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More Distance Needed–Letter Corrects False Assumption about DEP Study Findings

January 18, 2013

More than typical noise requires more distance,” writes Chris Kapsambelis in his letter to the editor published in Thursday’s Cape Cod Times.

The Jan. 14 story on the Falmouth wind turbines reported that a state-appointed panel found no evidence that noise and flicker from turbines directly harms abutters.

The panel report states (Page ES-5) that the typical wind turbine generates 103 decibels. However, the noise dissipates quickly with distance and, at 400 meters (1,300 feet), the noise should drop to a safe level of 40 decibels.

Some abutters live closer than 1,300 feet, and the state measurements indicate that the wind turbines are generating more than the typical 103 decibels of noise.

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  1. January 18, 2013 9:57 am

    Massachusetts Wind Turbine Health Impact Counter Points

    http://legis.wisconsin.gov/eupdates/sen01/Massachusetts%20Wind%20Turbine%20Health%20Impact%20Study%20Talking%20Points.pdf

     What the Study Says:
    o On page 1:“…It should be noted that the scope of the Panel’s effort was
    focused on wind turbines and is not meant to be a comparative analysis of the
    relative merits of wind energy vs. non-renewable fossil fuel sources such as
    coal, oil, and natural gas.”
     However:
     The second paragraph of Chapter 1 of the study discusses a
    significant decrease in the consumption of conventional fuels and a
    corresponding decrease in the production of carbon dioxide and
    nitrogen and sulfur oxides
     The second paragraph states that reductions in the production of
    these pollutants will have demonstrable and positive benefits on
    human and environmental health
     Appendix A has a 28 page summary on the origin of wind energy, the
    mechanics and operation of wind turbines, and the reduction of
    emissions if more turbines were providing energy (Section 12 is titled
    “Wind Turbines and Avoided Pollutants”)
    o On page 1: “The overall context for this study is that the use of wind turbines
    results in positive effects on public health and environmental health…local
    impacts of wind turbines, whether anticipated or demonstrated, have resulted
    in fewer turbines being installed than might otherwise have been expected. To
    the extent that these impacts can be ameliorated, it should be possible to take
    advantage of the indigenous wind energy resource more effectively.” This
    passage indicates the true purpose of the Massachusetts study—to create an
    expansion of the wind industry through a slanted interpretation of wind health study
    documents.
    o The Panel merely reviewed literature and public media sources and met only three
    times
    o Stated that sleep disruption is the most commonly reported complaint by people and
    discusses this primarily as a result of “unwanted sound” and audible, amplitudemodulated
    noise (“whooshing”)
    o Writes off most self-reported “annoyance” as a combination of sound, sight of the
    turbine, and attitude towards the wind project (ES-5)
    o Therefore, according to the Panel, because they “found” no negative health effects to
    humans as a result of their literature research, it must necessarily follow that there
    are positive health effects. Yet, these positive health effects are not the result of
    wind turbines being safe, but that the turbines’ “green” impact on the environment will
    result in a decrease of conventional sources of fuel. This endorsement of safety is
    an admission that the Panel failed to strictly adhere to the scope of their charge.
     Expert “Independent” Panel Members:
    o Dr. James F. Manwell and Dora Anne Mills are extreme pro-wind advocates:
    o Manwell oversaw the first utility scale wind turbine and the largest wind turbine
    constructed in Massachusetts
    o Manwell has won several awards from American Wind Association and U.S.
    Department of Energy
    o Mills has provided public testimony and “op-ed” newspaper pieces supporting wind
    turbines while a member of the Commission and before the findings were released
    o Posted information on Maine’s CDC website as Maine’s public health director that
    wind turbines do not have negative health effects in 2009
    o Page 2 of the study states that 5 of the panel members “did not have any direct
    experience with wind turbines.” While the other members had backgrounds in
    epidemiology, toxicology , neurology, and sleep medicine, they had no past direct
    experience with wind turbines
     Massachusetts Study Cites Sources that Contain Information that Wind Turbines
    Cause Negative Health Effects:
    o The Panel used several articles by the same authors of other studies that Senator
    Lasee provided to the PSC
    o The Panel used several articles that Senator Lasee provided to the PSC that found
    that infrasound from wind turbines can have negative health effects, yet the
    Massachusetts panel comes to different conclusions than the study authors:
     Ambrose, S.E. & Rand R. W., (2011, December). The Bruce McPherson
    Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study: Adverse Health Effects
    Produced By Large Industrial Wind Turbines Confirmed.
    http://randacoustics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/The-Bruce-McPherson-
    ILFN-Study.pdf.
     Nissenbaum, M., Aramini, J., & Hanning, C. (2011). Adverse health effects of
    industrial wind turbines: a preliminary report. Paper presented at the 10th
    International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem (ICBEN)
    London, UK.
    Concludes on page 6: “We conclude that IWT noise…disrupts the sleep
    and adversely affects the health of those living nearby. The current
    ordinances determining setback are inadequate to protect the resident
    and setbacks of less than 1.5km (appx. 1 mile) must be regarded as
    unsafe.”
    http://www.healthywindwisconsin.com/Nissenbaum%20et%20al%20ICBEN20
    11_0158_final.pdf.
     Moller, H. & C.S. Pedersen, “Low-frequency noise from large wind turbines,”
    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, June 2011 vol. 129 no. 6 pages
    3727-3744. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3543957.
     These include Dr. Alec Salt, who is presenting two new papers before the
    end of this year demonstrating that infrasound has negative health effects on
    humans
     Salt, A., “Infrasound: Your ears ‘hear’ it but they don’t tell your
    brain”—Powerpoint presentation by Alec N. Salt, Ph.D., Department
    of Otolaryngology, (2010), Washington University School of Medicine,
    First International Symposium on Adverse Health and Wind Turbines,
    Sept. 2010. http://windvigilance.com/downloads/symposium
    2010/swv_symposium_presenation_infrasound_your_ears_hear_it_2.
    pdf.
     Salt, A.N. & Hullar, T.E., “Responses of the ear to low frequency
    sounds, infrasound and wind turbines,” Hearing Research, September
    2010 vol. 268 nos. 1-2 pages 12-21.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20561575.
     Salt, A.N. & Kaltenbach, J.A., “Infrasound from wind turbines could
    affect humans,” Bulletin of Science Technology & Society, August
    2011 vol. 31 no. 4 pages 296-302.
    http://bst.sagepub.com/content/31/4/296.
     Wisconsin Law:
    o 196.378(4g)(b)
     “…these rules shall include setback requirements that provide reasonable
    protection from any health effects, including health effects from noise and
    shadow flicker, associated with wind energy systems.”
     A political subdivision may not place a restriction on the installation or use of
    a wind energy system more restrictive than the rules promulgated by the
    PSC.
     Final Thoughts:
    o The Brown County Board of Health issued a resolution stating that wind turbines
    cause negative health effects
    o Studies cited by the Massachusetts Study and by Senator Lasee contain evidence
    that wind turbines cause negative health effects
    o With the PSC in possession of these studies (nearly a 12 inch stack total), they are
    aware that there is peer-reviewed information stating that wind turbines cause
    negative health effects
    o With Wisconsin citizens feeling negative health effects by wind turbines, PSC 128 is
    not compliant with state law and the PSC should promulgate an emergency rule to
    protect the health and safety of the citizenry.

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