Showing posts sorted by relevance for query maine. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query maine. Sort by date Show all posts

July 19, 2008

Turning wilderness over to development in Maine

Bob Weingarten and Nancy O’Toole of Friends of the Boundary Mountains write in the July 10 Daily Bulldog:

The Maine Legislature created the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) in 1971 to serve the people of Maine and act as the authority over 10.4 million acres of unorganized lands, and one of the largest contiguous undeveloped areas in the Northeast. Among LURC’s responsibilities are the promotion of orderly development, and the protection of natural and ecological values.

In 1974, to ensure the protection of fragile and irreplaceable soil and habitat, Maine’s mountainous areas above 2,700 feet were given zoning protection from ecological-damaging development by LURC. That protection stood the test of time until January 2008 when LURC reversed the protection of our mountains.

Now, before us we have the biggest industrial project being approved, by LURC, which will change the western Maine mountains forever. A project so huge it’s difficult to sum up the total environmental impact, but let us provide a brief overview.

LURC is about to give final approval to TransCanada’s Kibby Wind Power Project based on a final design plan that doesn’t have final surveys, core testing completed, or hydrology mapping finished. (Which means add at least 20 percent to the following figures). There will be 47 intermittent and 38 perennial streams impacted by bridgeways and culverts that will divert streams up to 225 feet. For road building and towers, a total of 423.6 acres will permanently be impacted. Another 310 acres will be cleared and changed from forest and wetland to right-of-ways for transmission lines. The estimate for total road length is 30.5 miles, with widths ranging from 25 to 35 feet, and for 21.75 miles a 150-foot wide “right of way” for the kV line. A 60-foot “right-of-way” for the 34.5 kV buried collector system that runs from turbine to turbine, and then moves to overhead poles moving down the slopes and ridges to the substation. There will be new buildings, temporary batch plant that will be producing 700 yds3 of concrete per turbine pad, rock crushers, and at least 20 acres will be filled by the unused rock and dirt from blasting and road construction.

The project will impact many species of Maine. The northern bog lemming is among Maine’s rarest mammals and listed as threatened. The Atlantic Salmon and the Canadian Lynx is listed as endangered and its habitat will be impacted by this development. Five state-listed plants species have been identified in the project through the wetlands that will be impacted by the transmission lines. The accumulation downstream due to unforeseeable erosion from all these disturbances will greatly impact the fish and natural vegetation forever. Over time the culverts will fill with sediment, silt fences washed out and the environmental damage will accelerate in magnitude and increase in intensity. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of migratory birds, bats and raptors that will perish each year as a result of the 400-foot high turbines. ...

The Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development is promoting 2,000 MW by 2015 and 3,000 MW by 2020, by establishing an Expedited Review and Permitting Area in Maine, which includes at least one-third of LURC’s jurisdiction. In the unorganized areas a rezoning would not be required and the DEP will assume jurisdiction for permitting on any proposal that goes through an organized area; the expedited process should take only 185 days.

An Executive Order required LURC to draft a Commercial Industrial Development Subdistrict (D-CI) to streamline permitting and do away with rezoning hearings. In the draft there are two full pages of townships and plantations on the expedited wind energy development area. ...

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights

March 10, 2008

CLF calls for industrial development of 300 miles of Maine's wild mountain ridges

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) of New England participated in the Maine Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development, which issued its recommendation for installing 3,000 MW of wind power by 2020 on Feb. 14. In a press release the same day, CLF expressed its support and excitement, believing that it would "help avert the disastrous impacts climate change could have on our region and economy".

The output of 3,000 MW, at an average rate of 25% capacity, would be equivalent to about half of Maine's current electricity consumption (though much less of 2020's likely needs). But Maine exports a fourth of its power and is already arranging with New Brunswick to export its wind-generated power.

Given that the wind rarely blows in proportion to electricity demand, and blows erratically with high variation, that makes sense. The utilities have quite enough of a challenge to keep supply and demand in balance. The most practical way to deal with the huge and largely unpredictable swings of wind power -- which, unlike the power from other facilities, they have no control over -- is to make sure the grid is big enough to absorb it as insignificant. That is how Denmark manages its "20%" wind: by using its large international connectors so that the wind is only 1% of the total, which can be easily balanced by Sweden's substantial hydro capacity (thus no carbon savings).

And that is why building heavy-duty roads to access 300 miles of Maine ridgelines for the erection of thousands of giant industrial wind turbines will not "help avert the disastrous impacts climate change could have" -- not even a little.

Even if Maine tried to balance the fluctuating wind energy -- using their abundant diesel and natural gas capacity -- those plants would be forced to operate less efficiently and less cleanly, canceling much -- perhaps all -- of the expected benefit.

When there is no record anywhere in the world of a single thermal electricity plant shutting down, nor of any measurable reduction of fossil fuel use or emissions, due to wind energy on the grid, it is rash indeed to call for the destruction of 300 miles of mountain ridgelines for such an unlikely prospect of actual benefit.

This is a political game that the CLF should be ashamed of. They should be opposing this obvious industry putsch into our last rural and wild places, not abetting it.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Maine, ecoanarchism

April 2, 2011

Scary stuff

From artist Judy Taylor:

A Cobbler trains his young Apprentice. In the background are scenes from that era.

Child labor was common in Maine. They frequently performed dangerous tasks for long hours.

Young women were often sent to the mills by their families, who could not, or would not, support them.

For the first time, workers were allowed to vote anonymously in 1891.

In 1884, Maine celebrated its first "Labor's Day", a day for the workers to celebrate.

A member of the IWW or "Wobblies" tries to organize the Maine woodsmen.

Scenes from an unsuccessful strike attempt to create better conditions for women workers.

Frances Perkins, FDR's Labor Secretary and untiring labor activist, a Maine Labor icon.

Maine's version of WWII women workers participated as ship-builders.

The International Paper strike of 1986 in Jay, Maine, one that still divides the town.

A figure from the past offers a hammer to workers of the present, who are unsure of its value in a changing world.

human rights

February 24, 2010

The lies of a wind developer

Angus King, formerly governor of Maine and now an industrial wind developer, had an opinion piece published in Sunday's Portland Press Herald. It is a response to letters pointing out some of the shortcomings of industrial wind turbines that must be weighed against their alleged benefits.

Rather than acknowledge such impacts in any way (a signal that the benefits side of the argument isn't at all viable), he engages in the classic rhetorical devices of straw man, red herring (changing the subject), ad populum (weasel words), and simply lying.

"Myth" 1: Building wind turbines destroys mountains. King: Mountaintop removal for coal destroys mountains.

King actually asserts that since nothing in the blasting and grading for roads and platforms is removed from the mountain, it's not destructive.

"Myth" 2: The sound can be heard for miles. King: Half a mile maybe.

Evidence of harm from noise experts and physicians suggests that noise from a line of turbines on a mountain can be a problem 3-5 kilometers (~2-3 miles) away, depending on the terrain. They suggest a minimum setback of 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) on flat terrain. In contrast, while half a mile is more setback than most developers will allow as reasonable, it is not based on actual experience, where in fact, the sound -- to a degree that is harmful to health -- can be heard a mile or more away.

"Myth" 3: Maine's wind power law cuts the people out. King: There were public meetings.

There is a political imperative behind industrial wind, which even the environmental groups cited by King support. Combined with the huge amounts of free (i.e., taxpayer-supplied) money involved, serious limitations on that development were inevitably kept to a minimum. The fact is, the purpose of the wind power law is indeed to make it easier to erect giant wind facilities, which requires cutting the people, and the environment, out.

"Myth" 4: Wind turbines will make you sick. King: Only annoying, if you're too close.

Again, this is more than most developers will admit, but it is still insulting, misleading, and false.

Insulting:  King is calling everyone who suffers very real effects of ill health, many of them forced to sleep elsewhere or to abandon their homes altogether -- he is calling each of them a liar, an hysteric, a believer in "mysterious emanations".

Misleading:  Annoyance is in fact an acoustical term meaning the noise is bad enough to trigger drastic action (such as suing or moving). These actions are common around wind energy facilities. Many of them result in the company buying the neighbor's property (and forbidding them to speak of their problems ever again). Acoustics is not a field of medicine, so it can only imply that annoyance could also be caused by or is a predictor of health effects. There are no journal-published studies by physicians of this issue.

False:  What is "too close"? The most rigorous case series to date, by Dr. Nina Pierpont, documents serious adverse health effects (as proven by the need to abandon the home, which action cured the symptoms) up to 4,900 feet (almost a mile). Others report health effects up to 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) away. The "annoying" effects are not simply irritability and anxiety, but also include headaches, nausea, dizziness, memory and concentration problems, and throbbing sensation. Studies of wind turbine noise in Europe consistently find, even with models that are much smaller and distances which are much farther than in North America, that wind turbine noise is uniquely annoying -- at lower sound levels and at greater distances than expected.

"A Dangerous Dependence": Finally, King raises the specter of fossil fuel use and appeals to xenophobia. Self-sufficiency and cleaner fuel use are indeed worthy goals. What King neglects to show is any connection between industrializing Maine's mountains with giant wind turbines and achieving those goals. (Furthermore, Maine wind is eyed for the supposed benefit of Massachusetts and New Brunswick, not Maine.) Conservation would obviate the small amount of low-value (intermittent, highly variable, and nondispatchable) energy that wind could ever hope to provide.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, Maine

May 9, 2006

Another company misinformed or misinforming about wind energy

Tom's of Maine announced in January that they have moved to "100% renewable wind energy":
Using renewable wind energy to power our manufacturing and fulfillment facility will reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million pounds per year ...

As of January 31, 2006, the energy procured for Tom’s of Maine 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Sanford, Maine, will be generated by the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility in Nebraska. The 100% Wind Renewable Energy Certificate [REC] product is certified by the Green-e certification program administered by the Center for Resource Solutions. Tom’s is purchasing 130,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month or approximately 1,150 megawatts per year of renewable energy certificates from the wind farm. This purchase will avoid the emission of more than 1,587,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide pollution each year.
Obviously, Tom's of Maine is not getting their electricity from Nebraska. They're still getting the same electricity they did before from their own local utility, which they continue to pay for. What they're buying are only the renewable energy certificates of the wind energy generated by the plant in Nebraska.

In other words, Tom's is using the same electricity from the same sources as before, and the Nebraska wind plant's energy is still being sold into the grid over there. Nothing is changed by Tom's purchase of the RECs. The claim of reducing "our carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million pounds per year" is delusional.

If (that's a big "if") wind power reduces the emissions from other sources, then the Nebraska plant is doing so by selling their power into the grid, not by selling RECs.

Tom's heart is in the right place, but they are fooling themselves -- or their customers -- to believe they have moved to any wind energy at all, let alone "100% renewable wind energy."

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, sustainability, green energy, green living, green business, carbon offset, ecoanarchism

March 21, 2005

The future in wind resistance

I must comment on a couple of recent pieces about industrial wind power, one by Doug Hufnagel of Maine and one by the editorial staff of the Boston Globe.

While the writer's heart is in the right place, he exaggerates wind power's potential contribution towards more sustainable energy use. The 11,000 wind turbines of Altamont and Tehachapi in California produce only 1% of the state's electricity use. At that rate, Maine would need almost 38,000 turbines to produce the amount of electricity people in the state use (not just in their homes). Most of the California turbines are smaller than the ones now proposed, but new ones require the same space, 30-60 acres per megawatt. At a capacity factor of 20%-25% (the record of facilities in similar areas), Maine's electricity use would require 132,000-330,000 acres of wind plant, 100-260 square miles.

But the wind doesn't blow at a constant rate, much less in response to actual demand for electricity. In fact, the wind turbines would produce at or above their average level only one third of the time. So Maine will have turned hundreds of square miles over to industrial development and still need the old sources of electricity most of the time.

The Boston Globe editorial not only exaggerates Cape Wind's possible contribution but also downplays the significant impact so many giant turbines, along with the necessary substations and cables, would obviously have. I just want to address the uncritically repeated claim from the developer that the project will provide 3/4 of the electricity used by Cape Cod and the Islands. First, that represents a 40% capacity factor, which is quite exaggerated -- it should be 20%-30% (in theory, off-shore wind is more steady, but 20%-30% is the record of existing facilities), so the figure should be revised to less than half. But, as above, average or more output of a wind plant is seen only one third of the time. Most of the time, the Cape Wind facility will not be providing much electricity at all, making a mockery of the huge investment and desecration of the seascape.

categories:  , , ,

May 8, 2009

Wind Turbine Syndrome

Wind turbine syndrome (WTS) is a cluster of clinical symptoms first formally identified by British physician Amanda Harry, MD, and subsequently given the name Wind Turbine Syndrome and a pathophysiological explanation by New York State behavioral pediatrician Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD.

WTS refers to the discrete constellation of symptoms that some -- not all -- people experience when living near wind turbines, symptoms which Pierpont and other clinicians maintain are caused chiefly by turbine low-frequency noise and vibration and shadow flicker affecting the body's various balance organs, including the utricle and saccule (vestibular organs) of the inner ear. According to Pierpont, people at notable risk for WTS are those with migraine disorder and a history of balance and motion sensitivity (such as car-sickness and sea-sickness).

Both Harry and Pierpont have based their research on clinical case series (defined, in medicine, as a descriptive account of a group of individuals with the same new medical conditions), and both have called for large-scale government-sponsored epidemiological studies to definitively establish WTS as a full-blown disease state. Until that happens, WTS remains, clinically, merely a syndrome.


Pierpont has identified the following cluster of symptoms among many people living near wind turbines. In Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment (Santa Fe, NM: K-Selected Books, in press) she explains how these seemingly disparate symptoms result from turbine low frequency noise scrambling the body's balance, motion, and position sensors.
  1. sleep disturbance
  2. headache
  3. tinnitus (pronounced "tinn-uh-tus": ringing or buzzing in the ears)
  4. ear pressure
  5. dizziness (a general term that includes vertigo, lightheadedness, sensation of almost fainting, etc.)
  6. vertigo (clinically, vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning, or the room moving)
  7. nausea
  8. visual blurring
  9. tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  10. irritability
  11. problems with concentration and memory
  12. panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering, which arise while awake or asleep
Case reports

British physician Dr. Amanda Harry, in a February 2007 article titled "Wind Turbines, Noise and Health" [1], wrote of 39 people, including residents of New Zealand and Australia, who suffered from the sounds emitted by wind turbines.

Pierpont interviewed 10 families living near large (1.5-3 MW) wind turbines, for a total of 38 people from infants to age 75. People in these families had noticed that they developed new symptoms after the turbines started turning near their homes. They noticed that when they went away, the symptoms went away, and when they came back the symptoms returned. Eight of the 10 families eventually moved away from their homes because they were so troubled by the symptoms.

Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, a radiologist at the Northern Maine Medical Center, conducted interviews with 15 people living near the industrial wind energy facility in Mars Hill, Maine. The purpose of the interviews was to investigate and record the health effects on those living within 3,500 feet of industrial-scale turbines.

On March 25, 2009, Dr. Nissenbaum presented his preliminary findings before the Maine Medical Association. The data, which he characterized as alarming, suggest the residents are experiencing serious health problems related to shadow flicker and noise emissions from the turbines near their homes. The onset of symptoms, including sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness, weight changes, possible increases in blood pressure, as well as increased prescription medication use, all appeared to coincide with the time when the turbines were first turned on (December 2006).[2]

On April 22, 2009, Dr. Robert McMurtry, former Dean of Medicine of the University of Western Ontario, released a survey conducted on the various wind facilities in Ontario. Of the 76 respondents in the community-based self-survey, 53 people living near different wind power plants reported that industrial wind turbines were having a significant negative impact on their lives. The adverse effects ranged from headaches and sleep disturbance to tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and depression.[3]

In Japan, more than 70 people living near wind turbines have reported ill health. They include residents in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture; Higashi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture; Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture; and Minami-Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment is now studying international data showing a potential link between wind turbines and health problems in surrounding areas to determine a plan of action for Japan. It has also started measuring low-frequency sounds around some wind farms.[4]

Scientific and clinical acceptance and explanation

Dr. Nina Pierpont's report has received peer reviews from the following:
  • Professor Robert May, Baron May of Oxford OM AC Kt FRS. Professor May holds a professorship jointly at Oxford University and Imperial College, London, and is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. President of the Royal Society (2000-05), Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Head of the UK Office of Science and Technology (1995-2000), and member of the UK Government's Climate Change Committee (an independent body established by the Climate Change Bill, to advise on targets and means of achieving them).

  • F. Owen Black, MD, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Senior Scientist and Director of Neuro-Otology Research, Legacy Health System, Portland, Oregon.

  • Jerome Haller, MD, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics (retired 2008), Albany Medical College, Albany, New York.

  • Joel F. Lehrer, MD, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Former Professor of Otolaryngology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (NYC), currently Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.

  • Ralph V. Katz, DMD, MPH, PhD, Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, New York University College of Dentistry.

  • Henry S. Horn, PhD, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Associate of the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University.

  • Robert Y. McMurtry, MD, Emeritus Professor and Dean of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine. In 1999 McMurtry became the first Cameron Visiting Chair at Health Canada -- a post carrying the responsibility for providing policy advice to the Deputy Minister and Minister of Health for Canada. McMurtry is the founding Assistant Deputy Minister of the Population and Public Health Branch of Health Canada.
There are as yet no other reports in published clinical literature linking wind turbines to this set of symptoms. Residents of the U.K., however, presented their experience at the Second International Wind Turbine Noise Conference in Lyon, France, September 20-21, 2007.[5] And researchers in Portugal reported at the same conference that the conditions for Vibroacoustic Disease, in which low-frequency vibrations affect heart and lung tissues, were found in homes near wind energy facilities.[6]

Wind Turbine Syndrome, clarifies Pierpont, is not the same as Vibroacoustic Disease. The proposed mechanisms are different, and the noise amplitudes are probably different as well.

Wind Turbine Syndrome, according to Pierpont, is essentially low-frequency noise or vibration tricking the body's balance system into thinking it's moving. The process is mediated by the vestibular system -- in other words, by disturbed sensory input to eyes, inner ears, and stretch and pressure receptors in a variety of body locations. These feed back neurologically onto a person's sense of position and motion in space, which is in turn connected in multiple ways to brain functions as disparate as spatial memory and anxiety. New discoveries about the extreme noise/vibration sensitivity of the vestibular system of the human inner ear were published in Neuroscience Letters in 2008.[7]

Several lines of evidence suggest that the amplitude (power or intensity) of low-frequency noise and vibration needed to create these effects may be even lower than the auditory threshold at the same low frequencies. In othr words, it appears that even low-frequency noise or vibration too weak to hear can still stimulate the human vestibular system, opening the door for the symptoms that Pierpont has called Wind Turbine Syndrome. There is now direct experimental evidence of such vestibular sensitivity in normal humans.

Vibroacoustic Disease, on the other hand, is hypothesized to be caused by direct tissue damage to a variety of organs, creating thickening of supporting structures and other pathological changes. The suspected agent is high-amplitude (high power or intensity) low-frequency noise. Given Pierpont's research protocol, her study is unable to demonstrate whether wind turbine exposure causes the types of pathologies found in Vibroacoustic Disease, although there are similarities that may be worthy of further clinical investigation, especially regarding asthma and lower respiratory infections.

Against this growing evidence, the wind industry insists that no problem exists or that it is so rare as to be of little consequence. The Canadian Wind Energy Association, for example, cites a set of articles in the June 2006 issue of Canadian Acoustician as refutation of serious health effects from wind turbine noise. Besides the fact that they are not medical articles, they do not conclude that there is no evidence of health problems.[8] Although the wind industry denies that wind turbine noise is intrusive, let alone a health problem, it also fights against noise regulations that would ensure that to be the case.

In the United States, George Kamperman, INCE (Institute of Noise Control Engineering) Board Certified noise control engineer, and Rick James, INCE Full Member, have documented significantly increased levels and the unique character of noise from industrial-sized wind turbines. To ensure the World Health Organization recommendation of no more than 30 dB(A) inside a bedroom and that low-frequency noise be limited, they recommend that large wind turbines be sited at least 2 kilometers from homes.[9] Similarly, the Noise Association of the U.K. and the French Academy of Medicine recommend a distance of 1 mile or 1.5 kilometers, respectively.[10][11]

This is still an emerging phenomenon, but the evidence is clearly accumulating in support of Dr. Pierpont and others' observations of a clear clinical pattern of ill effects caused by large wind turbines.

  1. Harry, Amanda (February 2007). "Wind Turbines, Noise and Health".

  2. Nissenbaum, Michael (March 2009). "Mars Hill Wind Turbine Project Health Effects -- Preliminary Findings".

  3. "Ontario Health Survey Exposes the Wind Industry".

  4. "Something in the Wind as Mystery Illnesses Rise".

  5. Davis, Julian; and Davis, Jane (September 2007). "Noise Pollution from Wind Turbines".

  6. Alves-Pereira, Mariana; and Castelo Branco, Nuno (September 2007). "In-Home Wind Turbine Noise is Conducive to Vibroacoustic Disease".

  7. Todd, Neil; et al. (October 17, 2008). "Vibration Sensitivity of the Vestibular System of the Human Inner Ear".

  8. "Deconstructing CanWEA Health Claims".

  9. Kamperman, George; and James, Rick (July 2008). "Simple Guidelines for Siting Wind Turbines to Prevent Health Risks".

  10. Noise Association, U.K. (July 2006). "Location, Location, Location: Investigation into wind farms and noise".

  11. Chouard, Claude-Henri; for the French Academy of Medicine (March 14, 2006). "Repercussions of wind turbine operations on human health" [in French].
Testimony: diaries, letters, and interviews
News reports
Petition: 2 km setback of industrial wind turbines from homes

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights

February 8, 2007

Cross-Over Politics and the Ideology of Scale

By Sam Smith

[Part of a continuing series on devolution -- the opposite of governmental centralization, commercial monopoly and cultural domination. Devolution is the art of conducting public affairs at a practical level closest to the human spirit and human communities]

In an age of conglomeration and domination, the cross-political nature of devolution -- or the ideology of scale -- attracts little attention. One can go through a whole political campaign and never consider it. But that doesn't mean the issue is not there.

Consider two current examples: the assault on local control of public schools and the smart growth movement. Both are driven by a curious alliance of liberal, conservative and corporate interests. And both attempt to replace the decentralization of decision-making with centralized, bureaucratic choices.

For example, only Vilsack among the Democratic candidate for president has challenged the No Child law despite it being based on absurdly inadequate justifications, proposed by the least qualified president ever to hold office and pushed by a bunch of child profiteers who will probably be the only clear winners under the legislation.

Similarly, the smart growth movement is being increasingly driven by a dubious alliance between "we know what's good for you" liberal planners and developers who initially resisted the idea until they realized how many new high-rises might result.

Liberals and conservatives who favor America's two centuries of local school control, or wish to resist the transformation of successful communities into high-rise factory farms for globalized serfs, find themselves ignored, ridiculed as NIMBYs or considered behind the times. ...

No Child Left Unregimented

The assault on community-controlled public education is not only a result of Bush's No Child law. Bill Kauffman once noted in Chronicles that it was liberal Harvard president President James Conant who produced a series of postwar reports calling for the "elimination of the small high school" in order to compete with the Soviets and deal with the nuclear era. Says Kauffman, "Conant the barbarian triumphed: the number of school districts plummeted from 83,718 in 1950 to 17,995 in 1970."

Writing in Principal Magazine, Kathleen Cushman pointed out that the small school movement was driven by
the steady rise in school size that has seen the average school population increase five-fold since the end of World War II. A push to consolidate schools has reduced the number of districts by 70 percent in the same period. Ironically, this trend toward big schools coincides with research that repeatedly has found small schools -- commonly defined as no more than 400 students for elementary schools -- to be demonstrably better for students of all ability levels, in all kinds of settings. Academic achievement rises, as indicated by grades, test scores, honor roll membership, subject-area achievement, and assessment of higher-order thinking skills. For both elementary and secondary students, researchers also find small schools equal or superior to large ones on most student behavior measures. Rates of truancy, classroom disruption, vandalism, theft, substance abuse, and gang participation all are reduced in small schools, according to a synthesis of 103 studies.
Education is one of those human activities clearly centered on two people (teacher and student). As the system surrounding this experience becomes larger, more complex and more bureaucratic, the key players become pawns in a new and unrelated bureaucratic game. The role of the principal also dramatically shifts -- from being an educational administrator to being a cross between a corporate executive and a warden. It is such a transformation that helps to bring us things like what happened at Columbine.

Consider, for a moment, that not a single private school has merged with five or ten other academies in the name of efficiency and improved learning. No one has suggested an Andover-Exeter-Groton-Milton-Choate-Kent School Administrative District. ...

Yet not only do we find George Bush, with lots of Democratic support, actively destroying local control over public schools, mayors and governors rushing to join the attack.

For example, inspired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has yet to produce convincing results for his corporatization of public education, DC's 36-year old new mayor Adrian Fenty is following suit. He wants to abolish the elected school and put the system under his control despite his impressive inexperience in education. But Fenty, like many in politics and business, is absolutely convinced that certainty is an adequate substitute for competence.

How little he really understands was well described by Colbert King in the Washington Post:
If governance and lack of accountability are the main problems, why do students attending Lafayette and Murch elementary schools, which are west of Rock Creek Park, exceed proficiency targets in reading and math by wide margins while students at Ketchum and Stanton elementary schools, east of the Anacostia River, fall far short of the mark? The four schools are in the same governance structure. Their principals report to the same superintendent and are guided by the same school board policies. True, Lafayette and Murch, located in middle-income neighborhoods, have more white students. But before going off on a racial tangent, consider this: Black students attending Lafayette and Murch, in contrast to their counterparts in Southeast, also excel in reading and math.
King asked Fenty why his takeover would help matters: "His bottom line: he has the energy, determination, and sense of urgency that he feels are missing among school leaders to make those things happen." In other words, he thinks what the schools really need most is himself.

Perhaps even more bizarre is what is happening in Maine. The plan itself is familiar: the pursuit of the false god of educational efficiency through the concentration of school districts as ordered by the governor. 290 school districts would be merged into 26 regional administrative units.

What makes it stranger is that Maine is one of a handful of New England states where one can still find the remnants of American democracy functioning at human scale thanks to such institutions as town meetings and lots of small villages that do what they want without excessive interference from above. This tradition has produced in recent years more independent governors (although not the present one) than just about any state and a culture of honest independence in politics and governance that would best be emulated rather than reorganized.

And who suggested the course that the governor is following? None other than representatives of that citadel of Washington anti-democratic elitism, that hospice of prematurely aging MBAs and political science majors: the Brookings Institution. This is like Arianna Huffington coaching the Chicago Bears.

To add to the oddity, it is all being done in the name of "smart growth." ...

This is not a left-right struggle but one that may be far more important for our future: a struggle between communities and bureaucracies and between humans and systems. At present, the communities and humans are not winning.

Smart Growth

The tie-in with smart growth is quite revealing. The smart growth movement started as a largely well intentioned movement led by planners and environmentalists. Many of their proposals made sense but it had some serious problems, beginning with the insulting manner it treated suburban communities in which many Americans lived, had improved their lives and educated their children. As is traditionally the case with planners, these citizens were expected to adapt to a purportedly ideal physical model -- even at the cost of having to move or being evicted -- instead of having the emphasis placed on improving -- for them as well as the environment -- the communities in which they currently lived.

This is not a new problem with planners. In 1910, G.K. Chesterton described two characters, Hudge and Gudge, whose thinking evolved in such a disparate manner that the one came to favor the building of large public tenements for the poor while the other believed that these public projects were so awful that the slums from whence they came were in fact preferable. Wrote Chesterton:
Such is the lamentable history of Hudge and Gudge; which I merely introduced as a type of an endless and exasperating misunderstanding which is always occurring in modern England. To get men out of a rookery, men are put into a tenement; and at the beginning the healthy human soul loathes them both. A man's first desire is to get away as far as possible from the rookery, even should his mad course lead him to a model dwelling. His second desire is, naturally, to get away from the model dwelling, even if it should lead a man back to the rookery.

Neither Hudge nor Gudge had ever thought for an instant what sort of house a man might probably like for himself. In short, they did not begin with the ideal; and, therefore, were not practical politicians.
Much of American politics and planning follows the Hudge-Gudge model, producing failure for both conservatives and liberals -- the former offering us an army of the homeless and the latter presenting us finally with drug-infested housing projects.

In the case of smart growth, the Hudge-Gudge conflict could have been avoided by considering not just a community's ecological liabilities but its assets, and then figuring out how to lessen the former without harming the latter. ...

It is helpful also to bear in mind that next to economists, no profession has been so consistently wrong and harmful to the human spirit as urban planning. ...

The human, the community, the small were repeatedly considered archaic, insignificant and regressive.

From the progressive movement of the early 20th century on, well-meaning but excessively self-assured members of the elite have controlled the debate, the money and the plans, with barely restrained contempt for the reservations, concerns and resistance of the less powerful. And so it is with smart growth.

Listen to Grow Smart Maine:
Many of Maine's smaller cities and towns are experiencing unplanned growth but lack the resources and experience to manage that change in ways that protect the character of their community. ... The Model Town Community Project will work with a selected town during 2006 and 2007 to provide tools and advice that will help the town shape its future. The project will mobilize local, state and regional resources, enable the town to explore new growth strategies and fully engage local residents by combining the best elements of New England town meetings with ground-breaking new technologies.
In other words, we'll come in and show you how to run a town meeting our way, just like we learned at business school.

But if smart growth is meant to be about environmentally sound planning, how come we have to consolidate our school districts and our town offices?

Because once you put your faith in the sort of expertise that a planning-managerial elite offers, once you turn to MBAs like others turn to Jesus, then you don't really need democracy, town meetings or small schools. What you need is efficiency and managerial skill and you have been promised that, so why worry?

Further, even over smart growth's short life, a disturbing alliance has developed between some liberals and developers thanks to the latter discovering that the environmentalists didn't really want to stop them from building, they just want them to build somewhere else and most likely in a place where they could get more per square foot ...

In some neighborhoods, citizens are even being called NIMBYs because they don't want high-rises shoved into their pleasant communities and the name-callers include not just the developers but enabling liberals who think they're saving the planet. Never mind that in their own city, in Greenwich Village or in Europe there are plenty of examples of density without high-rise factory farms. ...

In both the school consolidation and the smart growth debates the issue of human scale -- and not some liberal-conservative conflict -- is at the core. But we have been taught -- by intellectuals, by the media, by politicians -- to revere a promise of efficiency and technological advance over the empirical advantages of living the way humans have traditionally lived, including valuing the small places that host, nurture and define their lives. We have been trained not to even notice when our very humanity is being destroyed in the name of mere physical change.

We should notice, though, because in the end, if we lose the fight for staying human, whether we were liberal or conservative won't have mattered a bit.

June 5, 2008

Wind Turbine Hell

Carol Cowperthwaite or Mars Hill, Maine, writes in the June 5 Waldo County Citizen (via National Wind Watch):

I am a resident of Mars Hill, whose personal life and community life have been severely impacted by the nearby UPC Wind plant.

Here is my story:

My husband and I had moved away from Mars Hill, and our retirement dream was to come back to old friends, peace, quiet and country living. The first year after building our house back here was heaven. The quiet was so complete that we thought we had gone deaf. The wildlife on our lawn was so much fun.

We had heard about the windmills, but when we asked how they would affect us if we bought the land, the town manager told us we wouldn’t even see them, much less hear them because they were going to be on the front of the mountain.

We believed him. That was our biggest mistake. At the time, we had no idea that the town fathers had not even read the application that they had co-signed, nor hired a lawyer to explain it to them. They had no idea what they had agreed to. They believed everything UPC had told them.

The biggest lie of all was that there would be no noise, or you had to be within 500 feet to hear anything. I believe that is still the propaganda.

We had one winter of quiet solitude, then with the spring came giant bulldozers, and cranes took over our mountain. Roads three lanes wide were being cut through the trees. Blasting began. We never knew when they were going to blast. The windows shook and the ledge would land on our lawn because they wouldn’t use mats. The heavy equipment would start up before daylight and go late in the night.

What a shock it was to all of us when they blasted away the whole end of the mountain. The giant scar got bigger and bigger. Then were more huge scars across our beautiful mountain. The whole terrain was being devastated. ... The beauty and the access to the ridges would never be again. ...

The massive white giants started turning and were on line in March 2007. Our lives greatly changed that day. We had been upset over the blasting and the devastation of the mountain and the eyesore, but nothing compared to the noise. As they added more windmills on line, the louder it got.

If we got up in the middle of the night, we couldn’t get back to sleep. We closed the windows, the doors, had the furnace running and the drumming never stopped. On a foggy or snowy day, it was always worse. Our TV flickers with each turn of the blades.

We both spent those winter nights roaming around the house because we couldn’t sleep. Then, the less we slept, the angrier we would become because of the situation. When I went out the front door, a sense of rage would hit me that I have never known before. Even after 30 years of teaching, raising two boys and going through a divorce has never produced the kind of rage I feel when those windmills are pounding.

When our autistic, seizure-prone granddaughter comes to visit, we spend no time outdoors due to the shadowing effects and the strobing effects. The shadowing and strobing red lights are known to induce seizures. My husband and I have both had depression from sleep deprivation and worries about investments of land, etc. Insomnia has become a way of life for me. We are still on medications for these problems.

We are, by nature, outdoor people. Most of our days were spent outdoors with gardening, the dog or just drinking tea on the porch. Now we have to do what we have to and head inside and turn up the TV. We have had no choices. We have had this lifestyle forced on to us.

When they start talking about tax breaks for the townspeople, ours amounted to $151; we have lost our lifestyle forever. The windmill people are paying three to four mills to the town for taxes. We are paying 20 mills. ...

If we had our privacy invaded, been harassed or had trespassers on our land, it would be illegal. Because it is just noise, all we can do is live with it. If you live within two to three miles, I pity you because of the noise. If you live within 50 miles, I pity you because of the eyesore.

One more thing — if you use your ridge for recreational uses that will be gone. We are not allowed on that mountain at all. All access trails are gated or chained, with no trespassing signs everywhere, even along the top of the mountain, just in case someone does get up there. They will tell you it is up to the landowners that they rent from, but that is another lie. Even with signed permission slips from the owners, try to find a way up.

You will have a hard time to fight these because our government receives money. Our state is 100 percent for wind power for bragging rights that Maine is a forerunner in “green” and the Department of Environmental Protection works for the state and its boss is the governor. The DEP added an extra five decibels to the acceptable noise level so UPC would be in compliance to the application. Politics is a hard thing to fight.

But, one thing is for sure! Once they are up and running, no matter what you do, they are not coming down until they fall down, and certainly never in my lifetime.

We are not against wind power but strongly feel turbines have to be placed where the impact is less. They should never be within five miles of a dwelling. Also, money should be put in escrow to remove them when their earning power is gone or they are too expensive to repair. I worry about Maine becoming a windmill bone yard because no small town will ever be able to afford to remove them.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism

October 4, 2014

Wind turbine setback and noise regulations since 2010

These changes in and new wind turbine regulations since 2010 do not include moratoria and bans. See also the list at Windpowergrab and the Renewable Energy Rejection Database at American Experiment.

[note:  1,000 ft = 305 m; 550 m = 1,804 ft; 1,000 m = 1 km = 3,281 ft = 0.62 mi; 1 mi = 1.61 km = 5,280 ft;  about decibels (dB)]

  • Sidney Township, Michigan, July 5, 2021:  300 ft height limit; setback 3,000 ft or 5× height [sic] from nonparticipating property line or right-of-way, 2.5 mi from lake or pond; noise limits of 40 dBA Leq (1 sec) and 50 dBC Leq (1 sec) and no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property; no radio, TV, or other interference [link]
  • Pierson Township, Michigan, June 15, 2021:  setback 4× height from occupied structures and property lines [link]
  • Boone County, Missouri, Planning & Zoning Commission approved June 17, 2021:  355 ft height limit; setback 1,750 ft from property line or public right-of-way; noise limits at property line 50 dBA daytime (7am–10pm), 45 dBA nighttime (10pm-7am) [link]
  • Worth County, Iowa, approved by Planning and Zoning Commission June 25, 2021:  at nonparticipating property: distance greater of 1,600 ft, 3.75× height, or manufacturer’s safety distance, noise limit greater of ambient or 45 dBA/60 dBC 6am–10pm, 40 dBA/60 dBC 10pm–6am, no shadow flicker; setbacks from eagle nest greater of 1,600 ft, 3.75× height, or manufacturer’s safety distance, 1/2 mi from public recreation area, significant body of water, and habitat >40 acres, 1 mi from public recreation area [link]
  • Clarion County, Pennsylvania, May 25, 2021:  at nonparticipating residence: distance 5× height, noise limit 45 dBA, no shadow flicker [link]
  • Kansas, introduced Feb. 24, 2021:  SB 279: setbacks greater of 7,920 ft (1-1/2 mi) or 12× height from residential property or public building, greater of 3 miles or 12× height from any airport, wildlife refuge, public hunting area, or public park, and greater of 5,280 ft (1 mi) or 10× height from nonparticipating property line [link]
  • Vulcan County, Alberta, Canada, Jan. 27, 2021 [proposed]:  45 dBA noise limit at property line; 800 m setback from nonparticipating residence [link]
  • Piatt County, Illinois, Dec. 9, 2020:  46 dBA noise limit outside of homes [link]
  • Ireland, Nov. 24, 2020 [Wind Turbine Regulation Bill reintroduced]:  10× height setback from any dwelling, no shadow flicker at dwelling, noise limits per WHO community noise guidelines [link]
  • Reno County, Kansas, Nov. 19, 2020:  setback from residence greater of 2,000 ft or 4× height [link]
  • Edgar County, Illinois, Nov. 4, 2020:  increased setback to 3,250 ft from primary structures [link]
  • Piatt County, Illinois, Oct. 22, 2020 [subject to county board approval]:  increased setback from greater of 1.1× height or 1,600 ft to nonparticipating structure to greater of 1.3× height or 1,600 ft to nonparticipating property line [link]
  • Gage County, Nebraska, Sept. 9, 2020:  increased setback to nonparticipating residence from 3/8 mile to 1 mile [link]
  • Batavia Township, Michigan, Sept. 1, 2020:  height limit 330 ft [link]
  • Reno County, Kansas, Aug. 2020 [proposed]:  40-dB annual average noise limit at any principal building (participating property or not) [link]
  • Hughes County, South Dakota, Aug. 17, 2020:  setback 1/2 mile or 4.9× turbine height from any occupied structure; 45-dB noise limit [link]
  • North Dakota, Mar. 2020 [subject to Attorney General review and approval of legislative Administrative Rules Committee]:  45 dB noise limit 100 ft from residence [link]
  • Fremont County, Iowa, May 2020 [proposed]:  setbacks 1,500 ft from participating residence, 2,000 ft from nonparticating residence, 1,000 ft from nonparticipating property line, 1 mile from incorporated cities, 3 miles from Mississippi River [link]
  • North Dakota, Mar. 2020 [subject to Attorney General review and approval of legislative Administrative Rules Committee]:  45 dB noise limit 100 ft from residence [link]
  • Honolulu (Oahu), Hawaii, Mar. 2020 [subject to full city council approval]:  setback 5 miles from nonparticipating property lines [link]
  • Matteson Township, Michigan, Mar. 4, 2020:  setbacks 1.25 mile from nonparticipating property line, 4× height to any residence; 328-ft height limit; noise limit 45 dB(A) or 55 db(C) at nonparticipating property line; no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property; allowed only in general agricultural, light agricultural, and research industrial zoning districts [link]
  • Farmersville, New York, Feb. 10, 2020:  height limit 455 ft, setbacks 3,000 ft to property line or well, 2,000 ft to roads, 1 mile to churches and schools including Amish homes and home schools; noise limit lower of 45 dBA at property line and 45 dBA outside dwelling or ambient + 10 dB(A), 10 dB added to nighttime (10pm–7am) levels; noise measurement specified, including C-weighted; shadow flicker on nonparticipating property limited to 8 hours/year and 1 hour/month; property value guarantee and decommissioning provisions [link]
  • Seville Township, Michigan, Jan. 13, 2020:  1,640-ft setback from nonparticipating property line [link]
  • Farmersville and Freedom, New York, Jan. 6, 2020:  2019 law revoked, reverting from 600-ft height limit, 1.3× height setback at property line, and 50-dBA noise limit to 450-ft height limit.  Proposed [approved Jan. 30, 2020, by Cattaraugus County Planning Board]:  height limit 455 ft, setbacks 3,000 ft to property line, 2,000 ft to roads, 1 mile to churches; noise limit lower of 45 dBA at property line and 45 dBA outside dwelling or ambient + 10 dB(A), 10 dB added to nighttime (10pm–7am) levels; noise measurement specified, including C-weighted; shadow flicker on nonparticipating property limited to 8 hours/year and 1 hour/month; property value guarantee and decommissioning provisions [link]
  • Fell Township, Pennsylvania, Jan. 6, 2020:  setback 5× total height to property line, minimum 1,500 ft; noise limit at property line 45–55 dB, 42–52 dB 10pm–7am [link]
  • Ireland, Dec. 12, 2019 [subject to public consultation]:  setback 4× total height to residences, minimum 500 m; noise limit (L90,10 min) outside sensitive properties (e.g., residences) lesser of 5 dBA above existing 30–38 dBA background noise or 43 dBA, with penalties for tonal noise and amplitude modulation and a threshold for low-frequency noise; no shadow flicker at sensitive properties [link]
  • Sanford, New York, Dec. 10, 2019: setbacks 3× height from all permanent structures and off-site property lines, rights of way, easements, public ways, power lines, gas wells, and state lands, greater of 1,500 ft or 3× height from all off-site schools, hospitals, places of worship, places of public assembly, and residential structures; noise limits at nonparticipating property line of 45 dBA Leq (8-hour), 40 dBA average annual nighttime level, no audible prominent tone, no human-perceptible vibrations, 65 dB Leq at full-octave frequency bands of 16, 31.5, and 63 Hz, and 40 dBA (1-hour) from substation equipment; maximum shadow flicker 30 min/day, 30 h/year [link]
  • Sherwood Township, Michigan, Dec. 5, 2019:  height limit 330 ft; setbacks 5× height to nonparticipating property, 1 mile from village, 2 miles from environmentally sensitive areas [link]
  • Posey County, Indiana, Nov. 25, 2019 [subject to town and County Commission approvals]:  noise limit greater of 45 dB or 5 dB over ambient (L₉₀) at nonparticipating property line more than 10% of any hour; no shadow flicker at nonparticipating residence [link]; Jan. 3, 2021:  10 mi distance from Doppler radar site [link]
  • Madison County, Iowa, Aug. 8, 2019:  Board of Health recommendation of 1.5 mi setback from nonparticipating property line, 2,100 ft from participating property line [link]; Sept. 8, 2019: County Board approves [link]
  • Montgomery County, Indiana, June 10, 2019:  setbacks greater of 2,640 ft (1/2 mi) or 5× height to property line (Board of Zoning Appeals may increase to 3,200 ft) and 1 mi from towns and schools; 32 dB(A) noise limit at property line; no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property; wells within 1 mi to be tested before and after [link]
  • Jasper County, Indiana, May 7, 2019:  setbacks greater of 2,640 ft (1/2 mi) or 6.5× height to nonparticipating property lines and 1 mile from nonparticipating existing residences, platted subdivisions, “institutional land uses” (e.g., schools), Iroquois and Kankakee Rivers, and confined feed lots; 35 dB(A) noise limit at nonparticipating property line; no shadow flicker on nonparticipating properties [link]
  • Monitor Township, Michigan, effective Apr. 29, 2019:  change of setback from 750 ft to 2,000 ft to nonparticipating or 1,640 ft to participating property line or right-of-way; no shadow flicker or strobe effect on nonparticipating property; no stray voltage; noise limits (Lmax) 45 dBA and 55 dBC at property line or anywhere within neighboring property, no detectable sound pressures of 0.1-20 Hz [link]
  • Worth, New York, Apr. 3, 2019:  setback 5× height to property lines, structures, and roads; 35 dB(A) noise limit during day, 25 dB(A) at night (7pm–7am) [link]
  • Kansas, introduced Feb. 12, 2019:  HB 2273: setbacks greater of 7,920 ft (1-1/2 mi) or 12× height from residential property lines or public building, greater of 3 miles or 12× height from any airport, wildlife refuge, public hunting area, or public park, and minimum 1,500 ft from any property line [link]
  • Nebraska, introduced Jan. 16, 2019 [subject to legislative approval]:  LB373: requires hosting counties to have wind ordinances restricting wind turbines within 3 miles of residence without owner’s permission and addressing noise and decommissioning [link]
  • Redfield, New York, Dec. 11, 2018:  setback 5× height to property lines, structures, and roads; 35 dB(A) noise limit during day, 25 dB(A) at night (7pm–7am) [link]
  • Henry County, Indiana, Nov. 14, 2018:  setback 4 miles from town lines: Blountsville, Cadiz, Greensboro, Kennard, Lewisville, Mount Summit, Springport, Straughn, Sulphur Springs, Mooreland [link]
  • Richland, New York, Nov. 13, 2018:  setback 1 mile from property line; height limit 500 ft; 35 dB(A) (for more than 5 minutes) noise limit at residences [link]
  • Adair County, Iowa, Oct. 24, 2018:  setback 2,000 ft to nonparticipating home, 800 ft to property line [link]
  • Kosciusko County, Indiana, Oct. 16 2018:  setback greater of 3,960 ft or 6.5× height to property line, right-of-way, or power line, 1 mile from community or municipality boundary; 32 dB(A) noise limit at property line; no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property; no detectable vibration in nearby structures or that could damage wells; no interference with TV, radio, GPS, etc.; property value guarantees within 2 miles; notification to all within 5 miles [link]
  • Paint Township, Pennsylvania, Aug. 7, 2018:  height limit 335 ft; setback 1.5&times height to buildings and roads, 2,500 ft to property line [link]
  • Greenwood, Maine, Aug. 6, 2018:  added height limit of 250 ft; lowered noise limits at nonparticipating property lines from 55 dB during day and 42 dB at night to, respectively, 35 and 25 dB; increased setback to nonparticipating property lines from 1.5&times height to 1 mile per 100 ft height [link]
  • Dekalb County, Illinois, July 12, 2018 [approved by Board, 19-3, Nov. 21, 2018 (link)]:  setback 6× total height to property line; height limit 500 ft; noise limit of 35 dBA during day (7am–10pm) and 30 dBA at night; no shadow flicker or flash; no radiofrequency or electromagnetic interference [link]
  • North Dakota, July 1, 2018:  decommission and land reclamation plan, cost estimates, and financial assurance required [link]
  • Ingersoll Township, Michigan, May 14, 2018:  [link]
  • Beaver Township, Michigan, May 14, 2018:  setback 4× total height to property line, public roads, and transmission lines; height limit 500 ft; noise limit 45 dBA Lmax or 55 dBC Lmax (or ambient plus 5 dB if greater) at property line [link]
  • Shiawassee County, Michigan, May 8, 2018 [subject to County Board of Commissioners approval]:  setback 3.5× total height to nonparticipating property line (changed from 1.5×); height limit 450 ft (changed from 600 ft); 45 dB noise limit at property line (changed from 55 dB); no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property (changed from 20 hours/year) [link]
  • Almer Township, Michigan, Apr. 2018:  setback 4× total height to nonparticipating property line; height limit 500 ft; 45 dBA noise limit at property line; no shadow flicker on nonparticipating property; decommissioning bond; all concrete to be removed
  • Tennessee, Apr. 24, 2018:  setback 5× total height to nonparticipating property line; height limit 500 ft [link]
  • Miami County, Indiana, Apr. 11, 2018:  change of setback from 1,000 ft to 2,000 ft to property line [link]
  • DeWitt County, Illinois, Apr. 19, 2018:  change of setback from 1,500 ft to 2,000 ft to houses [link]
  • Pierce County, Nebraska, Mar. 26, 2018:  setback 2,700 ft to houses [link]
  • Maroa, Illinois, Mar. 26, 2018:  setback 1.5 miles from city border [link]
  • Hopkinton, New York, Apr. 26, 2018:  setback 5× total height to property line; 40 dBA noise limit at nonparticipating residence [link]
  • Burnside Township, Michigan, Feb. 26, 2018:  change of sound limit to 45 dBA Lmax (maximum) at property line [link]
  • Yates, New York, Feb. 8, 2018:  change of setback to nonparticipating property line from 3× height to greater of 6× height or 1/2 mi; greater of 6× height or 1/2 mi to residences, public rights of way, and boundaries with other towns; 1 mi to village boundaries, schools, churches, and cemeteries; 3 mi from Lake Ontario shoreline (per US Fish and Wildlife Service recommendation); change of noise limit from 45 dBA during day (7am–8pm) and 40 dBA at night to 42 dBA during day and 39 dBA at night (per Vermont Public Service Board recommendation) [link]
  • Somerset, New York, Jan. 29, 2018:  height limit 150 ft; industrial zones only; setback greater of 1/2 mi or 6× height to public roads, property lines, and residences; 3 mi from Lake Ontario shoreline; 42 dBA limit during day (7am–9pm), 35 dBA at night [link]
  • Wabash County, Indiana, Dec. 18, 2017:  32 dBA limit outside of primary structures; no vibrations detectable on nonparticipant property; no shadow flicker on nonparticipant property; setbacks 3/4 mi to nonparticipant residential structure, 1/2  to nonparticipant business structure, 3/8 mi to participant residence, greater of 1,000 ft or 2× height to public roads [link]
  • Rochester, Indiana, Dec. 4, 2017:  setback 3 mi from city limits [link]
  • North Rhine–Westphalia, Germany, 2019 [subject to public comment]:  setback 1.5 km from municipalities; banned from forests [link]
  • Vermont, Nov. 22, 2017:  42 dBA limit 95% of the time 100 ft to nonparticipating residence during day (7am–9pm), 39 dBA at night (9pm–7am; goal to achieve interior sound level of ≤30 dB) [link]
  • Dixfield, Maine, Nov. 7, 2017:  setbacks 2,000 ft to property line, 4,000 ft to occupied building or scenic or special resource; sound limits at property line of 42 dBA at night (7–7), 55 dBA at day within 4,000 ft; 5 dBA added to any average 10-minute sound level in which a tonal sound occurs, 5 dBA added to any average 10-minute sound level in which ≥5 short-duration repetitive sounds occur [link]
  • Clark County, South Dakota, Aug. 14, 2017 [subject to appeal ruling]:  change of setback from 1,000 ft to 3,960 ft (3/4 mi) to residences [link]
  • Antelope County, Nebraska [subject to county commission approval]:  change of setback from 2,000 ft to 2,700 ft to nonparticipating residence; maximum of 2 turbines within 4,000 ft of nonparticipating residence [link]
  • Parishville, New York, June 22, 2017:  setback 5× total height to property line; 45 dBA noise limit at nonparticipating residence during day (7am–7pm), 35 dBA at night (7pm–7am) [link]
  • Bethel, Maine, June 14, 2017:  setback 2 miles to property line; 25 dBA limit at property line 7pm–7am, 35 dBA 7am–7pm; height limit 250 ft [link]
  • Walworth County, South Dakota, May 10, 2017:  setback 2 miles to property line [link]
  • Lincoln County, South Dakota, May 2, 2017 [upheld by referendum, July 18, 2017 (link)]:  setback 1/2 mile to homes; 45 dB limit at property line; shadow flicker limits [link]
  • North Dakota, June 5, 2017:  aircraft detection required to minimize lighting at night [link]
  • Clayton County, New York, Apr. 26, 2017:  own use only; setback 5.5× height to property line [link]
  • Livingston County, Illinois, Apr. 20, 2017:  setback to participating homes changed from 1,200 ft to greater of 3,250 ft or 6× height; setback to property line 1,640 ft; state Pollution Control Board noise limits measured at residential property line [link]
  • County Westmeath, Ireland, Jan. 31, 2017:  setbacks from homes 500 m for heights >25 m to 50 m, 1,000 m for heights >50 m to 100 m, 1,500 m for heights >100 m to 150 m, and >2 km for heights ≥150 m [link]
  • Rush County, Indiana, Dec. 16, 2016:  project approved with setback 2,640 ft to nonparticipating property lines and height limit 200 ft [link]
  • Wayne County, Indiana, Dec. 7, 2016:  zoning variance required for every turbine; large turbines not permitted: >100 ft tall, >50 kW, blade sweep >30 ft [link]
  • Hagerstown, Indiana, Nov. 22, 2016:  no structures over 100 ft height within 2 miles of town (extension of airport regulation) [link]
  • Sand Beach Township, Michigan, Oct. 2016 [approved by referendum, 413-80, May 2, 2017 (link)]:  40 dB limit at hosting residences during day, 35 dB at night; 35 dB and 30 dB for nonhosting residences [link]
  • Wabash County, Indiana, Oct. 17, 2016:  32 dBA limit outside of primary structures; shadow flicker at residential and business structures limited to 15 minutes per day, 4 days per year; setback 1/2 mi to nonparticipating residential or business structure [link]
  • Clayton County, New York, Sept. 27, 2016:  setback 1 mile to any structure, roadway, or property line; developers required to pay property owners for any damages or decreases in property value [link]
  • Palo Alto County, Iowa, Sept. 27, 2016:  setback 1,500 ft to dwellings and cemeteries [link]
  • L’Anse Township, Michigan, Aug. 10, 2016:  setback to nonparticipating property line (without easement) changed from 1,000 ft to 2,540 ft; height limit 500 ft [link]
  • County Laois, Ireland, Aug. 5, 2016 [augmented Mar. 29, 2017, by total ban (link)]:  setback 1.5 km to schools, dwellings, community centers, and public roads [link]
  • Newfield, New York, July 24, 2016:  setback 1,760 ft or 3&times blade radius to property line without lease or easement [link]
  • Letcher Township, South Dakota, June 8, 2016; effective July 1, 2016:  setbacks 1 mile to nonparticipating residence and 1,500 ft to property line [link]
  • Poland, May 2016:  setback 10&times total height of turbine to housing [link]
  • Gage County, Nebraska, Mar. 30, 2016:  45 dB limit at nonparticipating properties during day, 40 dB at night (10pm–7am); setback 3/8 mile to nonparticipating residence [link]
  • New Hampshire, Dec. 15, 2015:  sound limits: greater of 45 dBAL90 or 5 dBA above background level during day (8–8), 40 dBA during day, greater of 40 dBAL90 or 5 dBA above background level at night at any temporary or permanent residence; shadow flicker: no more than 8 hours per year at or in any residence, learning space, workplace, health care setting, outdoor or indoor public gathering area, or other occupied building [link]
  • Freedom, Maine, Nov. 17, 2015:  13× height setback to property line, 4× height to public roads, 2,500 ft to special resources; sound limits 5 dBA above preconstruction ambient level, 40 dBA during day, and 35 dBA at night at property line, and 20 dBC above preconstruction ambient dBA level at property line and inside dwellings [link]
  • Lancaster County, Nebraska, Nov. 10, 2015:  sound limits at exterior wall of dwellings 40 dBA and 3 dBA above background (by 10-minute average, Leq,10min) from 7am to 10pm, 37 dBA from 10pm to 7am [link]
  • Boone County, Illinois, Nov. 4, 2015:  change of setback from 1,000 ft to 2,640 ft (1/2 mi) to property line [link]
  • Catlin, New York, July 9, 2015:  sound limit at property line 35 dBA and 5 dBA above background for 5 minutes per hour; setbacks 10× rotor diameter to property line, 4× height to on-site residence [link]
  • Rush County, Indiana, July 1, 2015 (upheld by trial court May 27, 2016, appeals court Feb. 14, 2017, and supreme court May 25, 2017 [link]):  project approved with change of setback to 2,300 ft to residences and property line [link]
  • Peru, Massachusetts, June 6, 2015:  height limit [link]
  • Garden Township, Michigan, June 1, 2015:  35 dBA or 50 dBC limit at property line from 10pm to 6am [link]
  • Iroquois County, Illinois, Apr. 14, 2015:  change of setback to property line from 1,500 ft to 12 rotor diameters [link]
  • Cleburne County, Alabama, Feb. 9, 2015 [needs state approval]:  2,500 ft setback to property line, 40 dB sound limit [link]
  • Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Jan. 5, 2015:  1,000 m setback, 600 m with consent of homeowner [link]
  • Bavaria, Germany, Nov. 21, 2014:  10× height setback to homes, 800 m to other dwellings [link]
  • Adams Township, Michigan, Oct. 2014, affirmed Apr. 13, 2015 [link]:  3,000 ft setback to lines, roads, and homes [link]
  • Plympton-Wyoming, Ontario, Oct. 8, 2014; repealed under threat of lawsuit May 27, 2015 [link]:  50 dB average, +10 dB peak infrasound limit inside dwellings; 15 dBC or 20 dB infrasound limit over dBA level inside or outside dwellings; amplitude modulation limit indoors of 2 mPa RMS for 10 seconds out of any 40 seconds [link]
  • Mason County, Kentucky, Sept. 30, 2014:  wind turbines >50 kW in already-designated industrial zones only; 1 mile setback of turbines, substations, and maintenance/operation facilities to property line, residences/regularly used buildings, residential zones, rights of way, wetlands, etc.; 30 dBA and 50 dbC limits at property line [link]
  • Buckland, Massachusetts, Sept. 25, 2014:  limits of 250 kW capacity and 120 ft height, setbacks 360 ft to property line and half-mile to off-site residence [link]
  • County Offaly, Ireland, Sept. 15, 2014:  setback 2 km from towns and villages [link]
  • Fairview Township, Pennsylvania, Aug. 4, 2014:  height limit 350 ft, setbacks 1,500 ft to property lines and bodies of water, 1.1× height to roads [link]
  • Dallas County, Iowa, July 29, 2014:  setbacks 2,640 ft from residence, school, hospital, church, or public library, 2 miles from sensitive natural resource areas, wildlife management areas, prairies, wetlands, forested areas, etc.; 30 dBA noise limit at property line of any dwelling, school, hospital, church, or public library [link]
  • County Donegal, Ireland, June 30, 2014 [cancelled by Minister Oct. 6, 2016; reinstated Mar. 27, 2017]:  setback 10× tip height to places of residence or public assembly [link]
  • Ohio, June 16, 2014:  change of setback (1,125 ft from blade tip) to property line (from house) [link]
  • Schoolcraft County, Michigan, June 5, 2014:  setbacks 3,960 ft (3/4-mile) to dwellings and businesses, 1 mile to scenic areas, parks, highways; 35 dB(A) limit at property line, ambient plus 5 dB limit at dwellings [link]
  • Granville, Pennsylvania, May 5, 2014:  setbacks 2,000 ft to property line and participating residence and 2,500 ft to nonparticipating residence, 45 dBA or 45 dBC limit at property line [link]
  • Carteret County, North Carolina, Feb. 26, 2014:  change of setback to 1 mile (from 6× height), plus 275 ft height limit and 35 dB limit at property line [link]
  • County Offaly, Ireland, Sept. 15, 2014:  setback 2 km from towns and villages [link]
    • Eastern Kings, Prince Edward Island, 2013:  setbacks 4× height to participating dwelling, 3,280 ft (1,000 m) to nonparticipating dwelling [link]
    • Saxony, Germany, July 12, 2013:  setback 1,000 m to residence [link]
    • Woodstock, Maine, Mar. 25, 2013:  setback 1 mile to property line; 35 dBA limit at property line 7pm–7am, 45 dBA 7am–7pm [link]
    • Pratt County, Kansas, May 12, 2012:  2,500 ft to residence, or 1,000 ft with permission; maximum sound level at property line 50 dBC [link]
    • Wisconsin, Mar. 15, 2012:  1.1× height to property line, 1,250 ft to any residence [link]
    • Haut-Saint-Laurent, Montérégie, Québéc, Jan. 9, 2013:  2 km setback [link]
    • Denmark, Dec. 15, 2011:  addition of 20 dB low-frequency (10–160 Hz) limit (day and night) inside homes [link]
    • Frankfort, Maine, Dec. 1, 2011:  1 mile setback to property line, noise limits within 2 miles 35 dB day, 25 dB night [link] [repeal rejected Nov. 4, 2014; link]
    • Victoria, Australia, Aug. 29, 2011:  2 km setback without consent of homeowner [link]; reduced to 1 km Mar. 2015 [link]
    • Umatilla County, Oregon, June 28, 2011:  change of setback to 2 miles from “urban grown boundary”, 1 mile from "unincorporated community" zones (from 3,520 ft) [link]
    • Barnstable County (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, Apr. 20, 2011:  10× rotor diameter to property line [link]
    • Centerville Township, Michigan, Aug. 18, 2010:  height limit 199 ft; setback 10× rotor diameter to property line or road; noise limits at property line 35 dBA or 5 dBA above background during day, 3 dBA above background at night, with low-frequency limits and tonality penalty [link]
    • Allegany County, Maryland, enacted Jan. 1, 2010:  setbacks 2,000 ft to homes, 5,000 ft to schools [link]