Falmouth Turbines - Wind 1

Wind turbine 1 at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wind 1 and Wind 2, the two 1.65-megawatt turbines the Town of Falmouth installed on industrial-zoned land between 2009 and 2010, no longer turn or generate electricity.

However, Falmouth residents Neil P. Andersen and Elizabeth L. Andersen said they still feel the aftereffects from the turbines and from their legal fight against them.

At risk today is the couple’s house on Blacksmith Shop Road, a home that Mr. Andersen said last Tuesday, August 21, that he built in 1990 and to which he has made multiple additions over two decades.

Mr. Andersen said he and his wife are struggling to afford their mortgage after paying more than $100,000 in legal fees and with the resulting time away from his construction business.

The Town of Falmouth offered to buy the property in 2013, but the Andersens did not accept the offer.

“All I have is my house. I don’t own a boat, and we don’t take vacations,” Mr. Andersen said, pointing to a small pond he created in his front yard in memory of a relative who died from leukemia. “What am I supposed to do with all of this?”

The Andersens, who abut Wind 1 by 1,300 feet, sued the town in September 2012. They claimed the structure’s operation disrupted their ability to enjoy their property.

The couple sought damages for physical injury, loss of property value and loss of income.

In April 2017, a Barnstable Superior Court jury found in favor of the Town of Falmouth in a nuisance trial concerning Wind 1 and the Andersen property.

“The jury determined there was no nuisance at the property and awarded no damages,” Falmouth town counsel Frank K. Duffy said at the time.

The details of the town’s offer to purchase the house nearly four years ago are still confidential, Mr. Andersen said last week.

“Basically, the offer said the town will buy our house for fair market value and we’ll get three estimates,” he said. “We’ll buy your house, we’ll give you a rental fee until you move, and in the meantime you have to dismiss all the other lawsuits. You have to file with the registry that the nuisance has been eliminated, and as soon as you sign this agreement, we get to turn the turbines up, to do what we want with them.”

Mr. Andersen said that he and his wife “were the only ones holding them back from running the turbines 24 hours a day because of the noise violation on our house.”

“We’ve got other neighbors with almost the same distress as us, but the town didn’t care about those [people]; they didn’t really care about us,” he said. “It shows in the offer. All they really wanted to do was run the turbines.”

When Town Manager Julian M. Suso first presented the offer, which the Falmouth Board of Selectmen approved in November 2013, Mr. Andersen said he and his wife “didn’t even want to answer because it was so hurtful.”

“What about moving expenses, what about everything that we’ve lost?” he said. “We counter-offered. In general we agreed [to the offer], but we weren’t going to sign this. The town came to court with all this paperwork; they figured they’ve got a deal with us. We said we don’t have any deal, we thought we were still negotiating, so we went to court for a hearing for the special permit for Wind 1, and the judge shut the turbines down back to 12 hours [from 14 hours a day] and also shut them off on Sundays.”

Soon after, Mr. Andersen said an outside attorney hired by the town said publicly that there was an agreement and that the Andersens had rejected their own counter-proposal.

In 2015, Mr. Suso called the town’s proposed settlement “comprehensive and reasonable.”

Since that time, Mr. Andersen said he and his wife have been “attacked” often in the press and occasionally in public by some wind energy advocates in Falmouth.

“A person in line at a store once said to me, ‘So you’re the guy who’s costing me all this extra money on my taxes,’” he said. “We’ve gotten letters from windies. We’ve had people throw eggs at our house.”

In his basement near his barely used woodshop, he has three large containers packed with legal paperwork, newspaper articles and letters related to the turbines.

Mr. Andersen said there is a general misunderstanding that he is anti-wind.

“In the early ’80s, before they had an energy committee, I was the Falmouth representative to what was then called the Barnstable County Energy Task Force,” he said. “I started my business back in the ’80s putting up solar hot-water systems and building houses, so when I saw the wind turbine coming up, I said, ‘This is cool, it goes all along with what I believe in.’ I kind of welcomed it, but then when it went up I said, ‘Wow, that thing’s pretty big and it’s pretty close,’ and then it started turning. It took me three weeks to notice the effects. My wife and a couple of the neighbors noticed the very first night.”

The turbines cause a subaudible, low-frequency pulse that has been measured and confirmed by experts inside and outside the Andersen’s house, Mr. Andersen said.

“This is a pounding pulse that you can’t hear, but it gets into your chest cavity. It’s extremely distressing. It mimics your heartbeat and you cannot sleep; it just drives you nuts,” he said.

These “brain-rattling pulses” affected his ability to work and earn a living.

“I was having accidents with my table saw. I was dropping things. I couldn’t focus,” he said. “I would look at the wind speed and wind direction for the following day, and that would determine my day. We said, ‘We’ll leave for the day, we’ll take off, we can’t stay here.’ We spent a lot of time away from the house. Luckily, we had a group of neighbors who worked with us to split the costs and split the knowledge. It got us this far. But nobody [else] really believed us. Nobody understood.”

Mr. Andersen decided to help educate lawmakers at the Massachusetts State House and in communities as far away as western Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

“I spent an awful lot of time, and I know that I helped a lot of other people,” he said. “It’s not the wind turbines. The problem has to do with size and proximity. That’s all it is. They’re too big, too close. They’re utility-size; they’re made to pump out power for the utilities.”

Day O. Mount, a Blacksmith Shop Road resident and former US ambassador to Iceland, said Monday, August 27, that the turbines “were certainly a terrible problem” when they were operating and that he did have health impacts because of them.

“I testified to those health effects with the zoning board of appeals and the board of health,” he said. “It was an awful time. Sadly, most people in Falmouth couldn’t relate to it or didn’t believe it, so it was difficult in that way as well. I can’t say that I have any ongoing health effects, and that is a blessing. It is wonderful not having to contend with that anymore, to be able to go outside to work.”

Of Mr. Andersen, Mr. Mount said, “Neil is a very good neighbor, always trustworthy, and he’s helped us out a number of times. He is honest, straightforward and trustworthy. I hold Neil in high regard. He did the right thing fighting the turbines. I also felt we went about it in the right way: we went to the meetings, we did our due diligence and we worked our way up through town government. When the town was not responsive, we had to go to the courts, but we were always open, we didn’t make personal attacks. Fortunately, we were successful after a time.”

Today, Mr. Andersen said he has ringing in his ears and has lost two teeth due to grinding while sleeping, both of which he attributes to stress from the turbines.

On the financial side, he said he and his wife have traded in all the stock they owned as well as 90 percent of his retirement policy.

“So now I’m 65 and I’ve got a mortgage I really can’t afford for this big house I really don’t want at this stage,” he said. “There’s two of us here. I’m just kind of stuck, you know. So people ask me how I’m doing, and I say I’m not doing good. I just want people to know.”

Despite a two-year moratorium on the turbines later on, Mr. Andersen said that before Wind 1 started turning in March 2010, the town had made no outreach to nearby residents.

“There were no noise tests. There was no special permit hearing,” he said. “The wind turbine went up, boom. The town said, ‘We’re going to put it up, period, and see what happens.’”

The Andersens are now painting and fixing up the house to put it on the market for sale eventually.

“Hopefully, there will be enough equity that we can move,” Mr. Andersen said, hanging his head. “It’ll be out of town, as much as I love Falmouth. Falmouth’s a beautiful town. We just don’t feel welcome here, to be honest with you. It’s taken its toll. I had so many plans for this house.”

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[smile]Dr. George Woodwell Wind Turbine Lawsuit Appeal October 2, 2018 Falmouth
Dr. George Woodwell testified regarding an article written by him and Charles Wurster
EPA Hearings: Dr. George Woodwell
EPA Hearings
Dr. George Woodwell testified regarding an article written by him and Charles Wurster
Science & Technology Page 23
During the EPA hearings, Dr. George Woodwell testified regarding an article written by him and Charles Wurster
Science, 156: 821-824, 1967).
The abstract stated, “DDT fewer tumors residues in an extensive salt marsh on the south shore of Long Island average more than 13 pounds per acre.”
This was discussed on page 7232 of the hearing transcript, as follows:
Cross-examination of Dr. Woodwell by the USDA attorney:
Q: “Isn’t it a fact that after you initially studied this marsh you continued your samplings, and found as a result that you were getting an average of only one pound per acre of DDT?” [rather than 13 pounds]
A: “No, I wouldn’t agree with that.”
Q: “Dr. Wurster, perhaps?” [We had given the attorneys the details of Wurster’s Seattle testimony, and Wurster was in the audience, that day.]
A: “I don’t believe he knows that, either. I don’t believe there’s any evidence to that effect.”
Q: “Dr. Wurster, your co-author, made the following statement at the Washington state hearings, and I’m quoting him verbatim: He testified: ‘We have since sampled that marsh more extensively, and we found that the average in the marsh was closer to one pound per acre. The discrepancy was because our initial sampling was in a convenient place, and this turned out to be a convenient place for the mosquito Commission’s spray truck, too.’ Did you learn that after the fact, Doctor?”
A: “That is a true statement in my experience. I did not know that Dr. Wurster had said that, but that is a true statement.”
Q: “Doctor, have you ever published a retraction of this 13 pounds per acre, or a further article which discloses the results of your further sampling which brings the average down to around one pound per acre?”
A: “I never felt that this was necessary.”
Woodwell also admitted they had only taken six samples to determine the “average concentration” of DDT in that “extensive marsh”!
DDT Residues in an East Coast Estuary: A Case of Biological Concentration of a Persistent Insecticide
SCIENCE12 MAY 1967 : 821-824
DDT residues in the soil of an extensive salt marsh on the south shore of Long Island averaged more than 13 pounds per acre (15 kilograms per hectare); the maximum was 32 pounds per acre (36 kilograms per hectare). A systematic sampling of various organisms from the vicinity showed concentrations of DDT increasing with trophic level through more than three orders of magnitude from 0.04 part per million in plankton to 75 parts per million in a ring-billed gull. Highest concentrations occurred in scavenging and carnivorous fish and birds, although birds had 10 to 100 times more than fish. These concentrations approach those in animals dying from DDT poisoning, which suggests that many natural populations in this area are now being affected, possibly limited, by DDT residues. Similar concentrations have been reported elsewhere in North America.
Later, Dr. Woodwell was questioned about his article titled “Persistence of DDT in Soils of Heavily-sprayed Forest Stands.” (Science 145: 481-483, 1964). He had claimed that after spraying DDT on New Brunswick forests, the concentration in the soil built up to higher levels each year. Other scientists revealed that Woodwell’s sampling site was beside the local forest airstrip and was heavily dosed with DDT by aircraft during the testing and calibration of spray equipment. When questioned about that during the EPA Hearings Woodwell admitted it, saying “That is an accurate statement…That’s why it had such high levels of DDT. That’s why we picked that site in New Brunswick.” (Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 1970)

Woodwell had also written about the rapid disappearance of DDT from the environment, stating that “six billion pounds of DDT had been used, but only 12 million pounds could be accounted for in all of the earth’s plants, animals, fish, and birds,” and that was “less than a thirtieth of one year’s production of DDT during the mid-1960’s.” He theorized that “most of the DDT has either been degraded to innocuousness or sequestered in places where it is not freely available.” (Science, 174: 1101, 1971) Because that recent article had contrasted so sharply with his testimony at the EPA hearings, a reporterasked him why he had completely omitted all of those details from his testimony. Woodwell explained that “EPA lawyers told me not to mention it, lest my testimony be disallowed.” (Business Week, 8 July 1972)
[DOC]EPA and No Harm – Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
(Cross–examination of Dr. Woodwell by the USDA attorney). Q “Isn’t it a fact that after you initially studied this marsh you continued your samplings, and found as a result that you were getting an average of only one pound per acre of DDT?” [rather than 13 pounds]. A “No, I wouldn’t agree with that.” Q “Dr. Wurster, perhaps?


In 2005 the Town of Falmouth conducted a feasibility study to install a Vestas V 47 - type 1/2 megawatt wind turbine. The plan was vetted and voted on by Town Meeting.

Between 2008 and 2009 the Town of Falmouth changed and increased the size of its turbines and requested General Electric to install a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine 3 times the size of the 2005 turbine used in the feasibility study. General Electric refused to place a single 1.5-megawatt 103-decibel turbine because of residential setbacks and ice throw to a nearby highway.

In 2009 the Town of Falmouth contracted a single Vestas V-82 - type 1.65-megawatt turbine larger and louder than the GE turbine.

Vestas wind turbine company warned the Vestas V-82 - type 1.65 wind turbine generates 110 decibels of noise and according to 2005
noise study map done by KEMA Inc shows the decibel levels would rise well above state noise regulations at up to 200 residential homes around the turbines.

The 2005 KEMA Inc study stated the Town of Falmouth was required to file Special Permit 240-166 to install commercial wind turbines.

Falmouth Special Permit 240-166 required additional notifications to the neighbors and hearings at the Falmouth Zoning Board.

The Town of Falmouth ignored the KEMA Inc study and its own bylaw Special Permit 240-166. Emails, Maps, Memos and a Vestas letter dated August 3, 2010, to the Town of Falmouth show the reason why the town never filed the Special Permit. It was too loud and too large.

Neighbors complained about noise and shadow flicker the day the turbine started to operate.

The town hid the warnings from the public and could not file the Special Permit because of a hearing at the Falmouth ZBA and notifications to neighbors would not allow the construction of the Vestas V-82 type 1.65 megawatt wind turbine.

By 2012 the town continued to hide noise warning documents from the public and installed a second Vestas V-82 - type 1.65 wind turbine. Neighbors complained of disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), and sense of quivering or vibration, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, difficulty with concentration, memory loss, irritability and anger from the turbines.

In 2012 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection notified the Town of Falmouth, Select Woman Mary Pat Flynn the turbines are breaking state noise guidelines.

The Town of Falmouth by 2013 continued to hide the August 3, 2010, Vestas noise warning letter along with emails, maps, and memos and held a townwide vote to keep the turbines operational. Ill-informed voters voted by a 2/3 majority to keep the turbines operational. After the 2013 vote, the town released the August 3, 2010, Vestas noise warning through a FOIA , Freedom of Information Act Request. # Note - the town kept the letter secret until after the 2013 2/3 vote.

Town voters actually voted to keep breaking state noise regulations aka break the law. Those involved in Massachusetts Appeals case 2018-P-0104 to be held in October are using the 2/3 vote by town voters to break the laws of the Commonwealth as a means to keep operating the wind turbines.

The Falmouth Zoning Board has determined the wind turbines constitute a nuisance.

Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty issued the order to shut down Falmouth's Wind 1 and Wind 2 on June 21, 2017.

The Falmouth Select Board the legal owners of the two town wind turbines decided not to appeal the decision. Chairwoman Susan Moran said : "It's time to put the matter behind us and move forward."

The Friends of Falmouth wind filed an appeal 5 months too late and Judge Moriarty ruled they have no standing in the case.

The Friends of Falmouth continue to ignore the facts that the town hid negative wind turbine documents from the public that included emails, memos, maps, and letters in order to get voters in 2013 to vote by a 2/3 margin to keep the turbines operational.

We have reached a point where the federal government needs to get involved. To build the second Falmouth wind turbine American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Act of 2009 funds were misused

blowin smoke

The article has plenty of quotes from Mr. Andersen, but input from public health experts is conspicuously missing. Falmouth’s Board of Health sent a letter to Selectmen in October 2015, debunking concerns about wind turbines, based on mainstream public health research. The letter is available at www.tinyurl.com/falmouthBOH . Five Falmouth physicians co-signed a letter strongly supporting turbine operation, stating “credible public health research indicates that psychogenic nocebo effects may be largely responsible for the controversy, as well as NIMBYism”. That letter is at www.tinyurl.com/mdwrote . A distinguished professor of public health (his credentials are in Wikipedia) also wrote this strong letter to Falmouth’s board of health, again in favor of wind turbine operation www.tinyurl.com/boardofhealth ——
Falmouth residents deserve to be informed about input from impartial public health experts, not just anecdotes from one individual.


Here is some input from a 2012 MassDEP DPH Health Impact Report which smoke blower has not shared with readers:
1. "Wind turbines can produce unwanted sound (referred to as noise) during operation." (page ES-4)
2. "In other words it is possible that noise from some wind turbines can cause sleep disruption." (page ES-6)
3. "it is acknowledged that noise from wind turbines can be annoying to some and associated with reported health effects (e.g.sleep disruption) (page 29)
4. "The epidemiological studies indicate that noise and/or vibration from wind turbines has been noted as causing sleep disruption." (page 30)
5. "Given the effects of sleep disruption on health and well-being, including cognitive and mood complaints and other medical and psychological issues associated with sleep loss can stem from living in close proximity to wind turbines, if the turbines disrupt sleep." (page 32-33)

blowin smoke

Cherry-picking sentences from a thick report is a tricky game. Both sides can play that game.. for instance you could select this sentence from pg. ES-7 of the same report: "The strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems." Falmouth's Board of Health wasn't entirely convinced by the 2012 MA report, but was more impressed by the massive Canadian study cited in their 2015 letter, which found "no association" between health or sleep effects and proximity to huge wind farms, after performing medical tests in 1200 homes. This result wasn't a surprise, since many prior studies reached similar conclusions. ----- Falmouth voters aren't public health experts, but they have ears, and common sense. All nine precincts voted against funding turbine removal, by an overall 2-1 margin. Selectmen should respect the voters mandate by joining the Green Center's appeal.

m cool

Falmouth Board of Health's letter to Selectmen (Oct 2015) provided peer-reviewed quantifiable data that wind turbines do cause elevated levels of annoyance (medical term) / nuisance (legal term) to the study's sampled populations. The Five Falmouth physicians letter was found by town officals and the court as mere opinion. The distinguished professor of public health has been exposed to have a tendency to argue for whoever pays the most. Falmouth residents deserve to be protected by the community's zoning bylaw.

blowin smoke

So we should respect Mr. Cool’s opinion, but a letter signed by five local doctors is “mere opinion”? An interesting double standard.
If “annoyance” was a valid reason to outlaw things, where would we start? Would you outlaw highway noise? Helicopters? Harleys? Sirens? Fireworks? Birds and frogs? Thunder? Taxpayers don’t want to spend $10 Million to fix your occasional annoyance, especially since it is heard by so few, and can’t be recorded.

m cool

The unfortunate incident of ...'So you're the guy who's costing me all this extra money on my taxes'... is a sad indication of people's ignorance.

To be clear and accurate, the guy(s) costing the Falmouth taxpayers money - are the state 'snake oil salesmen' that promoted this ill-fated project, various town officials that turned a deaf ear to complaints for greed and levels of town staff (past & present) that were totally derelict in thier duty to preserve and protect the safety and general welfare of ALL Falmouth residents!

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