Fantasy in Green

Mark Twain famously warned, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” Miles Grant carefully heeded Twain’s advice in his recent opinion about global climate change and wind opposition, . Grant is fairly brimming with religious fervor when he argues that wind power is necessary for reducing climate change. So much so, in fact, one might fairly say, he’s full of it!

The problem with Grant’s argument is that it assumes facts that are not in evidence. Wind turbines do not reduce CO2 emission, they increase it. In 2013, the U.S. spent some $80B subsidizing wind power, but CO2 only increased. In proportion to their economies, other industrialized nations around the world have invested far more heavily in wind energy than the U.S., but carbon emissions are still on the rise.

Part of the reason for this is that the energy from about 60% of the world’s power grids is supplied by coal, and all industrial turbines must be connected to a grid. Power grids must manage a careful balance between energy supply and demand. When wind turbines are spinning, the government requires coal generators to be slowed to balance the grid. This is called curtailment. When the turbines stop spinning, the coal plant production must be ramped back up again to preserve the balance of supply and demand. This process, called cycling, can take hours because coal generators ramp up very gradually.

The problem with cycling is that even the most efficient coal plants produce much greater CO2 emissions when they are not running at peak efficiency. As a result, wind farms connected to coal grids virtually ensure increased CO2 emissions—not to mention increased particulate air pollution—a dirty little secret that nobody wants you to know.

Grant mentioned the people who have to breathe the pollutants being belched out of the Brayton Point coal plant, but he forgot to mention the fact that connecting wind turbines to the same grid will make it much worse. The misguided demonstrators who marched into Fairhaven last year to support the turbines here clearly didn’t understand this danger either. The people who are being harmed by pollution from this coal plant should be doing everything in their power to prevent further turbines from being connected to the same grid.

BraytonPoint

Brayton Point Power Station, a coal-fired power plant located in Somerset, MA.

People like Grant, who look at wind power through jade-colored glasses, will be quick to argue that at least coal is not being burned when turbines generate power. Unfortunately, this too flies in the face of the macroeconomic facts. The U.S. has become an exporter of its coal surplus. The principal consumer of this surplus is China. When the Chinese burn our coal, however, their plants do not have to comply with EPA standards. As a result of these dirty coal plants, some industrialized cities in China now have local pollution so bad that the air is unbreathable for days on end. At least we can all agree on one thing; the climate is global, so we’re all breathing some of this pollution, too.

CHINA AIR POLLUTION

The result of burning coal in China.

Here are some other facts that the green zombies don’t want you to know. Every living plant growing in huge swaths of land are literally razed to the ground every time a wind turbine goes up. It isn’t just the ten acres needed for the site that get turned into a moonscape, either. Broad fire lanes and paved roads are often cut across ridges and mountain tops to accommodate the immense vehicles needed to build, service, and maintain these mechanical leviathans. The forest habitat is virtually hacked to ribbons that can no longer support the integrated native ecology of flora and fauna. Take a look at the wind farms in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine with Google Earth to see the true extent of environmental destruction cause by industrial turbines.

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An aerial shot of the Groton Wind Project in New Hampshire. (Click for a full tour of the ecological devastation.)

Another impact that the Mr. Green Jeans won’t mention is the economic one. In the U.K., wind power has driven the cost of electrical energy so high that a new class of poverty has emerged. More and more people are slipping below the poverty line, because they can no longer afford the high cost of electricity produced by turbines. In the global economy, the worst impact is placed on those who are already languishing in poverty.  

In proportion to its economy, Germany has invested more in wind than any other industrialized nation. Once the powerhouse of the E.U., its economy has been ravaged by its gamble on the roulette wheel of wind. According to government-paid researchers, the wind energy misadventure known as the Energiewende (energy transformation) has damaged the German economy so badly, that the Germans are bringing ten new coal generators online and more are planned.

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The $6-million-dollar turbines in Princeton, MA.

Princeton, MA, one of the earliest adopters of wind power in Massachusetts, has now reported a loss of $6 million, and has the highest electric rates in the Commonwealth.

Though the cost of wind energy is hidden by federal subsidies paid for with your tax dollars, a kilowatt of energy from a land-based turbine costs three times more to produce than conventional generators; and from offshore turbines, three times more than that, again. If Cape Wind is ever built, carbon emissions will continue to rise and Massachusetts will have the highest electric rates in the U.S.

By far the greatest cost of all, of course, is the human one. There is certainly no benefit to wind power sufficient to justify the damage to human health and well-being they cause. Wind turbine sites are ecological dead zones. The best science we have offers clear and compelling evidence that virtually everyone exposed to intense infrasound of the kind produced by industrial wind turbines will begin to suffer from cognitive impairment and/or cardiovascular disease. Turbines are a silent killer. Abandon hope, all ye who enter.

Contrary to the green dogma, the fact is that wind power doesn’t make sense whether you believe global climate change is real, or not. In the end, Grant’s fantasy-in-green isn’t even a good story. It’s just a fractured fairy tale, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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Elect Louise Barteau for Board of Health

Louise Barteau on the campaign trail.

Louise Barteau on the campaign trail.

Louise Barteau is not originally from Fairhaven; she chose it. When she and her late husband left Philadelphia they came here because they wanted to, because they loved it here. Since she is running for the Board of Health, that’s important. It means she doesn’t owe anyone political favors. Unlike her opponent, Jeannine Lopes, who works for Brian Bowcock; Louise Barteau doesn’t have to do what her boss—or anyone else—tells her. She is accountable to the voters alone.

Louise Barteau is retired now, too. So she can be a completely independent voice on the Board of Health. We won’t have to worry about her using her elected office as a means to promote her own business- or self-interests, as some members of the Board have apparently done for years. No wonder the political establishment in Fairhaven is afraid. They know she will put matters of public health and safety first.

This fear is what motivates the drones in the machine, a.k.a. Friends of Fairhaven Wind, to resort to scaremongering and attack ads to convince voters that she will somehow put the town at financial risk.

If you have been taken in by this nonsense, here is something you should know. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has a long and unbroken track record of upholding local Boards of Health and other boards, when they enact reasonable regulations to promote health and safety. Massachusetts law (Ch. 111, section 31) empowers them to do so. In 2001, for example, it upheld the Barnstable Board of Health for enacting second hand smoking regulations in restaurants. Just this past year, the Falmouth ZBA was upheld twice for finding the town’s turbines to be a noise nuisance. It is Fairhaven Wind that faces the real risk of reasonable regulations and that is the real concern for the drones. That’s why they call themselves Friends of Fairhaven Wind instead of just Friends of Fairhaven.

As Roosevelt put it, on the other hand, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Louise Barteau has a genuine, natural concern for people. When the turbines began to spin, she was concerned about the impacts they were having on health and property values; but she was unwilling to take anyone’s word for what was really happening. Instead, she went door-to-door throughout the affected neighborhoods to hear firsthand what people were actually experiencing. That is how so many people in Fairhaven came to know her for the honest, decent, and considerate person that she really is. For her part, she felt that using her personal time to get to know her neighbors better, was time well spent. Anyone who has gotten to know her, knows this is the type of person she truly is.

Her opponent, Jeannine Lopes, by contrast, has steadfastly and obstinately refused to even listen to anyone who is being harmed. As a sitting member of the Board, she has voted twice to deny residents the chance to even be heard in an open public forum. For more than two years now, she has chosen to ignore nearly 700 complaints made directly to her office. She has declined to even investigate these complaints because she already knows that they are perfectly legitimate. Investigating them would be highly inconvenient for her, because it would force her to do something she has never done before: take action to protect the public. That would be the last thing that those who are holding her political markers would want—and she knows it.

Voters have a clear choice.

Louise Barteau is intelligent and well-educated. She is a Harvard grad and she has spent most of her adult life studying botany and the ecology of native plants and birds. She has the demonstrated intellect to understand the complexities involved in public health policies and the natural curiosity to educate herself about issues which are unfamiliar to her. Her opponent demonstrably does not.

Democracy in America is based on a system of checks and balances, to ensure limitations on the power of any one branch. For government to work correctly, though, we have to elect strong-minded, intelligent, responsible people who have the courage to do the right thing. Louise Barteau is all those things.

On April 7th, we have a chance to make government work correctly again in Fairhaven, but voters will have to have the courage to do the right thing as well: Elect Louise Barteau.

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An Open Letter Opposing the Australian Medical Association

[Editor’s note: Recently, the Australian Medical Association issued a position statement regarding wind turbines and health. In brief, the AMA claims that there is no evidence that wind turbines cause adverse health effects. What follows in an open letter to the Australian Minister of Health, the Honorable Peter Dutton, and to Senator Fiona Nash, criticizing the AMA, disputing its position, and supporting the governments decision to initiate independent research into the health impacts of industrial wind turbines. ]


March 23, 2014

Dear Mr. Dutton and Senator Nash,

Let me begin by congratulating you for taking the initiative to ensure that much needed research into the adverse health impacts from industrial wind turbines is undertaken. In this respect, Australia is truly leading the world.

Today, I write to you concerning the recently published statement by the Australian Medical Association. While we await the results of further independent study, this is a matter which I consider to be urgently important for public health policy in Australia and around the world. My first reaction to the AMA’s remarks was stunned disbelief. My second reaction was that history has begun repeating itself with amazing velocity. Allow me to explain.

In the spring of 2012, backed by financial enticements and enormous political pressures from the State of Massachusetts and the Governor’s office, a wind project began in my home town of Fairhaven. This project began over the vocal objections of many local residents and without any of the safeguards ordinarily required for industrial construction in a residential zone. During construction, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health (MA-DEP) issued its now infamous report, entitled Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel.

I was immediately reminded of this report by the statement from the AMA. Though the Massachusetts report called itself a health impact study, no subjects were actually examined or even interviewed. Though it was purported to be a report by a panel of experts, none of its contributors had any recognized expertise related to turbine health impacts; and, by their own admission, none of them had ever conducted a single study in this area. Ostensibly, the study was about wind turbine noise, but not a single sound measurement was taken. From its inception, it was nothing more than a thin façade to hide the danger and lull the public into a false sense of security about turbines.

Meanwhile, two 1.5 Mw turbines were planted in the midst of very quiet, but densely populated residential neighborhoods in Fairhaven. Compared to most, this project seems very small, but it is uniquely hazardous because there are more than 6,000 residents living within the known radius of health impacts, some as close as 600 feet. In short, there are few places in the world where this many people are living this close to turbines this large. The Fairhaven project has generated some 700 formal, written complaints to the local Board of Health in just two years; yet, only now, when the impact is already plain for everyone to see, the Massachusetts legislature has decided to fund a real health study.

Since it was published, the Massachusetts report has been widely criticized by recognized experts as junk science, a veritable masterpiece of cherry-picking from publications primarily paid for by the wind industry itself. I suspect that the opinions expressed by the AMA are quite similar in this regard—merely pseudo-scientific opinionating. Despite the obvious defects of the Massachusetts “study,” and despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, the MA-DEP continues to cite it as proof that living near turbines is perfectly safe. It is being used, in my opinion, to fraudulently reassure the unsuspecting public that there is no risk. It is my grave concern that history is repeating itself. I’m confident that the groundless AMA claims will be used in the same way by an unscrupulous wind industry and its zealous proponents.

In writing this open letter to you, it is my hope that the Ministry of Health can benefit from understanding the mistakes made in Massachusetts and perhaps hold the AMA accountable for its irresponsible remarks. Even today, the MA-DEP report is used by pro-wind groups around the world to dismiss the harm caused by wind turbines, and to provide an authoritative justification for industry practices which lie at the root of an unending stream of human misery, illness, and home abandonment. You can find firsthand accounts of these impacts in Fairhaven here. You may be sure that the AMA comments will be utilized in a similar way, to rationalize further violations of the basic human right to health and to dismiss the suffering and legitimate complaints of residents forced to live amidst wind farms in rural Australia.

The flaws of the MA-DEP report and the AMA pronouncement are strikingly similar. Note, for example, that the AMA claims that “Wind turbine technology is considered a comparatively inexpensive and effective means of energy production.” Not only is this statement demonstrably false, it presupposes an expertise in energy production and economics which the AMA board can lay no claim to possess.

The AMA also echoes the tired refrain of the wind industry that “upwind turbines generate much lower levels of infrasound and low frequency sound.” This claim has been debunked by acoustic experts for many years now; but, again, the AMA lacks any credible expertise in acoustics, and fails to cite any studies by true acoustic experts that support this view—and it never will, because such studies do not exist.

Outrageously, the AMA imputes that “Individuals residing in the vicinity of wind farms who do experience adverse health or well-being, may do so as a consequence of their heightened anxiety or negative perceptions regarding wind farm developments in their area.” This explanation is patently ridiculous; it flies in the face of the obvious fact that most people who are now suffering from the symptoms of wind turbine syndrome had a very positive perception of wind farms initially—until they had firsthand experience of living close to them. Such perceptions must be very negative indeed to force whole families to abandon their multi-generational homes and farms in epidemic proportions. In several years of intense personal research about these health impacts, I have never found a single, quantitative study, by any reputable researcher that supports this explanation.

In Fairhaven, a good friend has suffered from intense tinnitus and debilitating migraines whenever the nearby turbines are spinning. Out of concern that she might foster an atmosphere of fear or anxiety for her ten year-old son, she shielded him completely from any discussion about turbines in their home. Imagine her despair when her son came downstairs late one night and said “Mommy, I can’t sleep because there’s a buzzing in my head and I feel dizzy.” What explanation does the AMA offer when someone suffers from health effects without any perceptions about wind farms at all?

You may rest assured that if valid scientific evidence existed to demonstrate that turbines are safe, the wind industry would trumpet it daily from every media outlet in the industrialized world. Such evidence simply doesn’t exist. This is not my opinion, but the result of the most extensive literature review ever undertaken on this topic, conducted by the Canadian doctors, Hazel Lynn and Ian Arra. After searching through millions of documents in almost every peer-reviewed journal in the English language, they found that there are NO studies in the world that prove there is NO association at all between turbine noise and health impacts.

To get to the bedrock truth about the real adverse health effects caused by wind turbines, I strongly urge the Ministry of Health to ensure that the proposed study is a multidisciplinary one that combines independent experts in acoustics, medical research (especially in the area of neurophysiology), and epidemiology. Unless careful measurements are obtained from the full sound spectrum, specifically including infrasound and low frequency noise and vibration, both indoors and out; the root causes of these impacts will not be captured. In addition, sound must be monitored in direct combination with standard, objective physiological measurements of subjects, such as EEG during sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones such as cortisol. Only when turbine noise and its direct impact on the body are observed together can the link between cause and effect be placed beyond dispute.

I realize that a study of this kind will be very costly, but not nearly as costly as the burgeoning health crisis that has been created by the willful ignorance of the wind industry and now the complicity of the AMA. Shouldn’t both embrace such investigations with open arms as an opportunity to prove what they have said all along? Or, are they already aware that very different conclusions will be reached?

In the absence of a bona fide health study, the Massachusetts report at least made a pretense of adducing evidence, but the AMA evidently expects Australians to blindly accept its findings based purely on its own authority. One might expect such a statement from the Vatican, but it strains credulity coming from an organization which takes the term medical as its middle name and which presumably embraces a foundation in science. Conveniently, the AMA offered no references for its opinion, so none can be disputed in the glaring light of day. To quote the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis on matters such as this, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

It is most telling that the AMA has chosen to advance a claim without providing a basis in evidence, rather than calling for a scientific study that could decide a matter of such supreme importance to public health on the basis of fact. Under these circumstances, it is only reasonable to demand that the AMA produce the evidence which support its “findings” so that they can be scrutinized and validated by other researchers and experts. In addition, if the AMA is advancing a medical opinion intended to influence public policy, it is also sensible to insist upon full disclosure of any influences, gifts, or other financial inducements from the wind industry, or other interested parties, that would constitute a legitimate conflict of interest.

Should the AMA prove unwilling to accede to these demands, it will have revealed the true nature and import of its opinion as nothing more an implicit product endorsement on behalf of the wind industry. It is remarkable to me that an organization founded by a profession whose primary concern should be the health and medical care of Australians, could make promotion of wind energy a top priority. In the future, perhaps the public will realize that AMA opinions deserve no more respect or credibility than those of any other industry PR group.

History is rife with shameful examples in which physicians have allowed their medical judgment to be distorted by undue industry influence. In the U.S., the influence of the tobacco and asbestos industries are perhaps the most notable, but there are many others. The wind industry is the latest entrant in this time-honored tradition of enlisting the help of physicians to cloak real health hazards in the mantle of greater public good. I have written at length about this comparison in my recent article: Is Big Wind the New Big Tobacco?

If left unchallenged, this unholy alliance between doctors and industry seems destined to produce a domino effect of damage to public health that extends far beyond the borders of Australia, just as the alliance of Big Tobacco and physicians has proliferated smoking-related illnesses around the world. In this regard, I believe we have common cause for action.

Respectfully yours,

Curt Devlin

Fairhaven, MA

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A Factual Response to the Vestas Propaganda Machinery…

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Is Big Wind the New Big Tobacco?

Feb 17, 2014
handgun
— Curt Devlin, Guest Editor
Faced with growing evidence that industrial wind turbines (IWT’s) cause serious adverse health impacts, comparisons between the wind industry and the tobacco industry are getting more obvious all the time. The Big Wind tactics of stalling, dismissing legitimate concerns, and outright denial of the link between turbines and health problems seem straight out of the Big Tobacco playbook.

Perhaps this pattern is standard behavior for dirty industries, especially when there is no easy way to acknowledge the harm they cause without damaging profits as well. Despite these similarities, there are also fundamental differences between these two industries, the problems they create, and how they create them. Anyone looking to hold Big Wind accountable for the havoc it creates should pay careful attention to these differences as well. Forewarned is forearmed. Read more…

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How much science is enough?

Peter Deterra, the recently re-elected Health Board member in Fairhaven and his cohort, Jeannine Lopes, have repeatedly said we need more science before action can be taken to protect residents from the harmful effects of the wind turbines. Given this ardor for science, they have probably already read Paul Schomer’s recent research, but perhaps others might be interested.

Paul Schomer is a PhD in Acoustics, a member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, and a Professor of Acoustics in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at the University of Illinois. He is one of the most distinguished and widely published experts in acoustics today, with more than 35 refereed publications, and numerous patents for acoustic instrumentation.

Recently, Schomer gave testimony to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission regarding a proposed wind plant in the Town of Highland, Wisconsin. In his testimony, Schomer said:

”In a recent paper…I show that for a small group of specially selected people, the probability that motion sickness-like symptoms experienced by wind farm residents are unrelated to wind turbine noise is less than two in a million. In other words, it is virtually certain that these individuals are adversely affected with serious health effects that result from the acoustic emission of nearby wind turbines.”

To rephrase, there is a 99.9998% probability that wind turbines cause motion sickness-like symptoms in people who live near them. To put this in context, it is more certain than the probability that smoking causes cancer.

Schomer goes on to testify that ”All the experts in this proceeding agree that the louder the turbines are in audible noise and the larger the turbines are in structure, the more infrasound will be produced. The larger mega turbines seem to correlate very starkly with health impacts. It is significant that in a wind farm with only eight turbines, three families have left their homes in the Town of Glenmore.”

Two points worth noting here. First, the louder the audible sound from the turbines, the more infrasound they produce. Secondly, infrasound from large turbines causes damage to health. This tracks closely with Dr. Nina Pierpont’s recommendation in Wind Turbine Syndrome that community standards for audible noise should be much lower for turbines because of the infrasound and low frequency noise that goes with it. Pierpont recommended a nighttime standard of 35 dbA for turbines. This is close to the 33 dbA community noise standard recommended by the EPA since 1974, long before wind turbines were even an issue. Perhaps the board of health should take note that two in Fairhaven routinely operate at 50+ dbA according to the DEP report.

Beginning in 1980, a long line of acoustic experts who have reached similar conclusions about the dangers of large turbiness, including Malcolm Swinbanks, DN Kelley, GP van den Berg, Rick James, George Kamperman, Bob Thorne, Steven Cooper, Stephen Ambrose, and Robert Rand to name some of the most notable. Remarkably, there are no independent studies to show turbines are safe.

Some months ago, Dr. Hazel Lynn and Dr. Ian Arra conducted the most extensive literature search and meta-analysis concerning the health impacts of turbines ever attempted. Their study surveyed virtually every major source of peer-reviewed publications and journals in the English language, covering millions of documents. They concluded that there are NO studies in the world that prove there is NO association at all between turbine noise and ill health. None.

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Ken Kimmel, Commissioner, MA-DEP

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Alicia Barton, formerly Deputy Commissioner of MA-DEP, now Executive Director of MassCEC

In my opinion, the complete lack of evidence that turbines are safe led the MA-DEP Commissioner, Ken Kimmel, and his then Deputy, Alicia (McDevitt) Barton, to commission the “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study” at great taxpayer expense. In this “study,” no turbine noise was measured, no one affected was examined or interviewed, and no one with actual experience or expertise researching turbine health impacts contributed to it.

Not surprisingly, this study has been widely condemned by true experts as a sham, as junk science. In my opinion, this study is nothing more than a shameless attempt to fraudulently convince communities in Massachusetts that wind turbines were safe—despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. Perhaps that is why Schomer specifically mentioned this study in his testimony:

”In a paper to be presented and to be published in December 2013…we show that the Massachusetts study’s conclusions about the lack of connection between human health and infrasound and wind turbine noise are flat out wrong.”

Is Schomer’s work finally enough science for the likes of DeTerra and Lopes to take action to protect Fairhaven residents? Or, will their further delay amount to another case of what Paul Schomer called “…a grand experiment with the Town residents as the guinea pigs”.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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The Fairhaven Board of Health is open for business—but closed for residents

For over a year now, the residents have petitioned the Fairhaven Board of Health to have an open public hearing so that those who are being harmed by the turbines can tell their story and have their voices heard. Peter DeTerra and Jeanine Lopes have steadfastly refused to grant this request. They have refused to take any steps to investigate the large and growing list of complaints. They have slammed the door shut in the face of residents who desperately need help.

DeTerra and Lopes put any doubt about their intentions to rest when they voted to reject a motion by fellow Board member, Barbara Acksen, to hold a public hearing. DeTerra and Lopes actually voted to refuse to listen to those being harmed.

In effect, they voted to ignore the responsibilities of their office to protect the health of residents— and to defer simply human decency. They voted to continue ignoring residents and reject any shred of empathy. No surprise. For a year and a half, they have completely turned their back on almost 500 health complaints and refused to hold a joint session with the Select Board or even discuss the problem with them. They have made no effort at all to investigate the validity of these complaints. The Fairhaven Board of Health is closed to residents.

At the same, DeTerra has repeatedly granted full access for a public hearing and executive session to the wind developers he is supposed to regulate. DeTerra’s Board may be closed for residents, but it is definitely open for business—with extended hours.

So, before casting your vote on September 9th, there are some things you should know about Peter DeTerra and his responsibilities, or the lack thereof. The most fundamental responsibilities for any local Board of Health are defined by Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 111, sections 142 – 150. The most important of these is section 143, the so called “Noisome Trades” law. The first thing you need to know about this law is that it is NOT about noise regulation per se.

Section 143 is a very old, well-established law in Massachusetts. The English word ‘noisome’ actually comes from a Middle English term ‘noiesome’ or ‘noysome’ which actually means ‘harmful’—not noisy. The terms nuisance and annoyance derive from the same root and they mean harm, not mild aggravation. So when you read the expression noisome trades in sections 143 – 150, you should read this to mean harmful trades. This is the only way that you can make sense of such expressions as “noisome and injurious odors,” for example.

This law is about the regulation of trades which are harmful and injurious, regardless of whether it is odor, sound, or toxicity. That is what the Board of Health is supposed to do. This fact has been established in case after case for many, many years. Turbines are a noisome trade because they are harmful to people, not because they are noisy. Making them quieter does not matter if people still get headaches or nausea, for instance.

The concept of ‘assignment’ is also extremely important in this context. It is the power to assign a new location to harmful or injurious trades in order to protect residents who live near them. The Board of Health has this power to relocate any business or trade which is harmful when it is too close to residents. It can order such a trade to move to someplace it deems to be safe for the public.

Section 143 is very clear and easy to understand once you know what these terms actually mean. It says:

No trade or employment which:

1)      may result in a nuisance, or

2)      [may] be harmful to residents, injurious to their estates, dangerous to public health, or

3)      may be attended by noisome or injurious odors 

~shall be established in a city or town

~except in such a location as may be established by the Board of Health

~after a public hearing is held [on the subject],

~subject to [G.L.  c. 40A] and …

~[the] board of health may prohibit the exercise [of trade or employment] within the …city or town in places not so assigned, in any event.

This is the law in every city and town in Massachusetts. Notice that in the second clause the law says ‘may’ be harmful. This language means that the Board of Health can act even when the evidence is not conclusive. It can act when it has reasonable grounds to believe that there is harm, injury, or danger to public health.

For example, the 450 complaints of sleeplessness, headaches, ringing ears, dizziness, and nausea that residents have lodged with the Board, constitute more than sufficient reason for the Board to take action to protect people. Notice also that the law says that the location must be established by the Board after a public hearing. In Fairhaven, no such assignment ever occurred and no hearing was ever held.

There is one more very important point about this. Peter DeTerra claimed that Fairhaven Wind had the automatic right to have a public hearing once they were ordered to shut the turbines down at night. This is actually completely false. Fairhaven Wind has no such right. What the law actually says is this:

[A]ny person, including persons in control of public land, aggrieved by the board of health in assigning … places for the exercise of any trade or employment … may, within sixty days, appeal from the assignment of the board of health to the [DEP] [which] may, after a hearing rescind, modify, or amend such assignment.

In other words, the only time a business has the right to appeal a decision by the Board of Health is when it has made an assignment of location. DeTerra stated publicly that Fairhaven Wind did have a legal right to appeal the nighttime shutdown order; but, in fact, no assignment of location for Fairhaven Wind was ever made. Therefore, they have absolutely no legal right to appeal or to a hearing of any kind. Even if the Board had made an assignment of location, Fairhaven Wind would have to appeal the assignment to the DEP—not the Board of Health.

DeTerra gave Fairhaven Wind full and unfettered access to a public hearing and executive session purely because he wanted to do so, not because of any legal requirement as he claimed. He gave the opportunity to be heard to the party causing harm, but refused the same opportunity to those being harmed. He ignored their written complaints, too. There is no doubt that DeTerra’s door is open for business, but closed to the public. His door is closed to the very people the law requires him to protect.

Fortunately, the voters will have the chance to close the door on DeTerra come Monday, September 9th. They will have a chance to close the ugliest chapter in the history of Fairhaven’s Board of Health. If you want to stand by your neighbors, if you think they should be allowed to air their grievances and be heard, and if you want to change Fairhaven for the better, then you know what to do.

Vote for John Wethington for the Board of Health and put an end to business as usual in Fairhaven’s Board of Health. Help make Fairhaven a truly fair and safe haven once again.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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