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AWEA P.R. Aside, Wind Turbine Syndrome Persists

June 17, 2014
Freelance reporter Alex Halperin brings the issues of infrasound and Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS) to the fore in his New Republic piece  “Big Wind Is Better Than Big Oil, But Just as Bad at P.R.” (6/15/14). He describes the experience of Nancy Shea in Florida MA. She abandoned her quiet mountain retreat once the turbines of the Hoosac Project came online. Although pro-wind, she soon learned the effect the turbines would have on her:

…just days after the 19-turbine project went online Shea sensed something wrong. She “felt kind of queasy,” one day in the kitchen. Later she woke up feeling like she had bed spins. …“It’s a hard to describe sensation, you just want to crawl out of your skin,” Shea says.

While the wind industry dismisses complaints about the effects of the low frequency infrasound, researchers and medical doctors give credence to turbine-sufferers’ complaints.
Dr. Steven Rauch, an otologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a professor at Harvard Medical School, believes WTS is real.“…The patients deserve the benefit of the doubt,” Rauch says. “It’s clear from the documents that come out of the industry that they’re trying very hard to suppress the notion of WTS and they’ve done it in a way that [involves] a lot of blaming the victim.”

Halperin thinks it’s a mistake for the wind industry to ignore the issue.

In these cases, industry’s primary goal isn’t to be right on the merits, though that would be nice, but to continue operating. As long as it’s planting turbines, the wind industry is winning. But as long as it’s simply dismissing WTS, the industry is putting itself at risk of losing its sympathetic, clean image.

The best advice might come from the Salt and Lichtenhan article. Big Wind, it argues, should “acknowledge the problem and work to eliminate it.”

Follow Alex Halperin on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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