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New wind farm rules could mean they're quieter

New rules could mean new wind farms in North Dakota will be a little quieter.

The Public Service Commission’s current rules allow the acceptable sound levels from a wind farm to be 50 decibels at a distance of 100 feet from an occupied residence. The new rule would lower that level to 45 decibels.

"The reality is, noise is one of the complaints about wind," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "And it's one of the complaints we get, and it's a complaint local people get about wind farms."

Fedorchak said the 45 decibel standard brings North Dakota in line with what other states are doing.

"The industry acknowleged that in their comments," Fedorchak said. "They also said it should not affect development. This seems like a smart way to do that, to reduce the impact of wind development, while also maintaing the viability of that industry long-term in our state."

The new rule will be reviewed by the Attorney General’s office, and will have to go to the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee. It's part of a new package of rules the PSC adopted.

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