Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks Hearing Health Matters

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Vermont’s Attorney General issued a press release on Monday closing the investigation into my work. This is great news, but the over-reach of Vermont’s state government has awakened people. — Annette Smith

Click below to watch Annette Smith’s press conference at the VT State Capitol after hearing from the Attorney General that the short investigation of her for allegedly acting as a lawyer had ended. The complaint had been brought by a law firm that represents one of the wind companies in Vermont.


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Vermont’s energy siting struggle hits crescendo


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Fish and Wildlife Service’s 30-year eagle permit rule vacated

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Infrasound Measurements of Falmouth Wind Turbines

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WOW! This guy hits every nail square on the head. Why aren’t these guys running our energy policy?

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Ellsworth American Editorial Blasts Wind Power Development in Maine


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Diverging views on the future of New England’s energy system

New England’s energy system is at a crossroads. Economics and climate concerns are driving a shift away from coal and oil, but experts remain divided on where to go from here.

If you want to get a sense of New England’s energy systems – past, present, and future – Sandwich is a good place to go. It’s the oldest town on Cape Cod, founded in 1639.

“It’s very nice, and I think it’s very historical,” says Takayuki Terai, a visitor from Japan. “I like this kind of New England atmosphere very much.”

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Too much wind news since the last VCE wind update.

— A Minnesota solar company backed by Barclays Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Macquarie Bank and First Reserve Corp. called SunEdison and its renewable arm called Terraform are purchasing First Wind for $2.4 billion.

— We had elections. Vermont’s governor’s status is technically not yet settled. His failure to listen to concerns about wind energy has been highlighted in several commentaries by respected Vermonters as one of the reasons voters stayed home or voted for someone else.

— EDP Renewables is prospecting in New Hampshire and Maine.

— Neighbors of New England wind projects have experienced high, unacceptable noise levels in the last few days

— Eolian Wind is shown the door again, this time in Maine

— Open season on offshore Mass. coming soon

— Health Canada released its as-anticipated, politically-motivated $2 million study. Health and noise issues are in the news despite the industry/political alliance’s efforts to deny harm is occurring

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is in play again. VCE will be sending out a sign-on letter to send to our congressional delegation (Senators Leahy and Sanders, Congressman Welch) and their staffers as part of a national effort by thousands of people. Look for an email from us in the coming weeks.

Check out the graphs at the end of this way-too-long message. Food for thought.


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Wisconsin Health officials weigh next step after declaring wind turbines a health risk

Wisconsin Health officials weigh next step after declaring the 2009 Shirley Wind Farm a health risk to its neighbors, likely due to low-frequency noise generated by the turbines.

Brown County health officials have declared wind turbines a public health risk, but they haven’t determined how to put their declaration into action.
The county’s Health Board this month declared the Shirley Wind Farm operated by Duke Energy Renewables poses a health risk to its neighbors in the town of Glenmore. Three families have moved out of their homes rather than endure physical illness they blame on the low-frequency noise the wind turbines generate, according to Audrey Murphy, president of the board that oversees the Brown County Health Department.
“We struggled with this but just felt we needed to take some action to help these citizens,” Murphy said.
Murphy called the declaration a first step, but “the second step is up to the director of our Health Department, Judy Friederichs, and corporation counsel.”
(Photo: H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media)

(Photo: H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media)
The Health Department has statutory authority for licensing, inspection and enforcement for businesses where health and environmental problems are at issue, but just what that means for the wind farm has not yet been determined, Friederichs said.
State health officials have expressed interest in participating in Brown County’s discussion of the issue, Friederichs said. She, board members and the county’s lawyer need to put their heads together to determine the next step, she said. No timeline has been established.
“We’re all saying the same thing here: Now what?” Friederichs said. “There aren’t a lot of alternatives to mitigation. It really depends now on where this goes, what type of referrals we get, etc. There’s ongoing concerns. We’re going to have to really look at it, and it’s more of a legal question.”
Wind turbines in the town of Glenmore in southern
Wind turbines in the town of Glenmore in southern Brown County. (Photo: H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media/@HMarcLarson )
Whatever happens, residents “are grateful to the Board of Health for reviewing the research and listening to the people of Brown County,” said Susan Ashley, who also lives in the Shirley area and who has helped rally opposition to the wind farm through the years.
Twenty families in the town have documented health issues since the wind farm started operated in 2009, Ashley said.
Wind turbines in the town of Glenmore in southern Brown County. (Photo: H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media)

Wind turbines in the town of Glenmore in southern Brown County. (Photo: H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media)
Duke Energy Renewables was not invited to the health board’s discussion and would have cited tests that determined sound levels from the wind generators were low and could not be linked to adverse health impacts, company spokeswoman Tammie McGee said. The company has not received any formal word about the board’s declaration, McGee said.
Dr. Jay Tibbetts, vice president of the Brown County health board and its medical adviser, said he knows of no science that proves there isn’t a link between health problems and the low-frequency noise the giant fans produce.
“There’s been nothing that’s debunked anything,” he said. “As far as what’s happening to these people, it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re in Shirley or Denmark, or Ontario, Canada. Forty people have moved out of their homes, and it’s not just for jollies. In Shirley, three people have moved out of their homes. I know all three. They’re not nuts. They’re severely suffering.”
People might not be able to hear the sounds the Shirley turbines produce, but Tibbetts said he knows of a teenager living in the area who can tell when the turbines are off or on without being able to see them. Area residents or former residents report headaches, nausea and other symptoms they say are brought on by the turbines, and those symptoms clear up when the residents move elsewhere for a time, Tibbetts said.
The board’s declaration may be cutting edge and controversial, but it wasn’t made lightly or without the weight of science behind it, Murphy said
“This is a serious step,” she said. “We didn’t make it lightly. There is science from around the world — the World Health Organization, Denmark, Poland, Germany. We believe there’s enough science.”
Darrell Ashley, who is Susan Ashley’s father-in-law and lives within a mile of the Shirley turbines, said his wife moved out of the house for several months until her symptoms disappeared. She has since moved back, and her symptoms are coming back, he said.
“I’m getting worse and I can’t afford to move out,” he said. “I’m just getting weaker — my legs, back, feet. My concentration is gone, head pressure, ear aches, headaches, it just goes on and on.”
Prior to 2009, when the turbines weren’t operating, he and his wife had no such problems, he said. He praised the health board and said he appreciated that someone finally listened to residents’ complaints.
Murphy said Brown County is probably the first governmental body in Wisconsin and perhaps the first in the country to make the formal declaration.
The board has been wrestling with the issue for about the last four years, Murphy said. While some scientific studies have failed to find a link between health risks and the low-frequency noise that wind turbines generate, two studies done recently on the Shirley Wind Farm specifically say otherwise, Murphy said.
“While there may still be debate about the precise mechanism that causes these sounds to induce the symptoms, it is clear from (these studies) … that acoustic energy emitted by operation of modern wind turbines is at the root of adverse health effects,” Murphy said.
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