By Jim Pelley
Editor’s note: For months, ECM award-winning photographer and Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley has been documenting clouds of choking dust at Pattern Energy’s construction site for Ocotillo Express wind energy, where citizen monitors have routinely reported construction without water trucks present and twice resulted in fines on the developer for dust violations. In this editorial, Pelley asks why the problem continues, raising serious questions for public officials who are supposed to protect public health. The closest turbine is just 1500 feet from Pelley’s home.
October 9, 2012 --I have been told that they can make dust on this project site as long it is not over 20% opacity for three minutes. If there are a hundred trucks making 15% opacity dust all long day long I don’t understand why this is acceptable, because at the end of the day there are large amounts of dust in the air, it’s very easy to see.
The dust lingers throughout the night, you can see if by shinning a flashlight up at night. We are breathing this air and I am very concerned about the health and safety of my family.
I also don’t understand why no one has taken readings of the particulate matter in this area.
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