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RNP Press Release
May 21, 2004

Oregon EQC Approves New Noise Standards for Wind Power

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) approved new noise standards yesterday for wind power projects in Oregon. At a meeting in Hermiston, the EQC granted final approval to amend Oregon’s existing noise rules with provisions specifically addressing wind projects.

"Oregon’s current noise rules were written long before commercial scale wind was contemplated in our state, and they unnecessarily restricted the growth of Oregon’s wind industry." said Ann English Gravatt, senior policy associate of Renewable Northwest. Wind power projects have unique siting issues that the existing rules did not address. Project proponents found compliance with the existing rules to be extremely cumbersome and expensive. The existing rules resulted in the elimination of turbines or the purchasing and vacating of residences in order to comply with the noise rules - despite the fact that the affected landowners wanted the turbines on their property.
With the revisions adopted yesterday, the new noise rules provide developers and project landowners flexibility in complying with the most stringent part of the noise rules, the ambient degradation standard. At the same time, the rules maintain Oregon’s current maximum permissible noise limits. "These rules are a good balance between providing wind developers more flexibility in siting their projects while still maintaining Oregon’s strong standards of environment and health," stated Gravatt.
Renewable Northwest and other interested parties worked with the Oregon Department of Energy and the Governor’s office for nearly a year on the new noise rules. "We appreciate the diligence of the Governor’s office and the Department in addressing this issue. These rules were a long time in coming, but we are pleased with the result," stated Gravatt.
Renewable Northwest is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization promoting responsible development of wind, solar and geothermal resources in the Pacific Northwest.
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For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak, Director
Ann Gravatt, Senior Policy Associate
Renewable Northwest Project
(503) 223-4544
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