Update on Wind Sound Proceeding

In May 2017, the Public Service Board issued a final proposed rule on sound from wind turbines. Unfortunately, they chose to ignore the clear evidence and issue a rule that, if approved, will functionally take wind off the table as a viable resource here in Vermont.

VPIRG has been involved in this proceeding since its start last fall. We worked with an acoustic engineer with decades of experience to propose a standard that would have been significantly more conservative than anything currently in place in Vermont, but would have continued to allow wind to be built (see our blog post with an overview of our proposal here).

But the Public Service Board chose to ignore the evidence and functionally ban wind in Vermont. They chose to ignore the hundreds of Vermonters who called on them to keep wind viable here. They chose to ignore the good of the state in order to keep a handful of people from being annoyed.

What does the rule propose?

The rule sets the nighttime limit at 39 decibels, which is the lowest sound limit of any state in the country. In addition, it includes an arbitrary setback distance of 10 times the turbine height. Together, these all but eliminate any potential wind sites in the state. If this rule is approved, Vermont will no longer be able to call ourselves a clean energy leader.

This fight is not over:

On June 22nd, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) extended the deadline to act on this rule until October 26th. By that date, LCAR must act on this rule, determining whether it meets legislative intent and is based on the evidence in the record. Since it is clear that the intent of the legislature was not to ban wind, since this rule is out of step with Vermont legal precedent, and since it is not based on the science and facts around wind sound, this Committee should object to the rule and prevent it from moving forward.

If your legislator is on LCAR, send them an email asking them to object to this rule.

Sen. Mark MacDonald (Chair)
Rep. Amy Sheldon (Vice Chair)
Sen. Joe Benning
Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman
Sen. Ginny Lyons
Rep. Linda Myers
Sen. Michael Sirotkin
Rep. Michael Yantachka

If your legislator is not on LCAR, submit a comment to the Committee here.

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