Massachusetts Clean-Air Group Rails On Local Wind Turbine Installations

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Residents of a Massachusetts town are trying to get their local government to revoke the permits of wind turbines.

Plymouth residents say the turbines are disrupting their lives and could have serious health effects. The environmental and clean air group Buzzards Bay Coalition wants to shut down the turbines.

“The sound waves made it impossible to peacefully enjoy our patio and yard,” Larry McGrath, a resident who lives near the turbines, told the local media outlet Old Colony. “We basically just want an independent gathering and analysis of data by the appropriate town department. That would allow residents to have access to information about what is clearly a nuisance and quite likely, a health risk.”

A common complaint from people living near wind turbines is they cause “flickering” when the sun is behind their blades. There’s even some evidence it can cause headaches, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression symptoms in people who live nearby.

“During the big windstorm two weeks ago the sound of the blades was plainly audible inside my home, and my house actually vibrated,” McGrath said. “The town government that permitted these things should demand and monitor the information to ensure the health and quality of life of the residents and taxpayers of Plymouth are protected.”

Roughly 52 percent of Plymouth residents voted for Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, according to The New York Times. Clinton promised enough green energy to power every U.S. home if she was elected — undoubtedly meaning more wind turbines.

Local opposition to green energy projects in Democratic-leaning states and areas isn’t unique to Massachusetts.

Last month a proposed Maryland wind farm was killed by a utility law judge after it had already been rejected by local officials. The judge rejected the proposal because the noise and shadow flickers from the wind turbines might affect the “aesthetic of local communities on and around Dan’s Mountain.”

Another town in the deep-blue state of Rhode Island halted a new solar power project for the next three months over safety and land use concerns. Residents of Tompkins County, New York have been fighting a planned wind farm, which would power nearby Cornell University for the last 11 years.

Environmentalists are increasingly against wind and power at the local level. Even in comparatively progressive places like Vermont or Great Britain, wind farms tend to be aggressively opposed by local residents.

Major environmental groups like the Center For Biological Diversity have a long history of pursuing legal action against “green” development, like wind turbines or solar farms, ironically, because it may encroach on animal habitats and kill tens of thousands of birds.

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