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Legislation to Study Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

July 24, 2015
Map shows the public health disaster wind turbines have created in MA

The map shows the public health disaster of wind turbines, where documented complaints have followed in the wake of turbine deployment.

Wind Wise Massachusetts Press Release:

BOSTON – Legislation designed to study the health impact of wind turbines will be presented at the State House on Tuesday (July 28, 2015).

Citizens concerned about the health impacts of wind turbines and those experiencing adverse health impacts who live near wind turbines are expected to testify before the Joint Committee on Public Health at the public hearing. The bill is H2032: Resolve to establish a commission to study the health impacts from wind turbines to protect the health of the citizens of the commonwealth. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 28th at 1:00 pm in Room B2 of the State House in Boston.

“There are hundreds of families throughout the state in over 21 wind turbine locations that we know of who are suffering physically and financially from wind turbines located too close to their homes,” said Lilli-Ann Green, a spokesperson for Wind Wise Massachusetts.

Bill H.2032 filed by Representative Sarah Peake is modeled after the very successful Lyme Commission bill. “There are many similarities between the history of our understanding of Lyme Disease and the health impacts of wind turbines. In the early days of Lyme Disease, many health care professionals told people who reported adverse symptoms, that ‘it was all in their heads’ and recommended psychiatric help because there was little information about Lyme Disease. This is the same situation that is faced by many people who live in the proximity of wind turbines,” Green stated.

Today we understand a great deal about the very real symptoms and treatment of Lyme Disease. The Lyme Disease Commission was able to create literature to help educate health care professionals as well as the public about the disease.

Green further stated, “A commission to study the health impacts of wind turbines could make great advances. Since the spring of 2010 when the people in Falmouth, my Cape Cod community, started to experience health problems, I and others started to call for an honest, reliable, peer-reviewed scientific study of the people who are living in the proximity of wind turbines and experiencing health problems they did not have prior to the construction of the wind turbines. To date this has not happened. People who have filed numerous health complaints are still suffering, some even more than five years after their first complaint because the root of their problems has not been addressed. If this was any other health hazard, the source of the problem would have been shut down long ago. It is extremely important that the health, safety and well being of the citizens in MA are first and foremost.” Efforts to combat climate disruption should not harm human health or the very environment we are trying to protect.

Green said, “people living in the proximity of wind turbines have complained of chronic sleep deprivation, headaches, ear pressure and ear pain, high blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, depression and other symptoms in MA communities, throughout the U.S. and world-wide.”

She further said “there are no population studies or even small case control studies which have been performed in the vicinity of large operating wind turbines that indicate that there are no adverse health effects for any of the nearby residents from these wind turbines.”

If passed, this bill also calls for the creation and implementation of educational materials and training resources for health care professionals and others about the impacts of wind turbines as well as statewide surveillance and clinical screening for symptoms related to health impacts from wind turbines in high risk regions and at risk populations such as school aged children and the elderly. The bill also calls for educating the medical community about research on all aspects of adverse health impacts of wind turbines, both acute and chronic.

Wind Wise-Massachusetts is a statewide alliance of environmentally active grassroots organizations and individuals who are concerned about the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of poorly-sited wind turbines.  The organization has supporters in more than 200 Massachusetts cities and towns.

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For further information please contact: Lilli-Ann Green lgreen@windwisema.org

Upcoming Hearing on Health Effects

July 22, 2015

Many notable advocates for people impacted by wind turbines contributed their observations in June to the Australian Senate hearings.

Reports interviews regarding wind turbinesKeyFindingsJune2015Among them, Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet submitted this set of slides about her interviews around the world. She met people living near wind turbines and gathered information from scientists.

On Tuesday July 28, 2015 In Massachusetts, a joint committee will hear testimony in favor of H2032 to establish a commission to study the health impacts from wind turbines. To date there has been no effort to systematically gather information about the health of wind neighbors since turbines began operating near them.

The Joint Committee on Public Health hearing begins at 1:00 PM in room B-2 of the State House. Representative Sarah Peake, of Provincetown, sponsored the bill.

Australian Senate Hears Wind Turbine Noise

July 12, 2015
tags:

July marks a turning point in Australia’s pursuit of wind plant expansion. On the 11th, The Age reported that the Prime Minister ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance any new wind development. In his piece “Tony Abbott has escalated his war on wind  power,” correspondent Adam Gartrell said the corporation has a $10 billion dollar budget and invests 21 per cent in wind.

In June the Senate reduced Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (but did not exclude wind investments), according to The Guardian “Renewable Energy Target.”

Throughout June the Australian Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines heard testimony about turbine noise. Among those testifying was Dr. Malcolm Swinbanks, whose remarks are transcribed at the Parliament website and also presented by the Australian blog Stop These Things.  His opening comments and responses to the committee’s questions are worth reading in full. He brings up research done 30-plus years ago for NASA indicating noise concerns. Sympathizing with those who experience ill effects, Swinbanks at one point describes what happened to him while taking measurements in a house near a turbine installation:

In my particular case, I was working on a very calm evening when wind turbines were operating but there was very little wind at ground level and you could not hear the turbines at all inside the house. I actually had to keep going outside to check that they were still running. After three hours in the house I began to feel ill and I found that I was lethargic and losing concentration, but it was not until sometime afterwards that I began to realise that it was the wind turbines that were likely to be responsible. The level of infrasound that I was measuring was a level that I considered to be very low and definitely not a problem. After five hours in the house I was only too glad to leave, and I thought, ‘At last I’m getting away from this,’ only to find that, when I started driving, my driving ability was completely compromised. The front of the car seemed to sway around as I consistently oversteered. I had lost coordination and I had difficulty judging speed and distance. When I arrived home, my wife observed immediately that I was ill; she could see that straight off. And it took me a further five hours to finally recover and for the effects to wear off.

The important point about that incident was that I had considered that the conditions—a nice calm evening at ground level, but with the turbines still running—were extremely benign, and I had wondered whether I would even get any results. So I certainly was not anxious about infrasound.Swinbanks_Inter-noise-2012_infrasound

In his testimony Swinbanks makes the point that larger turbines and denser wind plants probably increase the distance required to attenuate noise. He also offers incisive comments about the major studies and some of the leading issues related to infrasound and low frequency noise.

Kingston Report-more commentary

June 13, 2015

Stephen Ambrose continues his series of commentaries on the draft report presented by HMMH consultants at the Kingston Board of Health meeting on June 18, 2015.

Part three:
Distance is attenuation.
Part four:
All wind shear models are not equally valid.
noise-level-vs-distance part-4_wind-shear-Kingston
Part five:
Hub height wind shear compared
(log scale)
Part six:
Hub height wind shear compared
(linear scale)
part-5_wind-shear-hub-height part-6_wind-shear-comparison

Inaction on Kingston Turbine Noise Prompts Commentary

June 6, 2015

Kingston-Independence-kerrykearney-smA presentation to the Kingston Board of Health on June 18th will review the noise study conducted by HMMH of the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) turbine. The event is a BOH meeting and they have not indicated whether the public will be permitted to speak.

In an effort to understand the data HMMH collected over the winter of 2013-2014, and to analyze the findings in the “Draft for Public Comment,” Stephen Ambrose is producing a series of quick takes on the problems with the study. Ambrose, an acoustician, is an expert on reducing industrial noise to a level where neighbors are not adversely impacted.

Here are the first two in a series of 10 points on the study findings.

Part one:Wind speed is not an indicator of power output. Part two:Noise is a function of power output.
SCADA-hub-height-wind Noise-output_power-output

 

As background, Ambrose’s February 2015 Letter to Martin Suuberg notes, “Kingston’s wind-turbine noise measurements were performed last spring by HMMH without findings. Conjecture after many years’ experience would conclude: 1) noise measurements were contaminated, therefore the test needs to be repeated, or 2) measurements show non-compliance.”

He goes on to ask, “What are we to think after almost a year of continued operation” when there was no further compliance testing and also no action taken to protect public health.

To date, Kingston has wiggled out of its responsibility to turn off the offending turbine. In response to persistent  public complaints, the town ordered reduced operations under very limited criteria in August 2014. The order, according to Scott C. Smith writing in Wicked Local Kingston (8/12/14  “Independence turbine abatement order served”  calls for

“a modification at the very least if not an outright shutdown” of turbine operations from midnight to 4 a.m. when the wind is traveling from the south or southwest at eight meters per second or more at the turbine hub.

This abatement order has provided no relief for Kingston residents. A chronology of testing and subsequent reports follows:

  • May 21, 2013 Operator of the Independence turbine in Kingston refuses to cooperate with DEP testing of the turbine.
  • October 2013 – April 2014 – testing of Independence by HMMH (Paid for by MassCEC)

Data collected in the winter season on December 13, 2013, January 20, February 20, February 22, and February 28 2014 were not used.  A daytime sampling event at the Intermediate School was considered successful.  The only monitoring results presented were from the two spring sampling dates on March 2 and March 15, 2014.

  • June 13, 2014 Interim report is issued.
  • July 8, 2014 MassDEP reveals that Kingston Independence turbine exceeded Mass Noise Regulations on two separate occasions in the Spring of 2014.
  • July 8, 2014 MassDEP writes a letter to Kingston BOH stating that the winter is the time for data collection.
  • August 12, 2014 Kingston BOH issues limited abatement order for Independence turbine
  • April 16, 2015 Draft for Public Comment  “Kingston Wind Independence Turbine Acoustical Monitoring Study Technical Report,” HMMH Report No. 305270.001, is issued.

Governors again ask for wind tax credits

May 31, 2015

A “Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition” again urged Congress to renew the production tax credit in a May 26, 2015 letter to the leadership. Chris Kapsambelis of Bourne, who has been following the claims of wind production promoters, takes issue with the  letter’s assumptions in this response:

Letter: We anticipate that wind energy will be truly competitive with traditional energy sources soon given innovation in the industry.

CK: Wind energy competitiveness can only be realized when combined with sufficient energy storage to match the dispatchable properties of conventional power sources. Such storage is not yet available in necessary amounts and until then, the competitiveness of wind energy is based on false assumptions

Letter: We also believe it is important to recognize all the public policy benefits of wind energy, including

a diversified energy portfolio,

CK: The need for firming the volatile, intermittent, and variable nature of wind with natural gas is driving coal and nuclear into early retirement decreasing the level of energy diversification

public health benefits,

CK: In the absence of grid-scale energy storage little to no carbon is avoided. Noise and infrasound have introduced health impacts, nuisance, and a lower Quality of Life for residents living within a mile and a quarter from wind turbines.

domestically-sourced energy,

CK: New England is looking to import wind energy from Canada

Letter: We are also concerned that thousands of manufacturing jobs could be lost without stable federal policy

CK:Wind turbines are made overseas. Increasing electricity rates drive manufacturing jobs overseas resulting in a net job loss.

Chris Kapsambelis also points out:

In addition, there are severe ecological impacts:

Unacceptable levels of migratory and raptor bird kills.

Widespread bat kills from barotrauma while flying through the low pressure waves downwind of the turbines.

Mountain ecology disruption from blasting and access road construction. Access roads act as water channels robing the mountains of necessary rainwater absorption.

Infrasound: “Trespass” in Falmouth, VATech Planned Research

April 20, 2015

In a Technical Memo issued by the lead investigator of a recent infrasound study, Noise Control Engineering states in no uncertain terms what Neil and Betsy Andersen of Falmouth have known since late in 2010–

Based on our experience, NCE can unequivocally state that the infrasonic signature captured inside the Andersen residence with the wind turbines operational is 100% attributable to one or both of the Town’s Wind Turbines. To put the conclusions more commonly, this study finds that the wind turbine(s) produce acoustic emissions which are “acoustically trespassing” into the Andersen home.

The study report  is dated February 27, 2015 and will enter the record for the Andersens’ nuisance lawsuit against the town of Falmouth. Judge Christopher J. Muse had issued a ruling in November 2013, requiring the town to turn off its two turbines for 12 hours each night.

The study Michael Bahtiarian performed for this lawsuit follows a string of studies on the emissions wind turbines produce below the threshold of human hearing. Infrasound was studied at the Shirley Wind Project in Wisconsin in 2012. Since then, acoustician Steven Cooper’s 2015 study at the Cape Bridgewater Project in Australia also addressed infrasound. To date, the MassDEP has not been willing to act on infrasound and low frequency noise.*

In this video, Jorge Arenas states that “low frequency can be transported a lot of miles from the source to the receiver.” “So low frequency noise is very difficult to reduce and to control and to mitigate.”

Arenas, a faculty member in the Universidad Austral de Chile’s College of Engineering Sciences, is director of its Institute of Acoustics. He will be a collaborator with Virginia Tech’s Ricardo Burdisso, a professor of mechanical engineering in Blacksburg VA. The collaboration  announced on March 30th, will include analysis of health effects at a wind project in Chile. Andrea Brunais reported this piece for “Outreach and International Affairs,” a production of Virginia Tech.

The goal of this research is to mitigate turbine emissions, according to the VA Tech piece, “Stormy Weather Ahead for Wind Farms?

The interaction of blades with air “is a very challenging research problem,” Arenas continues. It would be “nice if we can predict the noise from the wind farms because there are no models–precise models–to do that.”

Photo Credit: Laura J. Gardner/The Journal Gazette, via Associated Press). Wind turbines that collect renewable energy, set in a pasture in Van Wert County, Ohio, are visible for miles.

The “stormy weather” of the title relates to the concerns of residents, whose voices were heard in Ohio last year when legislators prescribed a quarter-mile setback from property lines. This was compounded when the state put the brakes on accepting new projects while it awaits a legislative panel review of its renewable standard, according to Associated Press reporter John Seewer (New rules cloud future for large-scale wind farms in Ohio, 2/14/15). He reported, “West Virginia’s governor signed a bill this month that eliminates its standards.” Groups in other states are trying to convince their governments to remove their energy standards and, with them, the incentives that attract large wind project developers.

“In Mason County, on the shore of Lake Michigan, local residents filed a lawsuit claiming Consumers Energy’s Lake Wind Energy Park has caused headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, dizziness, stress, and fatigue since the facility began operating two years ago,” according to Bonner R. Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (Michigan May Curtail Wind Lawsuits, 2/19/15).

*”Please Note that MassDEP has concluded that the available information on the impact of low frequency sound and infrasound on public health is currently insufficient to develop a noise policy that would apply to low frequency sound and infrasound at this time.  MassDEP acknowledges comments received on this issue in response to the health study and will review and consider the latest scientific information on this topic as it becomes available in the future,”

Ken Kimmell, then MassDEP Commissioner, during the first WNTAG meeting on July 18, 2013.

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