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HF 3480

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/30/2016 08:13am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to wind energy; creating a process to address certain noise complaints;
requiring rulemaking by the Pollution Control Agency with respect to noise from
wind projects; requiring the Public Utilities Commission to open a docket on wind
project siting; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216F.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [216F.10] NOISE COMPLAINTS; PERMIT AMENDMENTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Complaints; forwarding. new text end

new text begin By September 1, 2016, the Health
Department, Commerce Department, Pollution Control Agency, and any political
subdivision of the state must forward to the commission a copy of each complaint received
before August 1, 2016, alleging noise pollution from a large wind energy conversion
system, as defined in section 216F.01, subdivision 2, that was filed with those agencies
by a person whose primary residence is located within 1.5 miles of a large wind energy
conversion system.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Complaints; evaluation; investigation. new text end

new text begin The commission must review and
evaluate the complaints (1) forwarded to it under subdivision 1, and (2) originally filed
with the commission that meet the requirements of subdivision 1. The commission must
contact the complainant to ascertain whether the situation alleged in the complaint is still
ongoing, and must conduct a site investigation for ongoing complaints. Pollution Control
Agency staff must accompany commission staff to a site investigation and measure the
level of noise, including low-frequency noise, at the residence.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Temporary permit amendment. new text end

new text begin (a) The commission must evaluate
the results of the investigation and noise test and may, if warranted and after providing
notice and affording due process to the permit holder, consider an amendment to the large
wind energy conversion system's site permit that would temporarily cease operation,
for a period not to exceed 30 days, of one or more of the large wind energy conversion
systems contributing to the complaint.
new text end

new text begin (b) Pollution Control Agency staff must conduct a second test of noise at the
residence during the temporary cessation period.
new text end

new text begin (c) The commission must contact the complainant at the end of the temporary
cessation period to obtain the complainant's assessment of the cessation's impact on
noise levels. If the complainant reports that noise levels have been significantly reduced
during the temporary cessation, the commission may consider permanently amending
the site permit under subdivision 4. If the complainant reports that noise levels have
not been significantly reduced during the temporary cessation, the commission may
consider whether a large wind energy conversion system other than the large wind energy
conversion system whose operations were temporarily ceased is contributing to noise
levels, and may decide to amend the permit under the procedures in this subdivision by
temporarily ceasing operations at the large wind energy conversion system.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Permanent permit amendment. new text end

new text begin After considering the results of the
noise tests and the complainant's assessment regarding the extent to which the temporary
cessation significantly reduces or eliminates the noise, the commission may decide, after
providing notice and affording due process to the permit holder, to permanently amend the
permit if it determines that there is good cause to do so.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginRULEMAKING; NOISE STANDARD FOR WIND ENERGY
CONVERSION SYSTEMS.
new text end

new text begin No later than August 1, 2016, the Pollution Control Agency, using its authority
under Minnesota Statutes, section 116.07, subdivision 4, paragraph (e), must begin to
develop and adopt rules under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 14, to prevent, abate, and
control noise pollution from wind energy conversion systems, as defined in Minnesota
Statutes, section 216F.01, that may affect nearby residents. In developing the rules,
the agency must consult with the commissioner of health and must address issues that
specifically pertain to low-frequency noise pollution created by wind energy conversion
systems, including but not limited to:
new text end

new text begin (1) the effectiveness of the atmosphere in attenuating low-frequency noise as the
distance between the noise source and a receptor increases;
new text end

new text begin (2) the effectiveness of building walls and windows in attenuating low-frequency
noise, and whether low-frequency noise may be amplified by resonance within a building;
new text end

new text begin (3) the degree to which shaking, vibration, rattling, throbbing, and rumbling
characteristics reported in association with low-frequency noise serve to increase the
annoyance experienced at any given sound level;
new text end

new text begin (4) whether conventional scales developed to measure noise levels, such as dB(A)
and others, are appropriate for measuring the impact of low-frequency noise, and whether
use of a linear nontransformed scale may produce more accurate estimates;
new text end

new text begin (5) the degree to which noise from wind energy conversion systems is underestimated
as a result of the common practice of measuring wind speeds at ten meters above the
ground and using modeling relationships to estimate the speed at higher elevations,
compared with actual wind speed measurements taken at the hub;
new text end

new text begin (6) the extent to which rhythmic modulation, or pulsing, of low-frequency noise
can arise from:
new text end

new text begin (i) the difference in sound pressure between the tip of the blade at its furthest and
nearest points to a fixed receptor;
new text end

new text begin (ii) a blade angle that is not properly tuned to wind speed or direction in order to
minimize noise; or
new text end

new text begin (iii) the blade passing through atmospheric layers experiencing different wind speeds
that stabilize in the atmosphere at different heights, particularly at night; and
new text end

new text begin (7) the degree to which low-frequency noise from wind energy conversion systems
affects the vestibular system and contributes to annoyance.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginPUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION DOCKET; WIND SITING
SETBACKS.
new text end

new text begin Within 30 days of the completion of the rulemaking conducted under section 2, the
commission must open a docket to reexamine the minimum setback from residences
required in site permits for large wind energy conversion systems issued by the
commission and by counties that have assumed the responsibility to process applications
and issue site permits under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216F, taking into consideration
the noise pollution rules adopted by the Pollution Control Agency under section 2. If the
commission determines that the minimum setback needs to be amended, it must do so
in an order issued within 180 days of opening the docket.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end