Letter: Proposed wind noise limits too low

To the editor:

As someone active with my Town Energy Committee for about eight years, I have closely followed and supported Vermont's efforts to use less energy make what we use clean, renewable energy. The state energy goal of getting 90 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2050 is ambitious but doable and necessary.

So the Public Service Board's proposed rule for sound from wind generation facilities is alarming. The rule would set the noise levels at 42 dBA during the day and 35 dBA in the evening, as measured outside a neighboring house.

Most of us aren't sound engineers, so for comparison here are dBa levels for some everyday sounds:

— The softest sound a person can hear with normal hearing, 0.

— Normal breathing or a pin dropping, 10.

— Whispering at 5 feet or rustling leaves, 20.

— Soft whisper, 30.

— Babbling brook or computer, 40.

— Rainfall or light traffic or refrigerator, 50.

— Conversational speech or air conditioner, 60.

So now we get to why the proposed rule is alarming: it seems way too low, it will prevent reasonable development of wind energy in Vermont, and wind energy is needed for us to meet our clean energy target.

And why should we all care about that? As I heard at a recent regional planning meeting, Tropical Storm Irene was the trailer, not the movie.

— Linda Gray



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