DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
During the December Vermilion County Board meeting, the agenda listed Mr. Mike Blazer, the attorney for Invenergy, as giving an update on the sound study they have been working on. What follows is a run-down on what he stated during over 40 minutes of time used to brainwash the county board. The audio is pretty damning, please listen to it. (AUDIO IS HERE).
Invenergy is the operator of the California Ridge Wind Farm in northern Vermilion County. The required setback in place for these turbines is 1000 feet (per county ordinance).
The KEY to Mr. Blazer’s comments is that the county board has a full month to think about and remember what he said. No rebuttals allowed by the public and they will now have to fight and rebut information that has been in the heads of the board for at least a month, the board thinking it was the truth. It is hard to combat these comments after 30 days and with only 5 minutes to combat them. So, here I am writing this in hopes that at least some of the Vermilion County board members will read it and understand that Mr. Blazer was commenting as the attorney for Invenergy and nothing else. What would you have expected him to say if he were on your payroll?
Designed to drop straight down
Starting at about 55 seconds in the below audio he talks about the blade being struck by lighting. He says the blades are designed to drop straight down when they break off. The blades weight 20,000 pounds per blade with a max rotation of 15 rpm and they are designed to drop straight down when they break or fall off.
He later stated the furthest “fragment” was 300 feet away.
At 10:35 he was asked about the emergency beacons and whether or not they were operational after the storm.
With his statements on the blades being designed to drop straight down when they break off, I find that comment not entirely truthful. He probably meant “when they are not turning and break off” they are designed to fall straight down. “Laws of math” do not allow for dropping straight down while in motion. There is an interesting study by Scott Larwood with the California Wind Energy Collaborative way back in 2005 that researched set-backs and “Blade Throw Hazards”. Within that study you will find quotes of blade fragments not exceeding 10 kilometer distance, 1.8 times the height, and probability of injury dropping off at 220 meters. These are under ideal throwing conditions. Please take the time to read this study, it’s around 32 pages, and even though it is over 8 years old, some of the information it contains holds true today. Find it here.
I noticed he did not state the actual size of the “fiberglass fragment” or the “little bits of fiberglass”. He stated the furthest “fragment” was 300 feet away. He was not asked 300 feet away from which point? The base of the tower? From the tip of the 150 foot long blade? Which point of real estate was the fragment measured from?
The Noise Issue and Low Frequency “Stuff”
At 11:19 in the video he starts talking about the “noise” issues.
REMEMBER THIS: Mr. Blazer had unlimited time with NO chance for citizen rebuttals of his comments. They were designed to be taken as the truth and they will be in the heads of the county board members for a full month before anyone has a chance to refute them, and even then citizens will only be given five minutes to do it in.
Some of the key words/phrases he used to make the study sound too complicated to worry about, and to belittle or discount the people that complained are here:
“enormous amount of data” – “started two months late trying to get access to property” – “accusations of changing complaints after results came in” – “acts like board members are ignorant and talks to them like uneducated people” – “low frequency stuff” – “claims of this being the first time he had heard of low frequency complaints” – “group of people that have come to the opinion” – “acting like wind turbine syndrome is silly and made-up” – “almost verbatim from what you can read on the web” -
He tried extra hard to minimize and even degrade the victims of Invenergy by placing them in the category "crazy people" reading stuff off of the internet, or "internet science" as some county board members have put it.
He stated that the complaints were about how loud the turbines were, and then accuses victims of changing their complaints AFTER learning of preliminary results. “Today is the first time I have ever heard we are talking about low frequency noise” stated Mr. Blazer, he followed by saying he “finds it disheartening” and accuses Ted of changing the complaint after he gave Ted’s attorney a report at 2:00 that day. I’m guessing that attorney should have dropped everything he was doing at the time to read the letter he received from Mr. Blazer at 2:00 that afternoon.
Mr. Blazer again stated: “We’ve heard for the first time today all of a sudden low frequency bands…” and further that “Each and every time we received a complaint it would be forwarded to me and to the sound engineer…all the way back to February.”
Frequencies studied are the 9 octave bands were tested (31.5 to 8000) mentioned in the ancient state statute.
“I have reviewed hundreds of emails from Feb thru to a couple days ago from the two families and low frequency was never even mentioned once” stated Mr. Blazer. He further commented that in his opinion no property value has been lost.
Right about this time Chairman Weinert stops a county board member from talking about other turbine issues.
Mr. Blazer, You stated that each and every complaint gets forwarded to you and the sound study engineers. You also stated more than once that you had reviewed hundreds of emails going back as far as February of 2013 and low frequency was never mentioned even once. It the last meeting you were attending, the Assistant State’s Attorney acknowledged that he forwarded all complaints that he received on to you. But you insisted that TODAY was the very first time you had heard of the low frequency noise “stuff” and I can say that is a lie.
Proof of the Lie
Here are just a few emails that have mentioned this “Low Frequency Stuff” that you blew off as crazy talk:
By the way, M.W. is "Matthew Wingler" <[email protected]>
Mar 25, 2013 at 11:06 PM
The sound seems better.....not entirely gone, but we think we can sleep with this level with some covers over our heads. We'll email or text again if sleep deprivation continues.
Also, please note. This morning we were awaken at 5:15 AM with the throbbing "wa wa wa" low frequency noise which we take issue with. It stayed with us and we eventually rolled out of bed at 6:30 am to close offices and give directions to employees. Not worth the phone call, but just worth mentioning.
As of 11:05 PM....we still hear the turbine low frequency sound inside my house.
I think INSULATION and better windows would be a big help right now.
April 8, 2013 10:02 PM
I am sorry to have to email you again. Tonight the wind turbines are hitting a perfect pitch of noise/vibration which is not going to allow any sleep. Will you please shut down wind turbines #57 and 75? Thank you!
April 13, 2013: 11:15 AM
I have been doing lots of research on windows and insulation working towards a consistent request to get contractors competing for the same construction details. I have not had time to meet with contractors, but I have 2 of them who I want to start discussions with.
This morning, we tried to sleep in. The turbines are really loud. As we sat and talked, we wanted to note the following:
When I wake up from turbine noise, my teeth and mouth are hurting......I think from clenching teeth when my sleep is being disturbed,
When Jess wakes up, she had headache and sensation of being "shaken" awake by vibrating of her feet and lower legs down at the end of the bed.
I think we are losing our sanity.
April 17, 10:51 PM
We have strong wind tonight. The turbine noise is more like a rumble.....
drum beat vibration which is just as loud as the engine/droning low frequency sound......definitely like a parked train with diesel engine rumbling.
April 21, 2013 11:06 PM
Dear Mr. H.,
Thank you for trying this different combination. I think this is only the second time we turned off one, then switched to the other, and found that both turbines are making too much noise. Although it didn't work this time, we will continue to try to lessen the impact on your company in the future. In summary, we will not be able to sleep tonight unless both turbines 57 and 75 are shut down. Tonight's weather conditions should be noted and see how it compares to other regular complications. The calm weather conditions like we have tonight seem to make both turbines hit that "sweet spot" of causing disturbance here inside my house. The noise is engine pitch vibration noise.
April 22, 2013 10:48 PM
Tonight would be a perfect night for low frequency noise measurement. It could be described as "howling" in our bedroom. Tonight would be one of those times when I would want to move into an underground cave somewhere. The sound is at a maximum level. Will you please shut down both turbines 57 and 75? Thank you.
May 07, 2013 10:40 PM
As I have mentioned before, we are very concerned that the soundproofing efforts are not going to solve our low frequency problem.......we'll end up being a science experiment, for sure. However, we really hope this is successful because we don't want to think about moving and how that will work.
The next thing we are starting to wonder about.......
We are as eager as you are to find a permanent solution to our problem, but we want to get this done right the first time. A specific question we are still researching is this: Have others experienced better soundproofing results with metal roofs over furring strips or doing new asphalt shingles over thickened sheeting?
On May 20, 2013 10:44 PM
Dear Vermilion County board members,
This is the third time in a row that InvEnergy has refused to help us on noisy nights...........and I still sit here, listening to noisy turbines, thinking about what I should do next. Turbines make terrible neighbors, and my wife is really upset. She's trying to sleep. I hope my kids are doing OK upstairs.
As a dad, I wonder if I am doing the right thing. Should I risk my reputation and wear out my welcome with my county leaders, or should I do what is best for my children? They have school tomorrow......bus gets here at 7:15 AM. I hope they will wake up OK in the morning. I wonder if it will be stressful for us in the morning? We might go through this again tomorrow night, too. Phillip's baseball game at 6 PM.....we have to work concessions. I am not sure that we will be "fine." We don't want to yell at our exhausted kids in front of the other parents......don't want to be "bad parents." Maybe we can sleep tomorrow night. These turbines are too close, and they are hard on me, hard on my kids, and hard on my marriage.
We are very upset. You would be upset, also. I was rejected by 2 contractors. Tomorrow, I will start working on my fourth contractor.....maybe he has a solution for soundproofing against low frequency noise.
From Boone County testimony (presented to zoning board on 5/28/2013 and is available online at fairwindenergy.org:
I have personal first-hand knowledge of and expert witness testimony as follows:
1.) Wind turbines will wake you up at various times. It is impossible to get healthy sleep.
2.) The engine “whining” or “humming” noise is very disturbing and stressful. This low frequency noise penetrates your house, and there is no place where you can go inside your house to escape it. (OUTSIDE your house, the noise doesn’t seem so bad. INSIDE your house, the noise is unbelievable.)
Finally, the Low Frequency Sound referred to is well below the statutory 31.5 that you stated you tested at.
More to come on this issue; listen to the audio of Mr. Blazer’s briefing here.