We live in Clarksburg at the base of Hoosac Ridge below the location of 10 of the 19 wind turbines of Hoosac Wind. I have been exploring Hoosac Ridge as a neighbor for some years and enjoyed the scenic opportunities, as well as solitude on trips out back. At first, based on information from the developer Iberdrola, we thought the project was a good idea, but the information was not accurate and we soon learned about the realities of living near an industrial wind project.
Because our home is in another town we had no say about the project. When construction began we could hear the noise, many times beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing throughout the day until evening. I watched as what I called the "Enchanted Forest" disappeared. Thousands of trees were cut, swamps and wetlands obliterated, and blasting transformed the ridge, a beautiful, largely untouched wild area teeming with wildlife reduced to a strip of crushed rock.
One of the reasons many of us chose to live here is to enjoy the peace and quiet our rural neighborhoods provide. When the construction phase of Hoosac Wind was completed our quiet rural neighborhood was transformed. The neighbors were told we wouldn't hear the turbines and any sound would be the same as a refrigerator. Then Hoosac Wind started generating electricity. The reality is the noise can be loud enough to wake us and make sleep impossible in our bedroom one mile away from the turbines. Sometimes it's noisy for several nights in a row, and that does take a toll. We slept with the windows closed this summer because of the noise and the first two days of 2014 had me sleepless in Clarksburg.
Now I often get up in the morning and don't feel refreshed and rested. Our home and property is no longer the refuge from the rigors of modern life as it used to be. A place where we could sit outside and the noises of civilization were few and fleeting and at night be so quiet. That has been replaced by the noise of an industrial power plant thumping and roaring with a rhythm in a most unnatural way that can be difficult and at times impossible to ignore at all hours of the day or night.
After a year with Hoosac Wind we have come to know the turbines as the "Neighbors from Hell." We have been told there is no evidence of noise and therefore we don't seem to have any recourse except to suck it up or move. Those ideas sadden me as this is our home. We have invested ourselves in this place and hope to spend the rest of our days living here.
We the neighbors are the people impacted in many ways by such projects and the ones who help make these communities what they are. Being here talking about why we should have a say in such things strikes me as strange as there should be no doubt in anyone's mind, the people who live in neighborhoods with proposals for these projects, must have a voice in things that can affect their homes and properties so profoundly. Anything less has no place in a democracy in my opinion.