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Falmouth Press Release–You can go home to a quiet house, we cannot

June 5, 2012
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Falmouth Board of Health Hears Loud and Clear from Neighbors but Holds Off Turning Off the Wind Turbine

Contact:  Malcolm Donald 508.566.5830 MD@Zefarus.com

June 5, 2012

Falmouth Wind Turbine Neighbors called on the Board to Shut Down Falmouth’s Wind Turbines Before Any More Harm is Done

Falmouth, MA – After an emotional plea from a distraught neighbor who has resorted to sleeping in her car to escape the turbine noise in her home, and a tirade by a former candidate for Falmouth Selectman, the Falmouth Board of Health heard clearly and calmly from affected wind turbine neighbors at last night’s meeting.

Board Chairwoman, Gail Harkness, an epidemiologist herself, opened the subject of wind turbine health issues by reading a compiled list of health effects from testimony received from its public hearing. In order, from most complaints to fewest, were loss of sleep to contemplating and attempted suicide.

Harkness told about 40 people at the meeting that the BOH was reviewing the large volume of testimony on adverse health impacts from Falmouth wind turbines, compiled from the May 24,  2012 public hearing. The BOH will be sending that testimony on to the MA Department of Public Health from which it seeks guidance on the health problems around two of the Town’s industrial wind turbines and two private machines.

In light of unanswered requests by the Board to the state going back as far as March 2011, wind turbine neighbor, Mark Cool, asked why the board would expect an answer to this request. In response, Board Member George Heufelder went into lengthy detail about how, as the questions to a bureaucrat become more specific, the likelihood of a response becomes better.

Neighbors asked the Board whether it believes there is a serious health risk?  Board members responded by saying they have yet to read all the testimony.

If the Board does agree that there is a serious health risk, neighbors wanted the Board to know that it has the responsibility to prevent further harm.

Neighbors recognized that the Board of Health has the authority to shut the turbines down while the Department of Public Health’s medical authorities review the situation and provide the required guidance.

With the turbines off, affected neighbors told the Board that they will join the consensus-building panel Falmouth Selectmen have put together. Town Meeting voted in April both to turn the turbines off and carry on with that consensus process.

The Board heard numerous calls for turning off the turbines.  Chairwoman Harkness told the disappointed crowd that the next step would be for the Board to meet and compile the testimony, hopefully within a week’s time.  Another neighbor, Annie Cool, asked “How long do I have to endure the health effects from the turbines before the State would make a determination?  Is it weeks, months or years before we are to get relief?  You (the Board Members) can go home to a quiet house, we cannot.”

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