Entries in better plan wisconsin (2)

8/22/11 Turbines cause trouble for another farmer AND more complaints about the noise problem the wind industry says does not exist


Last week Better Plan learned of a dairy farmer named Kevin Ashenbrenner whose farm is in the Shirley Wind project (Town of Glenmore, Brown County WI) From an email to Better Plan:

"He has lost 17 calves and 15 cows since the Shirley turbines started spinning, that's more than he loses in 5 years of farming and breeding. The closest turbine to his house is 9/10 mile away as the crow flies. There are six turbines total around his property. His family is also suffering badly with headaches, anxiety, and insomnia."

He's not alone. This video interview with Kewanee County dairy farmer Scott Srnka describes similar problems after turbines went on line near his farm

Another Wisconsin farmer, Joe Yunk, talks about what happened to his beef cattle after the turbines went on line near the farm that was in his family for generations:

He says "I had beef cattle for about two years prior to the turbines operating and never lost any animals. However, shortly after the turbines began to operate, I had beef cattle become ill and die. I reported this on the WPS hotline and nothing was done. I lost ten animals valued at $5,000 [each] over a two year period and couldn’t afford to continue."

(Source: Read Yunks full testimony to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin HERE)

After turbines in the Blue Sky/Green Field project went on line near the Town of Marshall in Fond Du Lac county, James Vollmer's chickens began to fail. His hatch rate plummeted and there were a high number of unusual deformities in the chicks that did hatch, including missing eyes, crossed beaks and missing leg bones.

Vollmer has been around chickens his whole life. His grandmother and grandfather raised poultry and he says he took to it right away.  He has photograph taken by his grandmother of himself  as a toddler in the chicken house with baby chicks nesting on his back. He says, “I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t around chickens.”

He joined 4-H and by the age of nine he was showing chickens at the county fair.  4-H taught him to be ameticulous record keeper, a habit he has never lost. He’s been documenting all that has happened with his chickens since the wind turbines started up.

How could someone who has raised healthy prize-winning poultry his whole life find himself in a situation where he is unable to keep them alive?

When Better Plan visited Mr. Vollmer in 2010, the chickens were not doing well.

“They shouldn’t be hanging their heads and sitting there like that,” said Vollmer, “They should be going outside and running around.”

Vollmer knew there was trouble when his birds went into a full molt the first winter the turbines were on line.

“Then they pretty much quit laying eggs.”

A full molt in winter is unusual. Birds don’t spontaneously molt in the winter when they need their feathers most to stay warm. And he’d never had a problem with egg production before, but his hatch rate plummeted to 11%  He said, “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Dr. Lynn Knuth, a biologist from Reedsville, has an idea. In 2010 testimony to the Public Service Commission Dr. Knuth says

 "The deformities seen by the farmer are similar to those reported in a study done by the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (Shannon et al, 1994). In this study, fertilized eggs were exposed to different levels and frequencies of whole-body low frequency vibration. The results revealed increased mortality and birth defects caused by the vibration.
 As a biologist, I am concerned. Chick development is used as a model of human embryonic development."


To Better Plan's knowledge, the effect of wind turbine noise on domestic animals has not been specifically studied, but there are studies on the effects of aircraft noise on domestic animals.

A white paper issued by the Engineering and Services Center 
U.S. Air Force, Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior includes this statement:

"Sudden or unfamiliar sound is believed to act as an alarm, activating the sympathetic nervous system. The short-term physiological stress reactions, referred to as "fight-or-flight," are similar for many vertebrate species (Holler 1978).

Various stimuli can produce similar physiological effects. Different stressors have their own unique effects, however, and reactions to stress can vary between species and also among individuals of the same species.

0nly laboratory studies have been able to eliminate these variables and show that noise produces certain physiological effects.

The general pattern of response to stress includes activation of the neural and endocrine systems, causing changes such as increased blood pressure, available glucose, and blood levels of corticosteroids.

The effect of sympathetic activation on circulation also is believed to have an effect on hearing (Holler 1978).

A correlation has been shown to exist between the reaction on the peripheral circulation and the temporary threshold shift caused by noise exposure.

Prolonged exposure to severe stress may exhaust an animal's resources and result in death.


From California

Can chickens provide early warnings of wind turbine health dangers?

SOURCE http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/6999 

By Miriam Raftery

August 21, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Like those proverbial canaries in the coal mine, chickens near wind farms may provide early clues to potential harm to health of humans and animals.  That’s the contention of Hamish Cumming, a farmer battling proposed wind turbines near his home in New Zealand.

He has written a letter to East County Magazine seeking help from people living near wind farms locally (and in other locations) to document cases of shell-less eggs, dead chickens, or other animals that suffer internal hemmorrhaging.

The “humble chicken” is common in rural areas near wind farms and can be easily monitored, Cumming says.   Chickens under stress may produce a soft-shelled or shell-less egg that can’t be laid, killing the chicken. Such incidents have been documented near wind farms, says Cumming, who has also collected examples of livestock and a dog that died from internal hemorrhaging near wind farms.

“There are reports from many wind farm locations that chickens within a 3 km distance from turbines exhibit shell-less eggs during some weather conditions,” he stated. “Some locations have reported shell-less eggs or dead chickens that coincide with residents’ complaints about “noisy nights” from turbines.”

In fact, shell-less eggs are also known as “wind eggs.” According to Broad Leys Publishing, which specializes in books for poultry owners, a yolk-less wind egg may occur in a young pullet, but “wind eggs can also occur in older hens if they are subject to sudden shock.”

Chickens aren’t the only species suffering ill health effects from living near wind farms, Hamish says.

“So far there are several records of dairy cattle in Canada and Australia reducing milk output by as much as 30%,” he wrote.

The Discovery Channel ran a report on massive deaths among bats that suffered lung hemorrhaging when flying near wind turbines: 

Goats in Taiwan, verified by the Taiwanese Department of Agriculture, have reportedly died due to stress-induced conditions within 2 km of turbines.  “I have had reports of high levels of stillborn lambs and calves (up to 10%)…and stillborn horses in Australia and overseas, only after wind farms commenced operations,” he claims.

Wind farms may even be damaging to the family pet, he believes.  “A dog was verified by Werribee Veterinary Hospital as dying from multiple organ fibrosis, believed to be stress-induced—and it was also within 2 km of turbines.”

Animals grazing near wind farms have also exhibited fibrosis, or hemorrhaging of major organs, when butchered, he observed.  He believes this may explain why some native birds abandon habitat and cease breeding close to wind turbines.

That’s of serious concern to Cumming, who has endangered bird species nesting on wetlands at his New Zealand farm.

There have also been claims around the world of human health impacts in some communities near wind farms. Dr. Nina Pierpont, a Johns Hopkins  School of Medicine trained physician and Princeton University PhD, has authored a book titled Wind Turbine Syndrome documenting serious health effects in people living near wind turbines due to low-frequency sound waves: . The wind industry has disputed her findings.

Cumming seeks residents in East County and elsewhere around the world who live within 5 km of wind turbines to create a large data pool.  Participants may already own chickens, or be willing to acquire them for the study.  Cutting open a dead hen will expose the shell-less egg, if that is the cause of death, he said.

He seeks the following data:

1.  How close the nearest turbines are to your chickens or slaughtered animals
2. How many turbines are within 5 km
3. Brand and size of the turbines
4. Name of the wind farm
5. Your country

Data may be sent to Hamish.cumming@bigpond.com

East County Magazine is also interested in hearing about local cases of animal hemmorrhaging, wind eggs, or human health issues from people living near wind farms in San Diego's East County: contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.



SOURCE: The Courier, thecourier.com.au

August 19, 2011


Trevor and Maree Frost say they are under siege in their Leonards Hill home of 30 years because of noise from the Hepburn wind farm.

Mrs Frost, a part-time cleaner at Daylesford District Hospital, said she had suffered extreme sleep deprivation since the two turbines began operating earlier this year.

“I’ve had enough,” Mrs Frost, 57, said this week. “I want something done. I want my life back. That’s all I want.”

Mr Frost, a 65-year-old firewood supplier, said he was not so badly impacted but had witnessed the deterioration of his wife over recent months.

“She makes a lot of mistakes because of a lack of sleep,” he said.

Mrs Frost said the noise varied from a low whoosh to like a jet engine, depending on wind velocity and direction.

She said she was forced to wear earplugs while working outside.

“It’s not acceptable for country life,” she said.

“What we’ve worked for in the last 20 or 30 years, it feels like it’s all been for nothing.

“This is our place. I’ve never had anything that has interrupted my sleep like this, even when you’ve lost someone in your family. The stress is there all the time.”

And the couple say their daughter, Jenna, 22, was forced to move away from home because of noise from the turbines, about 520 metres from their house.

“She couldn’t hack it,” Mr Frost said. The situation is complex for the tightly-knit Leonards Hill and Korweinguboora communities around the wind farm.

The turbines are located on land owned by Mr Frost’s cousin, Ron Liversidge. The two men haven’t spoken in recent months.

Mr Frost said he and his wife had made an official complaint to Hepburn Wind and were keeping a diary of the noise impact.

8/19/11 Breaking it down in Indiana: wind info presentation draws hundreds AND Sleeplessness, high blood pressure, earaches and other delights AND Another doctor speaks out about the problem the wind industry says does not exist

From Indiana


Between 300 and 400 people filled the Culver Elementary School gymnasium Saturday morning for what was billed as an informational meeting sponsored by Concerned Property Owners of Southern Marshall County, Indiana.

The topic of the day has become a hot one in recent weeks and months in the area: the proposed placement of more than 60 400-plus foot wind turbines across several thousand acres in parts of Marshall and Fulton Counties by Florida based energy company Nextera.

Three presenters detailed concerns raised by some in the area over the project, which was formally denounced by Culver's Parks and Recreation board recently.

Lake Maxinkuckee resident Mark Levett, who added he grew up in the Plymouth area, opened the event by noting the intent was "to represent facts and not get too emotional." He showed a map of the proposed area of some 17,000 acres and explained Nextera is owned by Florida Power and Light, "the largest operator of wind turbines in the U.S."

Levett also described the blades for each turbine as stretching from one end of the gymnasium to the other, and the towers as 45 stories high.

"They're visible for 10 miles," he said. "That's basically (comparable to skyscrapers in) downtown Indianapolis."

Levett said the turbines do not reduce power rates and while they "have a lot of green features...you don't have them unless they're subsidized.

"The average statistic is you need about 30 percent subsidies to make wind turbines viable. The industry has been around for 30 years and you still need a 30 percent subsidy."

He also pointed out two European countries are moving wind turbines offshore to avoid some of the complications they cause near human and animal residences.

"Reported symptoms (of those living near existing turbines) include headaches, blurred vision, nausea sleeplessness, ringing and buzzing in your ears, dizziness vertigo, memory and concentration problems, and depression. For every article that says there are no health effects, there's one that says there are."

Levett said Marshall County's present ordinances call for turbines to be placed 1,000 feet from homes, while he said doctors nationwide are recommending a distance of one and a half miles for safety. The impact on livestock from voltage surrounding the towers has also been controversial, he added, as has bird and bat kills by the blades, though he acknowledged the question of "how many is too many (killed)" is up for debate.

"There's no controversy about this," Levett said. "If you're in sight of a turbine, it causes you to lose land value -- six to 30 percent."

Prior to the meeting, as audience members filed in, a Youtube station video showing "shadow flicker" effects inside and outside a home near an existing turbine was shown in rotation on the gymnasium's screen.

Levett also showed photos taken at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and nearby Lake Winnebago, where dozens of turbines were clearly visible.

"Those turbines are eight miles away," he said of the photos. He referenced a full-page advertisement published by Nextera in the August 11 Culver Citizen, which noted the company is moving its study area three miles to the east (further away from Lake Maxinkuckee). The move would still leave the turbines highly visible on the Lake Maxinkuckee skyline, according to Levett, who again referred to the Wisconsin photos as examples.

"This will be our new view from the lake," he said. "Get informed -- it's a big decision for Marshall County."

Steve Snyder, an attorney engaged by the event's sponsoring organization, detailed the county's procedures regarding the project, explaining the decision to accept or reject Nextera's proposal will ultimately be made by the Marshall County Board of Zoning Appeals, which he said is required by its own ordinances and state law to consider several factors in its determination.

First, Snyder explained, the project "can't be injurious to the public's health, safety, and welfare."

It must meet development standards in the Marshall County zoning ordinances.

It must not permanently injure property or uses in the vicinity, "which means," he added, "will it reduce property values?

I would suggest the evidence is conclusive that you will see a drop on property values when your property is in visibility of one of these things."

Lastly, the project must be consistent with Marshall County's comprehensive plan, which Snyder said does not anticipate wind farms, and so isn't a serious consideration.

The BZA, he noted, must consider "every aspect of a project at a public hearing," which will take place after an application has been filed, which has not yet occurred in this case.

He emphasized counter-evidence to that presented by the petitioner -- in this case Nextera -- should be presented in that hearing, though Nextera "has the burden of proving those four elements (required for the project's approval) I just discussed."

Setbacks from homes, said Snyder, are one factor to be considered.

"If somebody puts a tower up and you own a building site within a thousand feet,” he said, “you're prevented from building on your own land."

Other factors include security and noise, which is limited here to 55 decibels. Further, he said, a decommissioning plan is required for the project to prevent abandoned wind farms as exist in some parts of the country.

"Essentially you're looking at a minimum of one public hearing at which five members of the county commission will hear from Nextera."

Rounding out Saturday’s program was a detailed presentation from Roger McEowen, a professor in Agricultural Law at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he is also the Director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation.

McEowen encouraged the audience to read up on the details of his presentation as well as legal issues for landowners potentially negotiating a lease with wind companies, on the Center's website at www.calt.iastate.edu [3].

He primarily focused on the benefits and drawbacks on wind energy nationally and globally. Currently, he said, wind generates about one percent of the United States' power needs, though some have proposed that by 2020, six percent will be wind-derived.

"However," he added, "the U.S. Energy Administration's annual energy outlook for 2006 concluded that by 2030, wind power would supply no more than 1.2 percent of U.S. energy if current incentives and subsidies stay in place."

McEowen emphasized subsidies are driving the wind energy industry today, and questioned whether -- in light of present budgetary woes on the federal level -- those subsidies will hold out much longer.

Further, states like Iowa, California, Minnesota, Texas, and Kansas, some of the top wind energy production states at present, differ from Indiana in that each has large amounts of open space away from people, he said.

On a map McEowen showed from the U.S. Department of Energy depicting most and least viable locations to place wind farms, some parts of Indiana were rated "fair" for placement, but the local area designated for placement was blank, ranking it of dubious viability.

When asked why a company would choose to build here under such conditions, McEowen noted Marshall County has "good access to the (energy distribution grid)."

He also suggested the company will profit because of subsidies offered per kilowatt hour for wind generated.
McEowen described motives for the current push for wind energy development nationally, including improvements in the industry's technology, high fuel prices, mandates in 29 states requiring certain amounts of generated energy to be renewable, difficulty in launching new coal-fired power projects, and financial viability of wind projects due to tax credits and other subsidies.

He refuted the claim that wind energy makes the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. Petroleum, he said, only generates eight tenths of one percent of American electrical power. Instead, most domestic electricity comes from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.

The wind industry wouldn't exist, McEowen said, without federal incentives, and the income tax credit per kilowatt hour for electricity produced by a qualified wind facility is 2.2 cents.

Many states also subsidize wind energy, he said, alongside reductions or exemptions from state or local property sales and other taxes.

Some states, such as Wyoming, McEowen noted, are taxing wind companies due to the full "social cost" of wind farms to taxpayers, ranging from road construction and repair to police and fire protection related to the farms.

While wind farms do create jobs, McEowen added, since most jobs are due to government subsidies, the net effect is simply a shift from non-subsidized labor to subsidized, rather than creation of genuinely "new" jobs.

"When Spain reduced its alternative energy subsidies," he said, "thousands of jobs were lost."

Also discussed was whether industrial wind farms constitute "the next generation of nuisance lawsuits."

McEowen detailed possible legal claims from neighbors of wind turbine-hosting land, ranging from ice throws when blades -- which can spin at more than 150 miles per hour -- ice up, to malfunction or lightning strike-rooted fires, interference with radio or TV signals, to aforementioned health impacts on adjacent landowners.

He cited several studies on the health effects of the turbines.

Most courts, he emphasized will only recognize nuisance claims after the towers have been installed, rather than in an anticipatory manner. Instead, it was noted the local legislative process is the best manner to address concerns before wind farm placement.

Property values have been shown to be negatively impacted by proximity to the turbines in some studies, McEowen said, by 10 to 30 percent.

"All this is related to how close these are to your home or business," he added. "Does this part of the country have enough open space to get these away from people?"

Among topics discussed in a question and answer session near the close of the program included potential conflict of interest for any members of the county's BZA, something Snyder said is required to be disclosed by county and state statute.

"Typically, (conflict of interest) means there's financial benefit flowing to one who votes that could affect his decision," he added.

Also discussed was the effect of the farms on Doppler radar for weather predictions. One group member said a wind farm near Lafayette, Indiana, causes the appearance of a major storm to be constant on radar-based weather maps, creating "trouble predicting tornadoes."

From Australia


SOURCE The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au

August 19 2011


Shop owner Jan Perry said yesterday she had been seeing a Ballarat doctor for sleep problems following the activation of turbines.

Ms Perry, 57, said her doctor was “surprised and shocked” that she also had high blood pressure.


A third Leonards Hill resident has gone public about alleged health problems caused by living near Hepburn wind farm.

Shop owner Jan Perry said yesterday she had been seeing a Ballarat doctor for sleep problems following the activation of turbines.

Ms Perry, 57, said her doctor was “surprised and shocked” that she also had high blood pressure.

“I’ve always had normal blood pressure and had it taken back in May and it was still normal,” Ms Perry said. “But my doctor took it again on Tuesday and it was up.”

Ms Perry said she had constant earache since the turbines started.

Ms Perry is one of at least two Leonards Hill residents who have made formal complaints to the Environmental Protection Authority about turbine noise.

She said the shire of Hepburn had failed in its duty of care to residents.

“Hepburn Wind and the shire have ruined our lives,” she said. “We can’t sell, we can’t move.”

But another Leonards Hill resident spoke highly of the turbines.

Dianne Watson, 56, a pensioner, rents a cottage with her husband from turbine landholder Ron Liversidge.

“We’re down the hill, below the turbines, and you can’t hear them at all,” Mrs Watson said.

Mayor Rod May said he hadn’t received any correspondence “of late” about problems associated with the wind farm.

“The shire probably needs to be convinced of the causal link between the wind turbines and the syndromes that are being presented,” he said.

Second story:


SOURCE The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au

August 19 2011


“Patients present with a complex array of symptoms. You hear it once, then a second person comes along with something similar. By the third or fourth person, you’re starting to think there’s something here.

A Ballarat doctor yesterday joined the wind turbine debate, comparing the alleged link between health problems associated with turbines to cigarette smoking’s connection to cancer back in the 1950s.

Sleep physician Dr Wayne Spring said he had been treating patients from Waubra and Leonards Hill and he supported a senate inquiry call for a formal health study.

“Research needs to be done into the whole concept of wind farms,” Dr Spring said yesterday. “It’s like cigarettes in the 50s; people didn’t believe they caused lung cancer and now we’ve got people living near turbines coming in early with all sorts of conditions. We’ve got to acknowledge the facts.

“Some of these people are called hysterics or it’s psychosomatic or they’re labelled as jumping on the bandwagon. People in industry and government dismiss these people but this is an important issue.”

Dr Spring’s comments follow those this week of Daylesford doctor Andja Mitric-Andjic.

Dr Mitric-Andjic said she had been treating Leonards Hill residents for problems associated with sleep disturbance since turbines began operating in the area earlier this year.

Hepburn Wind chairman Simon Holmes a Court said much of the anxiety from residents living near turbines was created by “misinformation spread by anti-wind activists”.

But Dr Spring said the problem was anecdotal evidence was not regarded as scientific.

“We do not have evidence,” he said. “I can’t be dogmatic but we do not have evidence to refute there is a problem.

“Patients present with a complex array of symptoms. You hear it once, then a second person comes along with something similar. By the third or fourth person, you’re starting to think there’s something here.

“Bad sleep is bad for you, regardless of whether it’s caused by noise or anxiety about a situation.”