Oregon wind farm noise lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages

An Oregon man is suing an out-of-state energy firm for over $5 million in damages after he claims he was forced to move out of his home due to constant audible noise and inaudible infrasound produced by a number of wind turbines the defendant installed near his home. The firm has been involved in other civil litigation in Oregon courts regarding noise compliance since beginning work on the 50 turbines in 2008.

The state of Oregon imposes a noise limit of 36 dBa on wind farms and similar structures, while Morrow County has established a limit of 50 dBa. The energy firm behind the turbines maintained that the higher 50 dBa limite was an acceptable and more reasonable threshold, but courts upheld the legal 36 dBa limit across seven court findings. State authorities, however, have made virtually no attempt to actually enforce the limit. The plaintiff in the recent case said he is "extremely disappointed" that state and county officials have failed to respond to what they openly classify as a violation of state law.

The energy company attempted to lower the turbines' noise levels after a 2009 study recorded them at 42 dBa on the plaintiff's property. The firm began automatically shutting down select turbines once the sound exceeds a certain limit, but the lawsuit contends that the lengthy period of time it requires for the turbines to power down makes this an ineffective response.

The lawsuit argues that the inaudible but potent infrasound generated by the turbines, the effects of which the plaintiff likens to the sensations one's body feels from an approaching airplane or locomotive, has resulted in a significant number of detrimental emotional and physical health effects, such as insomnia, chronic headaches, fatigue and other disruptive symptoms. He alleges that the sound eventually led him to sell his home and relocate to another town. The lawsuit asserts that the noise has caused the plaintiff to suffer about $170,000 in property depreciation, as well as $5 million in non-economic losses.

If you have suffered because of a similar situation, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options in a possible civil lawsuit. You have rights and options and attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action.


Source: 
OregonLive, "Oregon man files $5 million suit over wind farm noise" No author given, Aug. 11, 2013

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