3/18/11 Wind farm strong arm in Glenmore: Town Board chooses wind developer's money over residents lives AND Trouble living with turbines getting harder for Wind Industry to deny, but they deny it anyway AND Another community begs for health studies AND How far should a turbine be from a residence? In Glenmore they get 1000 feet, in Oregon 2 miles and a new UK report says 10 rotor diameters
TEMPERS ERUPT WHEN GLENMORE APPROVES WIND TURBINES
March 17, 2011
By Chris Hrapsky
Tempers flared in a Town of Glenmore board meeting Wednesday night as officials approved a new wind turbine development.
The heated followed a vote in the Town of Glenmore last week, when the town board approved building permits for C-Energy to erect seven wind turbines. After several citizens opposing the decision erupted, the board decided to table the vote.
Wednesday, the town board made its final decision on the matter.
Sheriff's deputies were on-hand as citizens packed the Glenmore community center waiting to hear the town board's decision. Twenty minutes in, they got their answer.
The board voted 2-1, cementing the building permits for seven new turbines.
"Shame on you!" the crowd shouted.
Angry members in the crowd chanted "Shame!" and "Judas!" as board supervisors Don Kittell and Kriss Schmidt, who voted to approve the permits, quickly left the building without comment.
The shouting carried into the parking lot as C-Energy representatives went to their cars.
"How you can you look at yourself, you lousy, lousy people!" one person shouted.
Supervisor Ron Nowak, the only member to vote against the building permits, tried to sum up the vote.
"They did all their paperwork, got all their permits. They came to us with all their paperwork, and we're going to give it to them," Nowak said.
Representatives of C-Energy declined to comment.
After the meeting we called Kittell and Schmidt. Neither returned our calls.
GLENMORE TOWN BOARD APPROVES TURBINES
MARCH 17, 2011
GREEN BAY - Emotions continue to run hot over a wind turbine project in Brown County. The Glenmore town board tonight voted to allow CG Power Solutions to build seven turbines in the community.
The vote happened without public comment.
When the meeting was adjourned soon after the vote, many of those attending shouted down the board members. Law enforcement officers watched the crowd as the board members left.
Tonight's meeting and vote came on the heels of another heated meeting last week. At that time, the board originally approved the permit for the project, but when the crowd became angry then, the board abruptly ended the meeting.
It later reconvened and voted to delay the permit for two months. Then, the turbine company challenged that second vote, saying it violated state open meeting law.
We were not able to speak with board members following tonight's meeting.
Opponents to the plan say they have a number of concerns, including health issues.
AIRING WIND FARM FEARS
By Erin Somerville, Central Western Daily, www.centralwesterndaily.com.au 18 March 2011
They may look harmless, but the increasing amount of wind turbines freckling hills and skylines around the central west may be doing more harm than good.
Insomnia, nausea and headaches are just some of the health complaints slowly being brought to the surface by people living near wind farms.
Dr Sarah Laurie,who has done extensive research into the health effects of wind turbines in rural communities, spoke to residents around Blayney on Wednesday night about her findings.
Residents and land holders were particularly interested as they face a proposed $200 million wind farm being built in the Flyers Creek area across 16 properties.
“I am not anti-wind, but there’s a problem,” Dr Laurie said. “You can’t ignore the fact that people are getting sick.”
The sudden and unexplained common symptoms presented by those living up to 10 kilometres away from wind farms include nausea, headaches, sleep deprivation, tinnitus, panic attacks and high blood pressure.
Children are also presenting unusual symptoms including waking with night terrors and sudden bed wetting, despite having gone years without wetting the bed.
Residents report they can only solve these problems by leaving the area.
Dr Laurie said that medical practitioners, wind turbine companies, and the government can no longer ignore the evidence linking wind farms with negative health affects.
She believes infrasound waves that are inaudible to humans are responsible for the health problems.
“There’s a stimulation of the nervous system, and I think this is from the infrasound,” she said.
“[People] can’t really protect their homes from it because they are very penetrative.”
Although infrasound waves occur naturally, Dr Laurie believes it’s the pulsating nature of the sound waves as the blade passes the tower that is mainly responsible for the health problems.
The Senate has launched an inquiry on rural wind farms and their health effects.
Over 1000 submissions have been made so far.
Dr Laurie is hoping the inquiry will prompt the government to investigate the issue so it is better understood and preventative strategies can be taken in the future.
“It is acoustic pollution,” she said.
There are no regulations stating how far a wind farm can be from a residence.
Infigen Energy, the company behind the proposed Flyers Creek wind farm, did not provide the Central Western Daily with a comment.
BOARD OF HEALTH PRESSED TO STUDY EFFECTS OF TURBINES
15 March 2011
By ELISE R. HUGUS,
Falmouth Board of Health will request that health impacts from the town’s wind turbines be studied by the state Department of Public Health, and that a complaint log based on science be established online for residents to report adverse effects from the turbines.
In a meeting last night, the board heard a presentation from Ambleside Road resident J. Malcolm Donald on health effects from a 28-turbine wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine. The controlled study, conducted by Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, found that a large percentage of residents living within 1,100 meters of the turbines experienced symptoms, compared with residents who lived three miles away. According to Mr. Donald, the study found that 77 percent of abutters to the wind farm experienced feelings of anger, and over 50 percent felt feelings of stress, hopelessness, and depression. Over 80 percent reported sleep disturbances, compared with 4 percent in the control group, he said, and 41 percent of abutters experienced headaches.
The study, which was completed in March 2009, has yet to be published in a creditable journal—and, as several board members pointed out, has yet to stand up to the rigors of the scientiﬁc method, which include peer review and replication.
Board member John B. Waterbury, a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said he had carefully read the study and other documents sent by Mr. Donald over the weekend. “As a scientist, I look and see there isn’t much peer-reviewed literature. Then there are people who are clearly impacted by this thing in a number of ways,” he said. Fellow board member George R. Heufelder said he was not convinced that the physiological symptoms listed in the study are connected to the turbines. “I can’t dismiss your irritation and angst, but my analysis says, show me the facts. It takes someone to do a good, controlled study,” he said. Mr. Donald cited the “precautionary principle,” a legal term that allows policy makers to make decisions that are not based on scientiﬁc evidence. “You don’t really need to know why something is happening. If we know it’s happening, we need to take preventive mesures to stop it from happening,” he said. Board member Jared V. Goldstone pointed out that although the principle has been adopted in the European Union, it is not law in the United States. “The legal underpinnings of [Dr. Nissenbaum’s study] just aren’t there. Right now it’s a political issue,” he said.
Mr. Donald also read verbatim a Climatide blog post written, coincidentally, by Dr. Goldstone’s wife, Heather M. Goldstone, a WCAI reporter with a doctorate in ocean science and a background in toxicology. As part of the radio station’s series on “the Falmouth Experience” with turbines, she drew parallels between the debate over the health effects of wind turbine energy and toxic chemical pollutants.
Several residents of Blacksmith Shop Road, where the town-owned turbines are located, spoke about the health and quality-of-life impacts they started experiencing after the ﬁ rst turbine was erected last spring.
John J. Ford, who said he lives 2,745 feet from the Notus Clean Energy turbine at Falmouth Technology Park and 3,740 feet from Wind 1 at the wastewater treatment facility, said he is currently trying to soundproof his bedroom in order to sleep at night. With an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, he said his experiences are similar to those in the Nissenbaum study. “My neighbors and myself would be enthralled, if the board of health took a more active role in this,” Mr. Ford said.
Colin P. Murphy, also of Blacksmith Shop Road, said that he has felt all the effects listed in the study “at some point or other.” He invited board members to spend time in the neighborhood for a full 24-hour period in various wind conditions to feel the effects for themselves. station’s series on “the Falmouth . [sic]
Mark J. Cool, a resident of Fire Tower Road, asked the board to take a proactive approach by approaching state authorities for help and working with other town committees to address the residents grievances. “At the very least, acknowledge that something is going on in our neighborhood. It’s an enormous problem for everybody,” he said.
Chairman Gail A. Harkness said it was clear that residents are affected, but the turbines are related to the town’s ﬁnances, over which the board of health does not have jurisdiction. Mr. Murphy said that money should not be a concern for the board of health. “Aren’t I worth more than $178,000? I think I’m worth more than that,” he shouted, referring to the town’s estimate of how much money will be saved through wind energy each year.
Mr. Donald said that those savings should be enough to fund a study.
“Why can’t the board take some milk from those ‘cash cows’ to fund an epidemiological study?” he asked.
Dr. Harkness, an epidemiologist by training, suggested approaching the schools of public health at Harvard or Boston University to do a controlled study. “One residential study does not give you the truth. Repeated ﬁndings do not lead to a cause-effect scenario,” she said.
Mr. Cool asked board members whether they had seen the noise complaint log, which Falmouth Wastewater Superintendent Gerald C. Potamis explained is being kept by a private consultant. Dr. Goldstone said that could be helpful, especially if the log featured “controlled vocabulary” that could be used as scientiﬁc data for the sometimes subjective complaints.
Several residents said they had not heard of the log, and had been sending their complaints directly to selectmen or the town manager. Dr. Waterbury suggested posting the log, along with wind turbine data, on the town website so that it would be easily accessible.
Board members questioned whether pending litigation between a group of residents and the town would affect the online log, but they said they would explore the idea, along with the possibility of getting state health authorities to conduct a study in the affected neighborhoods.
The board will follow up on these action items at its next meeting on March 28.
PLANNERS APPROVE TWO MILE SETBACK
SOURCE East Oregonian, www.eastoregonian.com
March 16, 2011
By Clinton Reeder,
The Umatilla County Planning Committee has voted unanimously to send a proposed two-mile setback of wind towers from rural homes and from city urban growth boundaries to the Umatilla County Commissioners for approval.
This guarantees both the cities and the rural homeowners the right to say “no” to wind towers encroaching upon their properties against their will. If they say “no,” then no tower can be built closer than two miles from a home, nor will a wind tower be built closer than two miles from a city’s urban growth boundary.
FLICKER OF HOPE FOR WIND TURBINE VICTIMS
SOURCE: The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk
March 17, 2011
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent,
The misery of shadow flicker, which blights the lives of people living near some wind turbines, could soon be over.
The flickering is caused when rotating turbine blades periodically cast shadows through openings, such as windows.
A report commissioned by the Department for Energy and Climate Change recommended that turbines should be built no closer than 10 rotor diameters from the nearest home.
This means that if the blade had an 80metre (262ft) diameter, it should be at least 800 metres, or half a mile away.
Shadow flicker is worse when the sun is low in the sky in winter, when the wind can also be strong.
Studies cited in the report said that, over the long term, it could cause “a significant nuisance”.
It was also a risk for a small number of people with epilepsy.
Although the report concluded that flicker was not a “significant health risk”, protesters insist the issue can cause headaches and stress–related problems.
Lynn Harlock, who lives almost half a mile from Redtile wind farm in Cambridgeshire, said she was “sick to death” of flicker.
“You cannot sit in any rooms when the sun is setting at certain times of year,” she said.
“It is like flashing strobe lighting. It is quite upsetting not being able to sit in your own home.
“People think you are barmy. They think you are after compensation. But all we want is our home back.”
The report recommended that homes and offices within 500 meters, or a third of a mile, of a turbine should not suffer flicker for more than 30 minutes a day or 30 hours a year.
Developers applying for planning permission where there could be a flicker should put in place measures to stop significant nuisance, it added.
In many cases, problems could be solved by shutting a turbine down for short periods of the year, changing the position slightly or planting vegetation and trees.
The Coalition wants to build up to 6,000 wind turbines onshore over the next 10 years.
Charles Hendry, minister for energy and climate change, welcomed the report. He said new planning laws would ensure turbines were sited where there was plenty of wind rather than near residential areas where they might cause protests. Planning guidance would stick to the “10 diameter rule”.
Lee Moroney, a wind energy expert with the Renewable Energy Foundation, said the rules were not strong enough and wind turbines should not be built within a mile of residential areas.
Birds are not so eagle–eyed after all, according to a study that found that some species crash into wind turbines and power lines because they do not look where they are going.
Professor Graham Martin at the University of Birmingham said large birds of prey and sea birds were particularly vulnerable to crashing into man–made structures. In a study published in the journal Ibis, he suggested the reason was because birds had evolved to look for movement either side and potential prey on the ground rather than straight ahead.
He suggested that wind farms or other structures should have decoys on the ground to try to distract birds, or emit sound to alert them to the danger.