3/3/10 TRIPLE FEATURE: Brown County Board takes wind turbine related health concerns seriously AND The wind industry says if you would only admit your turbine problems are all in your head you could do something about them. AND More turbines, more problems.
BROWN COUNTY TO STUDY WIND FARMS' IMPACT
By Tony Walter
March 3, 2010
A Brown County Board committee voted Tuesday to form a special committee to gather information about the health, safety and economic impact of wind turbines on county residents.
A Chicago-based developer is seeking state approval to build the first major commercial wind farm in Brown County, a project that would put 100 wind turbines in the towns of Morrison, Holland, Wrightstown and Glenmore.
The issue came to a head Tuesday because wind turbine opponents said there is evidence that they could interfere with emergency radio communications. But several of the approximately 50 wind farm opponents who attended the meeting said they are as concerned for health reasons.
“This whole thing is being jammed down our throats,” said Marilyn Nies of Greenleaf, whose 5-year-old daughter has a heart disease. Some wind turbine opponents say the turbines can cause a variety of health issues that could affect people like her daughter. “Is it going to hurt us to wait a year or two so real studies can be accomplished?”
Carl Johnson of Greenleaf said the turbines add the turbines will bring low frequency noise, which he called “a new type of pollution.”
Steve Deslauriers of Greenleaf urged the committee to consider a wind diversion ordinance.
“The county’s voice needs to be heard,” he said.
Carl Kuehne of Ledgeview cited university studies in Spain, Germany and Denmark that he said showed wind turbines to be “total, complete and utter failures” in those countries. He said other studies have shown property values decreased 25-40 percent on property adjacent to wind farms.
He asked the committee to recommend a moratorium on wind turbines until a thorough investigation can be completed.
The following commentary comes to Better Plan from a resident living in a Fond du Lac County wind project who wishes to remain anonymous.
You have an attitude problem.
That’s the wind industry’s latest explanation for the growing number of complaints from people living in industrial wind projects. They say, “You people just don’t like these things.”
The implication is that if you just changed your attitude, the problems you're having with turbine noise, sleep disruption, shadow flicker, and homes that will not sell--- all of these problems will go away.
As a Wisconsin resident who has been living in a wind project for nearly two years, I have to ask what it is that the industry wants you to like? What is there to like about having your home surrounded by 400 foot wind turbines? I can’t think of a thing …
-Unless you like constant audible and low frequency noise, from whooshing and thumping to grinding mechanical noises and transformer hum.
-Unless you enjoy chronic sleep disruption and associated health problems for you and your family.
-Unless you enjoy signal interference on your radio, TV, and cell phone.
-Unless you want to live in an area where Flight for Life emergency transport helicopters can no longer land.
-Unless you enjoy the strobe flashing of turbine shadow flicker inside and outside of your home on sunny days and moonlit nights.
-Unless you are glad the birds and bats are gone along and other wildlife once so common before the turbines went up.
-Unless you think it’s beautiful to be surrounded by scores of red lights flashing in unison from the turbines at night, or regard leaking oil on the towers and land below as decorative.
-Unless you want to live in a place where wind developers pitted neighbor against neighbor and tore the community apart in a way that will never be repaired.
-Unless you appreciate your peace of mind and family relationships disintegrating because of the stress of no sleep and uncertainty about being able to sell your house, because you’ve seen how the houses in your project just sit with no buyers, because you know how few people want to buy a home so near turbines and you can’t blame them—because you wouldn’t want to live so close to wind turbines either.
Except, now, of course, you do.
This new “blame the victim” PR move underscores the wind industry's own attitude problem, one of insensitivity and an inability to understand and be compassionate toward the people whose problems began only after the wind turbines went up.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
There have been a number of reasons why residents of wind projects in our state have asked for anonymity when contacting Better Plan. Some have family members who work for companies associated with construction of the turbines. Some have family members or neighbors who are hosting turbines. Some are hosting turbines themselves and regretting it, but are fearful of being sued by the wind company for violating the gag order in their contract.
Better Plan is glad to insure anonymity to any wind project resident who contacts us, but we always confirm the identity of anyone who submits material for us to post.
We'd like to thank the family who sent us this commentary.
Wind turbines stir up controversy in Brown County
BROWN COUNTY (WFRV) – Some Brown County residents say they’re worried about plans to put a 100 turbine wind farm in southern Brown County.
Invenergy wants to build 400-foot wind turbines on 72-square miles of land.
Residents enumerated a host of issues they have with the build at a Brown County Committee meeting Tuesday evening.
Home owners say they're worried about well contamination, noise pollution and potential unseen health issues. A concerned parent speaking from the podium at Tuesday’s meeting said she’s worried the project could worsen her 5-year-old’s heart condition. She wants to delay the project a year or two for a comprehensive study. “I feel like this whole thing is being jammed down our throats.”
Steve Deslauriers, a Town of Morrison firefighter, says he’s worried 9-1-1 calls could be interrupted by the wind turbine’s blades. “If it impacts even one accident scene, it’s one too many” Deslauries tells Channel 5’s Jenna Sachs.
Deslauriers also says he’s worried history shows rescue choppers might not fly near the turbines. “We can look to Fond du Lac County as a guide for how flight rescue would be handled” Deslauriers says. “There they will not fly into a wind farm at night or into a cluster of wind turbines.”
Sachs spoke with representatives from Invenergy and Brown County Public Safety about the 9-1-1 issue. Both parties say they can work together to make sure 9-1-1 signals aren’t interrupted, since the new radio towers haven’t been built yet.