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5/21/12 Press Release—It’s Not Just A Falmouth Problem: Across The State People Living Near Wind Turbines Complain Of Noise And Health Effects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: IT’S NOT JUST A FALMOUTH PROBLEM: ACROSS THE STATE PEOPLE LIVING NEAR WIND TURBINES COMPLAIN OF NOISE AND HEALTH EFFECTS

CONTACTS: Louise Barteau, Fairhaven; Sherman Derby, Hancock; Tim Dwyer, Kingston; Karen Isherwood, Fairhaven; John Methia, Fairhaven; Mary Zawoysky, Falmouth; Lilli Green, WWMA Steering Committee, (508) 801-6211; Gini Irvine, WWMA Steering Committee, (413) 245-3179; Eleanor Tillinghast, WWMA Steering Committee, (413) 446-3990

Brimfield, MA, May 21, 2012 — Contrary to the claim of Massachusetts DEP Commissioner Ken Kimmell in a recent Boston Globe article, the noise and adverse health effects produced by a wind turbine in the town of Falmouth are not unique. In fact, wherever wind turbines are constructed too close to homes, people suffer from the noise, the consequent loss of sleep, and other chronic impacts.

The Boston Globe reported on May 16, 2012 that one of the two town-owned wind turbines in Falmouth, known as Wind I, is to be shut down temporarily due to excess noise.

Wind Turbine Syndrome experts consider 1.25 miles to be the minimum safe distance between homes and wind turbines, recognizing that serious health effects may also be experienced by people living up to six miles away or more.

The Boston Globe reports in today’s paper that “all but one of the 54 wind turbines of 100 kilowatts or larger that are operating in Massachusetts are within a mile of homes.”

Sherman Derby, a selectman in the Massachusetts town of Hancock, who lives about half a mile from the Berkshire Wind turbines, says, “You wake up sometimes at two in the morning and it sounds a jet plane. When they said it would be no louder than a vacuum cleaner, that may be but if your wife starts vacuuming next to your bed in the middle of the night, you’ll notice. It’s a heck of a roar.” He adds, “We’re up a lot of times because of the noise, we just can’t sleep.” The Berkshire Wind project consists of 10 turbines on Brodie Mountain in northwestern Massachusetts.

In the coastal town of Fairhaven, where two wind turbines recently began operation, resident John Methia says, “I live 2,000 feet away from the turbines. The sound is quite disturbing. The sound is like a jet flyover that doesn’t stop. We hoped for the best when the turbines were erected and now we fear the worst.” John Methia has another quote in today’s Boston Globe, in an article titled “Wind turbine noise is targeted in Mass.”

Karen Isherwood, who lives less than 1,500 feet from both turbines in Fairhaven, says, “I welcomed the developer to my home and he said everything would be fine. He lied to me.

“It is not just the noise volume, the sound can go anywhere from a whoosh whoosh to a traffic level to an airport. I would never purchase a home near an airport, but that’s what I’ve got here with the turbines.

“I am desperately calling out for help because I have medical issues that have been exacerbated by the noise. If I don’t get help I will have to abandon my home.”

Louise Barteau, another Fairhaven resident, says, “Last September, I rented a teaching studio space without any prior knowledge of the imminent construction of two 400-foot wind turbines approximately 1,200 feet away, which were constructed over the winter and have been operating since May 5, 2012. I have already experienced feelings of pressure behind my eyes, confusion, and nausea in the studio. I asked the landlord to let me out of my lease early, and moved out this week rather than expose myself to further symptoms.”

Ms. Barteau notes, “Seven people that live nearby to the turbines have told me and others that they are experiencing the following: pressure feelings in the head and chest; being woken out of a sound sleep with their hearts pounding; being woken up repeatedly; feelings of confusion; nausea; dizziness; and feeling that their ears are blocked. All of these people have lodged a formal complaint with the Fairhaven Board of Health and will be speaking out at a June 4th meeting of that Board.”

According to Tim Dwyer of Kingston, who lives about 1,600 feet from the nearest of the three so-called O’Donnell turbines there, “since the Kingston turbines have become operational, I have personally held conversations with local residents from multiple neighborhoods that have experienced symptoms including headaches, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, ear pressure and vertigo.”

He added, “Because the Kingston turbines were constructed with an unprecedented lack of public notice or involvement, these residents were completely unaware that their sudden and unexplained symptoms could result from living in close proximity to industrial wind turbines. I’m hopeful that the town of Kingston will follow the lead of other similarly impacted communities, and establish a method of surveying its residents to determine the true extent of the problem.”

Eleven families in Kingston have hired attorney Christopher Senie to appeal the decision of the building inspector to permit the O’Donnell wind turbines.

Speaking about the Woods Hole Research Center’s wind turbine in Falmouth, Mary Zawoysky says, “I live 900 feet from a Northwind 100 wind turbine and the effects on me are very similar to what I’ve been hearing from neighbors of the Falmouth Wind 1 and Notus 400-foot wind turbines. It’s the low frequency noise or infrasound that bombards my home so that I can’t sleep. I have never experienced anything like this and I grew up very near a dam, railroad tracks, and an airport so I am used to noise.”

There have been other first-hand reports of impacts from wind-turbine noise in newspapers around the state.

In the Berkshire Eagle, Judy Whitman of Hancock wrote a letter in which she said, “I had no strong objection at the onset but did worry about the scenery. Now that they have been in operation for almost a year, I have lots to tell you folks in south county. They do disturb the scenery and the quiet. If you live within a mile they are loud, sounding like a jet plane flying high overhead.” The letter is dated November 22, 2011.

According to the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, in an extensive article on wind turbine noise in its February 9, 2012 issue: “Across the street from Nantucket High School, just a few hundred feet away from the 100-kilowatt wind turbine installed in 2010, Irean Schreiber says she’s living in agony. She can’t sleep, and she complains of an accelerated heart rate, vertigo, dizziness and headaches.”

On May 18, 2012, the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch quoted Matt Weir, a Hyannis resident who lives next to the wind turbine located at Country Gardens as saying about the noise that keeps him awake every night, “I hear it day and night.”

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, of which Ken Kimmell is the commissioner, is charged under state law with regulating noise pollution.

Wind Turbine Syndrome is a term coined by Dr. Nina Pierpont to cover a range of health symptoms experienced by people where wind turbines have been constructed too close to their homes.

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts is a statewide alliance of groups and individuals who support the responsible siting of renewable energy projects and are concerned about the negative health, environmental, and economic impacts of poorly-sited wind turbines. The alliance members are all volunteers. For more information, please visit our website, <windwisema.org>.

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12/20/11 Press Release—Acoustic field study links turbine sound and health issues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information, contact:

Lilli-Ann Green:  preservethewellfleetilove@gmail.com
Virginia Irvine:  (413) 245-3179
Eleanor Tillinghast:  (413) 528-9363

Email:  info@windwisema.org

Resident complaints in Falmouth are not just in their heads. That is the evidence produced in a report by acousticians Stephen E. Ambrose and Robert W. Rand, based on field measurements conducted in April 2011.

The study finds that infrasound or low frequency noise from industrial wind turbines (IWT) in Falmouth is causing the adverse health effects being experienced by residents living near the NOTUS turbine at Webb Research in the industrial park.

The release of the Ambrose and Rand report follows a stunning announcement on Wednesday December 14, 2011 by Senator Ben Downing, chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. He said he is recommending the wind energy siting reform act (WESRA) bill go to a study group in his Committee. Downing’s action effectively kills the bill for the rest of the legislative session.

In October Senator Downing announced that the TUE committee would be requesting a site visit in Falmouth by the Wind Science Panel convened by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and Department of Public Health (DPH). Downing suggested they interview the impacted residents as part of their study of the health impacts from industrial wind turbines. His remarks came during the WESRA hearing held on October 20, 2011 in Barnstable. There has been no indication that the committee’s request was carried out.

“Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts calls on the Massachusetts DPH to perform the requested epidemiological study of the residents in Falmouth,” said Virginia Irvine.  “The neighbors are continuing to suffer health impacts from the 1.65 MW Notus Turbine, and were experiencing effects from the 1.65 MW Falmouth Wind 1. They will certainly be just as affected when the 1.65 MW Wind 2 becomes operational.

In July 2011, Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts submitted a letter and petition to the DEP and DPH calling for study and a moratorium on industrial turbine siting. The petition was signed by 407 people in 106 MA towns.

According to Eleanor Tillinghast, “Wind Wise again calls on the Patrick administration to place a moratorium on turbine construction and operation until the epidemiological study is completed and the safe setbacks are determined. We want the state to recognize and prevent the damaging health effects from industrial wind turbines now being experienced in several communities.”

In August 2011, Dr. Alec Salt and James Kaltenbach provided the physiological mechanism[3] by which infrasound and low frequency sound could affect human health in their “Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society” article “Infrasound from wind turbines could affect humans.” Salt and Kaltenbach have discovered the apparent physiological mechanism which causes the Wind Turbine Syndrome documented by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her 2009 report by the same name.

Wind Turbine Syndrome symptoms have been documented clinically by Michael Nissenbaum, MD in studies performed in Mars Hill ME and more recently in Vinalhaven ME. Residents began noticing adverse health effects soon after the start-up of IWTs in both Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine.

The Ambrose and Rand study now gives proof of Pierpont’s Wind Turbine Syndrome, of Salt’s physiological mechanism and Nissenbaum’s field reports.

At the WESRA hearing in October, Neil Anderson of Falmouth said the turbines are “too big, too close.” Nina Pierpont, MD PhD conducted medical interviews with nine Falmouth residents in September 2011, including Anderson.

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Sources

Ambrose, Stephen E. and Robert W. Rand. “The Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study: Adverse Health Effects Produced by Large Industrial Wind Turbines Confirmed.” December 14, 2011.

Salt, Alec N. and James A. Kaltenbach. “Infrasound From Wind Turbines Could Affect Humans.” Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society. August 2011. 31(4): 296-302.

Pierpont, Nina. Wind Turbine Syndrome. K-Selected Books, Sante Fe, NM. 2009.

Nissenbaum, Michael A. Mars Hill Wind Turbine Health Effects—preliminary findings. [slides presented to the Maine Medical Association] March 2009. http://www.newmexicocare.org/docs/MarsHillHealth.pdf.

Nissenbaum, Michael, Jeff Aramini, and Chris Hanning. “Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines: a preliminary report.” 10th International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem (ICBEN) 2011, London, UK

Liedell, Jim and Charles Kleekamp. “Massachusetts’ Largest Privately-Owned Wind Turbine” [Webb Research Corporation]. Cape Cod Today. 15 Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2011.

Pierpont, Nina. “Dr. Nina Pierpont interviews WTS victims.” Wind Turbine Syndrome. Sept. 2011.

8/23/11 Press Release–Legislators Use Berkshire Hearing Venue to Sell Wind Bill

Enclosures: windwisema letter to TUE committee, Response from TUE committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information, contact:

Lilli-Ann Green:  (508) 801-6211
Virginia Irvine:  (413) 245-3179
Eleanor Tillinghast:  (413) 528-9363

Email:    info@windwisema.org

Brimfield, MA–The first of two public hearings on the controversial bill to expedite land-based wind projects is scheduled for September 7, 2011 in Hancock, Massachusetts, known for its historic Shaker Village. The 10:00 a.m. meeting will be held at the Jiminy Peak ski resort, site of a 1.5 MW turbine.

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts, a statewide coalition, asked the co-chairs of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy to reconsider the location. In a letter, the group argued that “an operating wind turbine at this location raises the unavoidable question as to whether this choice reflects a bias on the part of the Committee.”

In response, co-chairs Benjamin Downing (Pittsfield) and John D. Keenan (Salem) refused the group’s request, writing that “providing Committee members the opportunity to visit Hancock allows those who represent urban areas or have never seen a wind turbine the ability to do so in multiple settings – the individual business-serving, behind-the-meter model at Jiminy Peak and the developer model of MMWEC’s nearby Berkshire Wind project.”

The Wind Wise group has characterized the Committee’s decision as a transparent attempt to promote the siting bill—H01775 and S01666—which stalled in the last session.

If passed, the law calls for both local and statewide Siting Boards to be appointed. The local Board would have the power to overturn local zoning, conservation, and health bylaws. The State Board would be the sole appeal for turbine opponents. Only proponents would be allowed to appeal to Superior Court.

“This siting bill will also take away local control from residents of small towns,” said Virginia Irvine of Brimfield, a Wind Wise board member. “Once a developer puts a proposal forward, the wind act kicks in, with short time deadlines that rural towns will find hard to meet. The bill doesn’t even allow for an up-or-down Town Meeting vote.”

In addition to the Jiminy Peak turbine, Hancock—population 717—is also the site of Berkshire Wind, an industrial facility of ten 1.5 MW turbines occupying 2,500 acres of Brodie Mountain.

There is apparently some confusion on the Telecommunications Committee as to where Jiminy Peak is located. According to the co-chairs’ letter, the venue is “relatively easy to access from the Mass Pike.” In reality, it is a 50-minute drive from the Pike’s Lee exit. Google Maps’ preferred route leads a motorist to New York State and, from there, via a route north and east, back into Massachusetts.

Wind Wise members say they will be taking a day off from work and getting their children to school early, on what is for many communities the second day of the school year.

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8/18/11 Press Release–Statewide coalition calls for transparency in deliberations now being conducted during secret meetings of state panel studying wind turbine health impacts

ENCLOSURES: Letter to Commissioners; Sue Hobart letter to Falmouth BOSPanel Members; Facilitator CV; Panel Scope of Work; Background Information on panelists Manwell and Mills

For more information, contact:

  •  Lilli-Ann Green: (508) 801-6211
  • Virginia Irvine: (413) 245-3179

Brimfield, MA – August 16, 2011 – Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts, a state-wide coalition of community organizations and citizens, today announced it is asking the MA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the MA Dept. of Public Health (DPH) to go public with the proceedings of the wind science panel studying the health effects of wind turbines. 

 The state-wide organization made its decision due to lack of transparency in selecting panel members, secrecy of the panel proceedings, narrow scope of work and potential bias of at least some of the panel members.

In addition, the timing of the convening of the secret panel is also brought into question when a bill to establish a more comprehensive and open Commission to study the health effects of wind turbines has been filed and will have a hearing in October.

 In making the announcement, Barbara Durkin of Northboro, a member of Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts stated, “We are completely committed to a comprehensive and independent study of the health risks posed by wind turbines. We are equally committed to opposing a flawed study that jeopardizes the health and safety of the citizens of Massachusetts.”

 Residents from throughout the Commonwealth have become increasingly alarmed at reports from people living in proximity to wind turbines around the world who are reporting severe health problems. 

 On June 2, 2010, the group of concerned citizens now known as Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts wrote a letter to DPH Commissioner Auerbach requesting a formal independent study be undertaken by the state to review the growing body of research on the health problems being reported by people living near wind turbines.

 On July 30, 2010 members of the statewide coalition and two MA State Representatives met with Commissioner Auerbach to present evidence and reassert the need for an independent study concerning the adverse health impacts of wind turbines.

 This spring the state announced the formation of a panel of experts to formally investigate the topic.  Members of Wind Wise met with DPH officials on May 3, 2011 and were told that the panel would be composed of totally unbiased and independent experts, and that the panel’s review process would be open to members of the public.

 Wind Wise has learned that the selection of the panel was done in secret, its scope of work was developed in secret, and the panel recently held its first meeting in secret.  Further, Wind Wise has been formally notified that all of the meetings of the panel would be closed to members of the public. Barry Cosgrove of Wareham, an attorney and member of the Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts legal subcommittee, stated, “the expert panel already met in secret, and this may well be in violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law.”

 Virginia Irvine of Brimfield, a member of the coalition’s Executive Board stated, “we also note that the backgrounds of some panel members would suggest they may be biased in favor of wind energy.  We are concerned that the lack of transparency and the current composition of the panel may result in a flawed final report.”

John Ford of Falmouth stated, “Wind Wise maintains it is mandatory that the wind energy industry and developers of wind energy shoulder the burden of proof. The wind industry and proponents proclaim that wind turbines are safe, but is there sufficient evidence to support this claim? Why should Massachusetts citizens accept the risks when wind industry proponents and developers can only say there is not sufficient evidence to prove harm? Denial of harm is not the same as absence of harm.  We know that people are being made physically ill because wind turbines are located too close to people all over the globe, including several locations in Massachusetts. Certainly I and fifty families in Falmouth, MA experience adverse health impacts due to living in close proximity to two wind turbines.”

 On July 19, 2011, Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts submitted a letter to the Commissioners of DEP and DPH, signed by more than 400 people representing 106 MA cities and towns.  The letter requested the following:

  • A totally unbiased panel of experts
  • All meetings of the panel to be held in public
  • The state to post online all submitted materials and comments emailed and mailed to DEP/DPH during the open comment period which ended July 22nd so that all citizens may view all submissions
  • The link to such site to be prominently advertised
  • All submissions to be reviewed by the wind science panel
  • Members of the public to be able to provide testimony to the panel, including people experiencing adverse health problems living near wind turbines
  • The information and research that the panel review for the final report and recommendations to come from independent experts, engineers, and health care professionals and not from individuals or organizations that have a financial interest in the wind energy industry
  • At least one seat at the table of this expert panel to be allocated to a citizen from the unfortunate group of fifty families who are physically ill in the town of Falmouth, MA and who are living with wind turbines sited too close to their homes
  • The DEP/DPH set up a citizens’ advisory committee to provide ongoing information to the two state agencies on the rapidly evolving evidence of the impact of wind turbines on human health
  • A moratorium on all wind turbine construction in MA until more research is completed

 “Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts and many other Massachusetts citizens submitted hundreds of documents to DEP/DPH during the public comment period,” said Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet and member of the organization’s Executive Board. “Many of the documents are peer reviewed. The submissions also included numerous letters and personal stories from Massachusetts residents in locations around the state who suffer adverse health impacts from wind turbines. There are also submissions from experts and many personal accounts from people living too close to wind turbines throughout the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Some people who suffer severe symptoms live more than two miles from the nearest turbines,” she said.

 Durkin concluded, “It is imperative that the precautionary principle be enforced and a moratorium on the building of all wind turbines in Massachusetts be immediately implemented until a totally independent and comprehensive study is concluded. It is now clear to Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts that the composition of this panel of experts is deeply flawed and we are hopeful that DEP and DPH will quickly make the necessary changes so that the health and safety of all residents of our Commonwealth is protected.”

 Attached please find the list of wind science panel members and scope of work as per DEP, a letter from Wind Wise to the Commissioners of MA DEP and MA DPH, the CV of the wind science panel moderator (a risk communications and management specialist) and an email from MA resident Sue Hobart to the Falmouth, MA Board of Selectmen. (Ms. Hobart is so physically ill that she will become an industrial refugee, leaving her home so she can regain her health.)

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7/25/11 Press Release–Statewide group urges wind turbine moratorium

ENCLOSURES: DEP_DPH Letter; List of Towns Represented; DEP_DPH Additional Supporting Documentation

For more information, contact:

John Sears (western MA):  (413) 446-8992 (c) / (413) 339-4211 (h)
Virginia Irvine (central MA):  (413) 245-3179
Lilli-Ann Green (Cape Cod):  (508) 801-6211
Helen Parker (Islands):  (508) 645-3803

Email:    info@windwisema.org

Brimfield, MA – July 25, 2011 – A statewide group of more than 400 Massachusetts residents, including doctors, psychologists, and health professionals, have petitioned the Commissioners of Public Health and Environmental Protection to declare a moratorium on the construction of new industrial wind turbines in the Commonwealth.

As residents of 106 Massachusetts cities and towns, signers of the letter urge a temporary suspension of turbine development until further research into human health effects can be conducted and safe setbacks from residential neighborhoods determined.

Organized by Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts, a coalition of local groups concerned about hazards posed by industrial wind power, the letter is addressed to John Auerbach, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH), and Kenneth Kimmel, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The group’s submission includes a CD containing several hundred documents, including published studies, conference presentations, personal accounts, and press reports that detail health effects from the noise and strobing associated with turbines.

“All over the world, doctors are finding sleep disturbances, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, and vertigo in people living near industrial wind turbines built too close to their homes,” said Walter F. Barnes, M.D., of Westport.  “If the State, local governments, and developers continue turbine construction here without first investigating these reports and responding with protective health and safety guidelines, they will be forcing Massachusetts residents to be test subjects or unwilling guinea pigs for these projects.”

Numerous legal challenges to inappropriate wind siting and a growing number of local reviews have helped guide the group’s actions: “Oregon’s DPH is studying health effects; in Connecticut, noise, strobing, and set-back regulations must be in place before the state permits further wind plants; and towns or counties in Maine, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, Rhode Island, New York and Ontario have voted an actual or de facto hiatus for six months or longer,” said Kurt Tramposch, a public health consultant from Wayland. “With abundant emerging evidence of wind turbine health risks—and the lack of industry or state funding for independent health studies—a Massachusetts moratorium would be prudent, and allow agencies and legislators reasonable time to review and address these complex problems.”

Several of the documents cited by Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts identify the inaudible portion of turbine sound, known as “infrasound”, as being potentially harmful to both physical and mental health. “Depending on turbine size and placement, recent research has found that some neighbors may not be bothered by the audible noise a wind turbine makes, but may still suffer ill effects from the turbine’s infrasound,” said Albert K. Weyman, M.D., of Brewster.

The group also asks to be represented on a DEP panel charged with examining the issue of noise and identifying acceptable levels of each kind. They urge that appointees to the panel should be scientists and citizens with no connection to the wind industry.

“Developers have repeatedly used misinformation to justify placing these structures too close to homes, schools and businesses,” said Virginia Irvine of Brimfield, a member of the Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts executive committee.

The group’s letter, and a 20-page catalog of accompanying documents, has also been sent to Boards of Selectmen, Planning Boards, Boards of Health, and town managers in the state’s 351 municipalities.  Likewise, all of the state Senators and Representatives, as well as health organizations and officials of county governments, received the packet.

“Signers of the letter live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas from Nantucket to Williamstown,” said Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet, CEO of a health care education company and a member of the Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts executive committee. “Despite our diversity, we all agree that the well-being of Massachusetts citizens is the mandate of state agencies responsible for protecting the environment and public health.”

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http://docs.google.com/a/windwisema.org

pierpont doc

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