BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cape Vincent and Clayton Not - So - Strange Bedfellows when it comes to Noise report cover-ups

 Iberdrola's Horse Creek Wind Project is back in the news. Apparently Iberdrola filed official notification with the NYS Public Service Commission last December, indicating that they intend on pursuing their wind project, under an Article 10 process.

 Early in the wind development process the Town of Cape Vincent had commissioned Cavanaugh Tocci and Associates to analyze the noise study by the wind developers. The Cavanaugh Tocci report was critical of  BP/Acciona's current flawed sound study  ;  subsequently the critical report was suppressed. read more about this[ here]

Apparently Clayton, New York had similar issues with their sound study as well.
October 7, 2008  Industrial Wind Action Group  wrote an depth editorial that tells about a cover up concerning the pre-construction sound study reports conducted for  Iberdrola's Horse Creek Wind Complex.

Horse Creek wind farm: Noise report cover-up (Posted October 7, 2008) PPM Energy's Horse Creek Wind Farm proposal, now suspended while NY State officials evaluate the potential high bat mortality from the turbines, is the center of a sobering debate concerning pre-construction sound study reports. The proposed project consists of sixty-two industrial wind turbines spanning the towns of Clayton and Orleans in upstate New York. Over 1000 residents reside within the project's proposed footprint.

In January 2007, shortly after the Town of Clayton adopted its Wind Energy Facilities Ordinance (Local Law 1) governing placement of turbines in the town, PPM released its Noise Analysis report on the project prepared by Global engineering giant CH2M HILL. The report's summary states: "The facilities steady state noise levels are predicted to comply with the Town of Clayton's Wind Energy Facilities Ordinance limit of 50 dBA at off site residences." It further adds "the facilities noise level may exceed the existing levels by 6 dBA at lower wind speeds but maintains compliance with the Town of Clayton's Wind Energy Facilities Ordinance limit of 50 dBA". New York State guidelines suggest that sound level increases over existing background should not exceed 6 dBA.

Serious and substantial complaints filed by Clayton residents regarding possible excessive and harmful noise impacts from the turbines prompted the Planning Board to hire acoustic engineering firm Cavanaugh Tocci Associates (CTA) of Sudbury MA to evaluate the CH2M HILL report. CTA was specifically requested to "re-evaluate noise impact per NYSDEC guidelines and Town of Clayton Local Law 1 2007 Wind Energy Facilities".

The completed CTA report was received by Clayton officials, Town Supervisor Justin Taylor and Planning Board Chairman Roland Baril, on or around February 15, 2008 but never released to other Planning Board members or the public. Apparently, CTA's report was deemed "too complicated" for review. Three Freedom of Information requests were filed with the town, including one from the local newspaper, and all were denied. Clayton Supervisor Mr. Taylor announced through the Town's engineering consultants Bernier & Carr Associates that CTA's report was sent back with the request that an executive summary be provided to help explain CTA's findings. CTA complied and delivered a 2-page summary on August 25. This summary was again held by Taylor and Baril.

During the Oct 1 regular meeting of the Clayton Planning Board, Planning Board Chairman Baril informed the attending residents as well as the Planning Board that it was the recommendation of Bernier & Carr Associates that CTA's report again be refused as too technical for public review and that CTA's executive summary would be the ONLY document released to other Board members. Taxpayers were welcome to a copy of the summary via a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Clayton Town Clerk.

According to the CTA executive summary, there are serious problems with the methodology employed by CH2M HILL in conducting its noise analysis whereby estimated background sound levels were overestimated. CTA also makes clear that participating property owners, those who've entered into lease agreements with PPM, should update their real estate deeds to reflect noise easements. CTA is clear that noise emanating from the turbines, even if compliant with Clayton's Local Law 1, will affect future property owners who might occupy a dwelling.

The problem of Wind Turbine noise is becoming more pronounced as turbines are built close to where people live. Windaction.org is tracking noise issues in numerous locations including Mars Hill, ME, Lowville, NY, Brownsville, WI, McLean County, IL, and Blair County and Meyersdale, PA, in the UK and Canada. In each of these cases, the question of noise was either never raised prior to the towers being erected or the residents were informed there would be no issue. It's remarkable the lengths PPM and some Clayton officials are going to just to avoid the question. Denying a problem exists in the face of growing evidence is unproductive and will ultimately harm the wind industry and its proponents.

Update: At Clayton's town board meeting on Oct 8, Supervisor Justin Taylor announced the CTA report would now be released to the public.

The Watertown Times : Staff reporter Nancy Madsen
did a story about Clayton Town officials refusing to let residents see a report evaluating the noise study done for Horse Creek Wind Farm. Link -->here<-- about="" read="" span="" style="color: red;" to="">Town keeping mum on noise report

Link here to read the Cavanaugh Tocci Summary and~ Turbine Noise report


Anonymous said...

I have tried to discuss the project with Taylor on many occasions. I found him to be less than honest about details I already knew, he was insulting and to me appeared to be very sneaky. He is not the man that I think should be in the government when such an important region changing threat is upon the Thousand Islands Region.

Anonymous said...

Clayton new york needs the same kind of political awareness that brought a more protective town government to Cape Vincent.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you keep those minutes. In the past it appeared that some minutes may have been removed.

Anonymous said...

Clayton did a very professional, scientific,study of the noise issue to arrive at their sound restrictions.

The town councilmen and supervisorlistened to a 50 db outdoor sound recording, while inside a cabin on Grindstone Island. The noise was not objectionable to them ,and Justin Taylor decreed that the issue would be decided by them,since they were elected to make important decisions. 50 db's it is.

Who could argue with such an empirical, objective study and determination.

You just can't please everyone.

Anonymous said...

11:59 AM

You forget that 3 of the current councilman voted to accept the
recommendations of the Clayton Wind Committee:

• George Kittle
• Lance Peterson
• Robert Cantwell

From March 13, 2009

The Town of Clayton Wind Law Review Committee Report:

It is the consensus of the Clayton Wind Committee based on scientifically sound and credible information, obtained from the World Health Organization Guidelines for Community Noise, the How to Guide to sighting wind turbines to prevent health risks from noise, Kamperman & James Report, version 2.1 dated October 28, 2008, to make the following recommendations to the Town of Clayton Board.


In regards to audible noise ambient sound La90 must be measured (using ANSI or IEC Type 1 standard) preconstruction by an Independent Licensed Acoustical Engineering Firm approved by The Town of Clayton Town Board paid for by the developer.
In regards to Low Frequency Noise (LFN) , ambient noise Lc90 must be measured (using ANSI or IEC Type 1 standard) preconstruction by an Independent Licensed Acoustical Engineering Firm approved by The Town of Clayton Town Board paid for by the developer.

Generated sound by Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) shall not exceed background La90, sound level by more than 5 dBA at all non-participating property lines.

Generated sound (L90 by WECS shall not exceed 50dBA, as measured at any public and private dwellings including churches, schools ,hospitals and libraries.
Non-participating residents shall be allowed to sign a noise easement regarding noise levels at their property lines, but not to exceed 50 dBA at their residences.
Sound measurement location requirements should be done per Kamperman & James, October 28, 2008, version 2.1, pg 19.

So your statement:

"Clayton did a very professional, scientific,study of the noise issue to arrive at their sound restrictions."

The Clayton Wind Law Review Committee studied the science and it was accepted by the town council only to be changed by Justin Taylor.

I think it's time for Justin to unsneak and deal with science.

We are seeking to be pleased by Justin dealing with facts and representing the Health and Safety of Clayton.

Stay Focused said...

Seasonal residents of Clayton had better wake up and start paying attention.

Their government has not leveled with them. And that is ultimately their own fault. They have not generally been participants in the selection of their public servants. If they continue to be oblivious about that they can expect more of the same.

Anonymous said...

4:22 I would be amazed if Justin Taylor is ever able to form another committee during his tenure. What a slap in the face to the dedicated citizens who performed admirably on that wind committee.

Maybe the Councilmen you referred to need to grow some political balls and not be dominated like puppies by the supervisor.