault against one of America’s most iconic states. Vermont is not just a place, but an idea, and with just one letter added, “idea” becomes “ideal.” I mean the Vermont immortalized in the poetry of Robert Frost, the music of Frank Sinatra, and in classic films such as “White Christmas.”

    Why must a fat cat use a national icon as his litter box? Why choose industrial wind when there are renewable options that fit in with New England’s unique aesthetic environment? I see a lack of basic humanity, but also a lack of loyalty, a lack of patriotism.

    I guess it’s hard to think about patriotism, music, movies and poems when you can’t even hear.

    But there is another sound in the distance: the “ka-ching!” of pending lawsuits, which may soon drown out the drone of wind turbines.

    It has taken a bit of time for things to get to this point. The jig is up!

    I am hopeful for you and the other afflicted people.

  • Shirley Nelson

    Melodie, I agree with every comment you have made and have a few more to add to “You know you live near a wind project when “—

    • The CEO calls you and tells you they will own your property by the end of the week and then threatens you with a $1,000,000 lawsuit

    • Because you don’t post your property you are taken to court and the judge says….okay you don’t have to post your property but the developer can post it. Then you are served with a temporary restraining order to keep you off your property along with the large lawsuit because you are a nuisance.

    • Some of your family and friends have been chased through your woods by officers with guns and dogs

    • You have an officer sitting in your driveway taking pictures of everyone that goes by and taking a head count

    • The developers tell you that you are the only one complaining but your neighbors have complained and there is no record of it

    • You never had a ceiling fan because they are so annoying and now you have 21 of them flashing and flickering at your windows. The red lights at night aren’t just going off and on – they give the appearance of red flares being shot into the night as the red light reflects onto and off the length of the blades. It is very distracting when the sun hits the nacelle and acts as giant mirror like reflectors bouncing the sunlight in your windows.

    • You end up with headache, ears ringing, migraine, heart rate increased, nauseous feelings, etc. – then you talk with your neighbors and find they are feeling the same things

    • You find you are unreasonably irritable because you haven’t had a restful sleep in days

    • Everything you report as a violation is dismissed by PSB and DPS

    • Some of the historical records of your buildings disappear from the files at the Historical Preservation office after the developers had access to them

    • In a litigation the developer takes the hard drive from your personal computer and copies it in the name of ‘discovery’

    • You find that when the blade of a turbines is passing the same point every 4 seconds the tip of the blade is going 204.6 miles and hour

    • You find that the capacity factor of the wind project is just over 20% for the first 12 months while it was stated to be 35 % to make the project economically viable

    • Depending on conditions of the day you are unable to concentrate on paperwork, painting, cooking or reading

    • The cabin you built with all of your children and grandchildren for picnics, swimming, relaxing and hunting has suddenly become the location of an airport runway

    • Your whole lifetime of work for a retirement has been taken away

  • Mary Mester

    I feel for you. What a nightmare this must be!!! Did the wind company offer to buy you & others out so you would not be subjected to the torture? It’s a shame that the average person is not considered when these things are developed. Before I moved to VT, I was somewhat involved in fighting the Marsellus gas pipeline from going through Milford, PA. Unfortunately, our voices went unheard, as our local politicians & administrators did not fight the beast. I wish you peace & resolve in some way.

  • Melodie McLane

    So sorry Shirley. Neighbors of all three wind projects in Vermont each have their own stories and yours is particularly awful. For those of you who don’t know, Shirley lives near the Lowell project.

  • Vanessa Mills

    To you…..Luann Therrien and your family, Melodie McClane and your family, Don & Shirley Nelson, Kevin McGrath, and others: I am sorry. And I keep shouting this and cannot do it loud enough: what the Big Wind industry ( and the VT politicians & leaders who deafly & blindly align with it) are doing to Vermont and its people is wrong. Simply put. But for them to claim its resulting harm is rightly done in the name of fighting global warming and responding to climate justice is (1) public manipulation and (2)disproven lies and (3) counterproductive and (4) waste of time and money when we have precious little of both to come together and create solutions that are truly for the public good.

  • Glenn Thompson

    You wrote a great piece Melodie! I’d like to believe as time rolls on….many more people will begin to understand wind power isn’t as ‘perfect’ as the wind lobby and Climate Change Alarmist Politicians would have one believe!

    I’d also like to believe the days of the wind developers claiming wind turbines produce no noise, don’t destroy mountain tops, and produce a lot of power is also over! One can only sell ‘snake oil’ for only so long before people catch on!

    Perhaps you can extend your message by running tours when the Georgia Mountain turbines are running at full capacity and producing obnoxious sound? Better yet, pitch a large tent in your backyard and invite people to bring their sleeping bags and enjoy the constant low frequency pulsating noise for hours on end as they attempt to sleep?

    We all understand the need for a viable energy future. The current direction is not the correct path. Perhaps wind power is great in remote places like West Texas….but wind power is not suitable for placement in a small rural state like Vermont. Nor is it suitable to be placed in the middle of prime farm land near the great lakes in the Upper MidWest…nor is it suitable to place wind farms in the direct path of a major migratory bird pathway near the Chesapeake Bay.

    Eventually thanks to people like you who publicly express their nightmarish stories, the tide will turn where a more viable and achievable energy policy can be developed without destroying people lives and health!

  • Melodie, Excellent and this is well done!

  • Very painful to read, because neighbors on Vinalhaven ME are going through the same … read the recent decision of the Maine Superior Court and related news, at:

    http://fiwn.wordpress.com

    • Melodie McLane

      Thank you Alan for posting this website. We have followed Vinalhaven to some extent and were glad to hear of the recent victory. Are you from there?

  • Robbin Clark

    I just want to thank you all for being so brave and willing to speak out against the wind industry. I have been involved in the Lowell project for years and it is an extremely exhausting process and no end in site. Hopefully some day our voices will be heard for what they are; truth tellers NOT trouble makers. Thank you all again!!!!!

  • Tom Shea

    Unfortunately, no one at the PSB cares. They have been instructed to approve any ‘green’ project. I have endured the process twice, fifteen years apart. The players change seats, but are still feeding off the government grants.

    I urge anyone who cares about this subject, or if you just want to preserve the ‘Vermont” way, to donate to VCE. They are one of the few who are sticking up for the politically un-connected victims.