May 27, 2004

Oregon eases noise rule for wind turbines

The state of Oregon has responded to the serious problem of noise from wind turbine facilities by changing the requirements for them.

The now-revised rule limited the amount of noise above the existing levels that could be added by a project, but developers complained that made it impossible to install large facilities in rural and wild areas. The new rule simply establishes a maximum noise level no matter where the facility is sited and removes many requirements for even measuring the sound.

While claiming that the rule change reflects the unique conditions of wind turbine noise (though in fact only pretending that noise is not a serious problem of wind plants), it fails to address the low-frequency noise that is a more penetrating nuisance and is suspected of causing health problems.