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Michigan Court Backs Finding of Wind Turbine Noise Problem

Jack Spencer — Michigan Capitol Confidential — June 28, 2014

Michigan’s 51st Circuit Court has ruled that Mason County was justified in determining that wind turbines at the Lake Winds Industrial Wind Plant near Ludington are too noisy.

In his June 16 decision, Judge Richard Cooper denied Consumer Energy’s appeal to have the court overturn the county’s finding that the wind plant was exceeding the county’s established decibel level limits.

In a highly technical explanation, Judge Cooper said it was reasonable for the county to take into account the impact of maximum wind speeds that are not outside the norm. He also rejected the argument that excessive noise levels occurring only during certain periods of time should be allowed.

Lake Winds is a 56-turbine facility located south of Ludington. It was the utility company’s first wind plant project in Michigan. Residents who live near the $255 million plant began complaining of health problems shortly after the turbines began operating. They filed a lawsuit on April 1, 2013, arguing that noise, vibrations and flickering lights emanating from the wind plant were adversely affecting their health. Among the symptoms noted in the lawsuit were dizziness, sleeplessness and headaches.

In September 2013, the Mason County Planning Commission determined that the wind plant was not in compliance with safety guidelines. CMS Energy, which is the parent company of Consumers Energy, then appealed that decision to the Mason County Zoning Board of Appeals and lost. In January, CMS took the case to court and it has now lost again.

CMS spokesman Dennis Marvin said the utility has yet to decide whether it will appeal Judge Cooper’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.  Continue reading here…

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