Entries in wind farm lawsuit (39)
1/23/11 Maple leaf challange to Big Wind: Three medical doctors agree: there IS a health problem AND Why do people call Big Wind the "8-track tape" of Renewable Energy Choices? Could there be something better?
SUPPORT SENATE BILL 9: WALKER'S WIND SITING REFORM
Better Plan encourages you to take a moment right now to contact Governor Walker's office to thank him for the provisions in Senate Bill 9, (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BILL) which provides for a setback of 1800 feet between wind turbines and property lines. Let him know you support this bill.
CONTACT Governor Scott Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
115 East Capitol
Madison WI 53702
It's also very important that you contact these key Senate committee legislators and urge them to support this bill and vote to move it forward. Every phone call and email to these committee members matters.
Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations.
-Chairman Senator Rich Zipperer (R) Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-9174 Capitol 323 South
-Vice Chair Senator Neal Kedzie (R) Sen.email@example.com
(608) 266-2635 Capitol 313 South
(608) 266-2502 Capitol 409 South
Senator Fred Risser (D) Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org
(608) 266-1627 Capitol 130 South
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D) Sen.email@example.com
(608) 266-6670 Capitol 106 South
And be sure to contact your own legislators and encourage them to support the bill.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
An important official document regarding a landmark wind lawsuit about to take place in Canada has now been made public. (Click here to download) This 'factum- ( statement of facts in a controversy or legal case) includes conclusions from three medical doctors who have studied the issue of industrial scale wind turbine's effect on human health.
From Page 6
Based on the available science Dr. Robert McMurtry has concluded:
a. persons living within close proximity (1.5 to 2 km) of IWTs are experiencing adverse health effects. In many cases these effects are significant or severe;
b. these adverse health effects have a common element, medically referenced as annoyance, which manifests itself in various ways including difficulties with sleep initiation and sleep disturbance, stress and physiological distress.
Stress and sleep deprivation are well known risk factors for increased morbidity including significant
chronic disease such as cardiovascular problems including hypertension and ischemic heart disease;
c. none of the existing regulations or guidelines have been developed based on evidence related to these types of adverse health effects, as this type of evidence has yet to be produced; and
d. there is a need to complete additional research, including at minimum one or more longitudinal epidemiological studies in regard to the foregoing types of adverse health effects in the environments of IWTs.
28. Based on his broad experience in health policy, based on his research, based on his knowledge as a physician addressing many of the same types of adverse health effects, as well as having clinically examined many individuals exposed to IWTs, he has concluded:
a. scientific uncertainty exists regarding impacts to humans from IWTs;
b. no studies conducted to date have been sufficiently rigorous so as to resolve this uncertainty; and
c. in light of this uncertainty, the precautionary principle directs that it be resolved prior to setting regulatory standards and/or proceeding with further development of IWT projects in close proximity to human populations.
From page 9
Dr. Christopher Hanning has also extensively researched the literature on sleep disturbance secondary to noise from industrial wind turbines. His conclusions are as follows:
a. Generally, it is recognized by all responsible health bodies including the World Health Organization (“WHO”) that adequate refreshing sleep is necessary for human health.
Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, sleepiness, impaired cognitive function and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular disease and cancer. Disturbed sleep is, in itself, an adverse health effect.
b. The effect of noise in causing sleep disruption through arousals has been recognized for many years and is acknowledged in the WHO documents.
c. There are sufficient cases and commonality of symptoms to conclude IWTs can and do adversely affect health and sleep. This conclusion is shared by many others.
d. In addition, there are several studies which confirm that sleep disruption occurs at distances considerably greater than 550 meters and at external noise levels considerably less than those permitted by the GEA and Regulation. As well, no reduction in permitted night time noise levels is required contrary to established practice.
e. There is good evidence that the impulsive noise emitted by wind turbines is considerably more annoying than traffic and aircraft noise at equivalent sound levels.
There is some evidence that the impulsive noise characteristic of wind turbines is more likely to disturb sleep than a more constant noise.
The precautionary principle would require that more stringent restriction of wind turbine noise be implemented until safe limits have been established
There is evidence that low frequency noise may have a particularly disturbing effect on sleep. IWTs are known to generate low frequency sound. Safe limits have not been established and the precautionary principle would require that more stringent restriction of wind turbine noise be implemented until safe limits have been established.
31. The Ministry has acknowledged that much of the information relied upon by Dr. Hanning
to inform his conclusions regarding IWTs was known to the Ministry at the time the Regulation
was being considered.
FROM PAGE 10
D. THE EVIDENCE OF DR.MICHAEL NISSENBAUM
32. Dr. Michael Nissenbaum is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School with post-graduate training at McGill University and the University of California. He is licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, Quebec and the State of Maine.
33. He is a specialist in diagnostic imaging, whose work involves developing and utilizing an understanding of the effects of energy deposition, including sound, on human tissues. He is the former Associate Director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging at a major Harvard hospital, a former faculty member (junior) at Harvard University, a Director of the Society of Wind Vigilance and published author.
34. He developed an interest in the health effects of wind turbine projects after becoming aware of complaints related to an industrial wind turbine installation in Mars Hill, Maine. Dr. Nissenbaum performed a simple public health study cataloguing the types and incidences of symptoms among twenty two (22) people living within 1,100 meters of a linear arrangement of 1.5 MW industrial wind turbines. They were compared to a control group of twenty seven (27) people living beyond the area impacted by turbine noise.
35. The design of the study can be termed a ‘controlled cross sectional cohort study’. Its goal was to compare the health changes following the start of turbine operations. The study is important because it is believed to represent the first controlled study of adverse health effects attributed to industrial wind turbines.
36. This pilot study was undertaken as a public health service in order to report findings to the Public Health Subcommittee of the Maine Medical Association. Preliminary results were presented to the Maine Medical Association in March of 2009 and completed in May of 2009.
37. Dr. Nissenbaum has concluded that there is a high probability of significant adverse health effects and consequent high level of concern for those within 1100 meters of a 1.5 MW turbine installation based upon the experience of the subject group of individuals living in Mars Hill Maine. These health concerns include:
a. Sleep disturbances/sleep deprivation and the multiple illnesses that cascade from chronic sleep disturbance. These include cardiovascular diseases mediated by chronically increased levels of stress hormones, weight changes, and metabolic disturbances including the continuum of impaired glucose tolerance up to diabetes.
b. Psychological stresses which can result in additional effects including cardiovascular disease, chronic depression, anger and other psychiatric symptomatologies.
c. Increased headaches.
d. Auditory and vestibular system disturbances.
e. Increased requirement for and use of prescription medication
News story about the document:
Wind power case may cloud industry’s future
January 24, 2010
A panel of Ontario Divisional Court judges will begin hearing a challenge today that, if successful, could throw a wrench into the province’s burgeoning wind power industry.
The case, brought by Ian Hanna, a resident of Prince Edward County, 200 kilometres east of Toronto, argues that regulations in Ontario’s Green Energy Act, governing how far turbines must be from houses, are illegal. If the court agrees, new wind development could come to a standstill.
The case will also be an opportunity to air the views of those who feel wind turbines are unhealthy. Mr. Hanna’s argument is based on the premise that the minimum setback in Ontario – 550 metres – does not take into account the possible negative impacts to human health that turbines may cause.
Essentially, he argues, there is no medical evidence that the setback is safe, and that by publishing its regulations without sufficient proof, the province has breached the “precautionary principle” in its own environmental bill of rights. That principle says the government has to show an activity is safe before it is approved.
Indeed, Mr. Hanna’s court filings say, the government knew there was literature that raises concerns about turbines, and spells out that not enough was known to settle the setback issue.
A court victory, said Mr. Hanna’s lawyer Eric Gillespie, would essentially put a moratorium on building any new wind farms in Ontario. That would be a huge victory for wind farm opponents, who say there need to be far more studies done on health impacts. “If the court determines that [Ontario] has insufficient science to support its decision, then governments, the wind industry and communities will have to look very closely to determine in a more scientific way where industrial wind turbines should be located,” Mr. Gillespie said.
Increasingly, opponents have been protesting the spread of wind turbines, insisting that they cause health problems and calling for more detailed studies before the devices become even more ubiquitous. Both sides have cranked up the rhetoric recently; last week, one anti-wind group complained that a wind farm developer had called it a “group of terrorists.”
To support his client’s case in court, Mr. Gillespie will present evidence from three physicians who say turbine noise and vibration can cause high stress, sleep deprivation and headaches among people who live near them.
The government argues, in a document filed with the court, that the doctors’ conclusions are suspect, and that it reviewed all the literature available on the issue, and held public consultations before creating the guidelines.
It also says that complaints about possible health effects from turbines come from a small number of people, while the government’s role is to try to clean the air for all residents of Ontario by shifting to renewable power.
There is “no conclusive evidence that wind turbine noise has any impact on human health,” the government filing states. Available information suggests a 550-metre setback is adequate, it adds, and that that distance is “clearly conservative,” given the existing studies. It dismisses the data about health problems as “anecdotal hearsay.”
The government also argues that a new environmental review tribunal set up under its Green Energy Act is the right place to air health issues, not the provincial court.
Dianne Saxe, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in environmental issues, said she would be very surprised if Mr. Hanna wins his case. She said he is stretching the precautionary principle beyond what it actually covers. And the government “should have no trouble at all proving that it considered the health concerns of the anti-wind activists, because they were very vocal,” even appearing at legislative committee meetings, she said.
Ms. Saxe thinks it is likely the court will deal only with the narrow legal aspects of the case and not make any substantial ruling on the health effects of wind turbine placement.
TODAY'S EXTRA CREDIT READING RECOMMENDATIONS:
What about those wind industry jobs?
COMMUNITIES FACE PROS AND CONS OF WIND PROJECTS
SOURCE Observer-Dispatch, www.uticaod.com
January 22, 2010
"During the construction phases, dozens of jobs can be created by these towering turbines that have popped up in Fairfield and Norway and are being considered in Litchfield.
But after the project is completed, most of the jobs disappear.
Municipalities considering wind farms are left to decide: Are short-term construction jobs and a few permanent jobs worth it for the other effects of the developments?
“Wind projects can be a significant contributor to economic activity,” said Eric Lantz, a research analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. “But if you live in a moderate-sized town, it’s probably not going to revolutionize your area.” CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING
1/7/11 Calling all wind project residents: Australia wants to hear from you AND Do you hear what I hear? Loud complaints about noise from people who live in wind projects and denials from the wind industry AND How much electricity does it take to run an industrial scale wind turbine? AND Tell it to the Judge: One man's worry becomes a wind developer's nightmare
The purpose of this message is to encourage the international community to actively participate in a full Federal Senate Inquiry into Windfarms. This is a Federal inquiry and it could have a significant impact globally. It includes the social and economic impacts of windfarms and will involve Senators representing all parties in the Australian Parliament.
The Deadline is for submission is February 10, 2011
Comments are welcome on the social and economic impacts of rural wind farms, and in particular:
(a) Any adverse health effects for people living in close proximity to wind farms;
(b) Concerns over the excessive noise and vibrations emitted by wind farms, which are in close proximity to people's homes;
(c) The impact of rural wind farms on property values, employment opportunities and farm income;
(d) The interface between Commonwealth, state and local planning laws as they pertain to wind farms; and
(e) Any other relevant matters.
Why should I make a submission?
It is an unprecedented opportunity to provide evidence and comments to the Senate Inquiry and to support those in Australia , who are at risk from wind energy projects.
International submissions, including submissions from researchers are most welcome.
Submissions can be made on a confidential basis if you wish. Note that Australian citizens are protected Parliamentary Privilege. Senate extension of Parliamentary privilege (guaranteeing confidentiality for those who require it) only extends to residents currently in Australia . Therefore, it will not protect people who wish to give evidence from other countries who are bound by gag agreements.
Let’s support this inquiry and make our submissions. Post on a website or forward this email to others. See suggestions below this message.
How to make a submission
The link to the windfarm Senate Inquiry website is:
For information on how to make a submission, please see the following link:
Submissions are preferred in electronic form submitted online or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word format document. The email must include full postal address and contact details.
Alternatively, written submissions may be sent by mail to:
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
For additional questions in relation to the inquiry, please do not hesitate to contact:
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of the Leader of FAMILY FIRST
Senator Steve Fielding
Ideas for submissions
Topics could include risks to:
- the environment
- animal life including farm animals and pets
- birds and bird habitat
- marine life
- aquatic life
- endangered species
- economic impact
- cost / benefit
- reliability and viability
- electrical pollution
- social impacts to people and the community
Who should submit:
- researchers, academics in all topics
- experts in all topics
- victim impact statements from those who are suffering symptoms
- concerned residents globally on all topics
“It makes me seasick and nauseous,” said Eaton, who carries a cane. “I take medication for it, but it just keeps it slightly balanced so I’m not vomiting all the time, to be honest with you.”
The constant swoosh-swoosh of wind turbines cutting through a downwind gust can be excruciating for Eaton. For others, like Dan Williams, who live nearby just a few miles south of the Columbia River, the sound is more than just annoying — it keeps him up at night, which causes stress.
“It’s like a train that’s neither coming or going, or a plane that’s constantly hovering, or an ocean that’s not breaking or receding,” said Williams, an otherwise healthy middle-aged man. “I will also sometimes get real tight in the chest and feel like I’m having a panic attack.”
The pair recently told their stories at one of three public meetings the state Office of Public Health held in eastern Oregon to assess the possible health effects from wind turbine noise. How and at what distances sound from these giant turbines affects human beings has triggered a brush war in the search for renewable energy, a war that has seen battles from Denmark to New England to the U.S. Midwest — and Oregon.
So far the issue hasn’t hobbled the nation’s push for wind energy, which currently generates about 2.4 percent of the electricity used in the United States. But the noise issue will likely become more salient as the search for available land brings wind turbines closer to tranquil backyards. The Acoustic Ecology Institute, for instance, describes turbine noise issues as “the exception rather than the rule” except in rural areas with neighbors within a half-mile or so.
(Which is one reason some researchers have suggested placing turbines closer to already noisy roads.)
Eastern Oregon’s high desert plains and notorious winds make it an ideal place for wind projects. And while overall turbine installations are down in 2010, Oregon led the nation in the third quarter, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and is fifth in the nation in its cumulative capacity from installed windmills.
On the ranch land above the Eatons’, about 200 miles east of Portland, Caithness Energy is planning one of the largest wind farms in the world: 845-megawatt Shepherd’s Flat. The site is a giant plateau of dry grassland just beyond the Columbia River Gorge, which funnels wind gusts from the west.
Towns, some with just a few hundred residents, are scattered miles apart, and counties are largely strapped. As ranching and farming get tougher each year, wind projects offer opportunities to both governments and individuals, but they also bring drawbacks.
One of those is noise for people who have to live next to them.
Eaton, Williams and two other households along Highway 74 southeast of Arlington have hired lawyers. They want Chicago-based Invenergy LLC, which owns the Willow Creek wind project behind their homes, to compensate them for the noise, which they say exceeds limits set by law. They’re after far more than the typical payment of $3,500 or $5,000 that wind project developers typically pay neighbors that might be affected by noise. They want the company ultimately to buy their homes, which developers have done in some cases.
In northeastern Oregon, where giant windmills marching across the prairie, conflicts such as these are sowing negative opinions about wind energy projects.
In Union County, where Horizon Wind Energy is planning a 300-megawatt project, 52 percent of voters on Nov. 2 rejected the wind farm even though it would bring jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. Opposition in Oregon and across the country is driven mostly by their appearance on the landscape, effects on wildlife — and fears over noise.
The sound that comes off wind turbines can create a little-known side effect — dubbed wind turbine syndrome by researcher Nina Pierpont — that bothers some people up to a mile or more from the source. Pierpont was among the first to say low-frequency noise is the main culprit, although concerns about the noise are growing. Windfall, a documentary exploring the issue, debuted at several film festivals this year.
The wind farm industry has largely denied any ill health effects from wind turbine noise; the British Wind Energy Association, for example, characterizes Pierpont’s research as “work [that] flies in the face of decades of established medical research. … Bad science is not just misleading; it can be damaging and disruptive.”
A panel of experts hired by the U.S. and Canadian wind energy associations last year said the noise from wind turbines is no more harmful to human health than the average annoying sound. Setbacks less than a mile, they determined, are fine. Noise problems reported by neighbors, they said, are psychological.
What exactly might be happening to people like Eaton and Williams raises questions about the way we hear. It also raises a compelling question about public policy and where to draw the line when it comes to noise.
Sense of Perception
Lawmakers have tried to set the bar on noise ever since the first person complained about a nearby train track or an airport flight path.
Researchers, too, have a good sense of what noise does to people. Most people can handle nighttime noise at about 40 decibels, about the same as suburban background noise. At 55 decibels just outside the home, the World Health Organization estimates a “sizable proportion of the population” could experience sleep disruption or irritability, and there’s “evidence the risk of cardiovascular disease increases,” according to an August 2010 report.
But wind turbine noise is somewhat different, with some research suggesting its palpitating swoosh is exceptionally more irritating than other sounds. One reason could be the low-frequency component. Nighttime tolerance levels for wind turbines, therefore, are generally set at 40 or 45 decibels — found at about 1,000 or 1,500 feet away from the average tower — compared to 65 decibels for airport traffic.
Another study showed how attitudes toward wind turbines affected people’s perception of the sound. Researchers in The Netherlands surveyed 725 people living near turbines and found “annoyance was strongly correlated with a negative attitude toward the visual impact of wind turbines on the landscape.
“The study further demonstrates that people who benefit economically from wind turbines have a significantly decreased risk of annoyance, despite exposure to similar sound levels,” according to the paper published last year.
Dennis Wade, another homeowner in Oregon with noise problems, didn’t need a scientific study to observe the obvious. “I don’t know how else to say this,” he told me at the public meeting in Pendleton. “If they’re on the moneymaking end of it, they don’t seem to hear it. They don’t seem to feel it.”
In Arlington, where turbines flank the entire town, few people reported any problem with the noise. Mike Weedman, a Sherman County rancher with 36 turbines on his property, is decidedly on the “moneymaking end of it.” And he doubts people could feel as sick as they say they do from wind turbines.
“People can make themselves sick,” Weedman told me. “And that’s all it is. I’ve been living by them for almost six years, and I don’t even know they’re there except for the lights at night blinking.”
Raising Ear Hairs
A small group of researchers is looking into whether the symptoms of wind turbine noise could be more physical than mental. Leading this area is Alec Salt, who’s been experimenting with the hearing of guinea pigs for about 10 years. The journal Hearing Research in August published Salt’s paper showing that the human ear might have more acute sensitivities to low-frequency sound, like the kind produced by wind turbines, than previously understood.
Salt’s findings could mean that even low-frequency sound, which people can’t hear, could affect them, though more research is needed to say for sure. It could also mean that low-frequency sound has a way of modulating the ear’s ability to hear higher-frequency sounds, which could be one reason wind turbines are more annoying.
“Even when you can’t hear a sound, there are parts of your ear that are responding to it,” Salt said from Washington University in St. Louis. His research essentially found that the outer ear hairs responded to low-frequency sound while the inner hairs did not. “That means sound like wind turbines can affect people or wake them up from sleep or disturb the fluids of the ear, and the levels of sound that cause these things are totally unrelated to what you hear.”
Most government agencies that oversee wind farms don’t consider low-frequency sound when measuring noise levels. But Salt said they most definitely should, adding that based on what he’s learned, it’s insane to site turbines less than 2 kilometers, or about 1.3 miles, from someone’s home.
“The auditory science community has been asleep at the wheel,” he said.
Dr. Robert Dobie, an ear, nose and throat physician and clinical professor at University of California, Davis, doesn’t see it that way. Dobie served on the industry panel that assessed health risks last year. He said the scientific literature is clear about sound’s effect on the ear, and wind turbine noise is no different.
“What debate?” Dobie wrote in an e-mail. “I do not consider it to be a high priority and would not like to see my tax dollars spent on this when there are much more important issues in medical research.”
Combination of Factors
Many government agencies that oversee wind farms allow them up to 1,000 feet from homes. The World Health Organization advises 1,500 feet. But neither measure would do anything to prevent what happened to the Eatons, who live almost a mile from the nearest blades. The wind energy industry, meanwhile, rejects extending this setback to, say, a mile.
If lawmakers imposed 1-mile setbacks in Ontario, Canada, or the U.S. Midwest, wind energy would be nearly impossible, said Erik Nordman, a Grand Valley University assistant professor of biology who led a health assessment by the West Michigan Wind Assessment Project.
Nordman examined scientific studies on sound and human health, concluding that about 1,000 feet on average was sufficient setback for most wind turbines. He also argued that the health benefits from decreased air pollution that wind energy provides outweigh the potential health side effects of the noise.
Geoff Leventhall is a noise and acoustics expert based in the United Kingdom who’s been working for about 40 years with people who complain about low-level noise. Leventhall served on the wind farm industry panel that concluded last year there were no health effects from turbine noise and has been pictured as a wind turbine syndrome denier by some.
“What has been proven is that a person’s response to noise, especially low-level noise, is conditioned by their attitude to the noise source,” Leventhall said.
As for Eaton, he said, “there are a very small number of people with extra sensitivities. He may be one of them. Also it could be what people are expecting to happen. One thing people have been told about wind turbine noise is that it can upset their vestibular systems, which leads to dizziness. Perhaps it’s susceptibility that’s been enhanced by expectation.”
A similar response came from Dobie, who also served on the industry-backed panel.
“At levels far too low to cause hearing loss, any audible sound can, under certain circumstances, be annoying,” Dobie wrote in an e-mail. “Imagine a dripping faucet. Annoyance can also be a stressor that can contribute to illness in vulnerable people, just as other stressors such as job and relationship stress can. If I paint my house bright purple, my neighbor might find that so upsetting that he eventually suffers migraines and high blood pressure. That does not mean that the color purple is toxic.”
Whenever policymakers draw the line on noise, there are going to be a certain percentage of people who may still be harmed. The Federal Aviation Administration assumes 25 percent of people will still be annoyed at the sound of airplanes, despite property setbacks at airports. In the case of wind farms, it may be far fewer.
Try telling that to Mike Eaton, for whom percentages mean nothing.
“If this means we have to move, we have to move,” he said. “What do you do when you live someplace 21 years and you have to move?”
He studied the inner workings of a modern wind tower and pondered whether any net energy is produced.
Let's look at some of the devices inside a wind turbine that consume power.
* Rechargeable batteries -- Large wind turbines contain a number of rechargeable batteries to power the electrical systems when the wind is not blowing. These systems include aircraft lights, brakes, blade control devices and weather instrumentation. If the wind doesn't blow for an extended period, these batteries must be recharged with power off the electrical grid.
* Heaters -- Gearboxes in wind turbines contain fluids that must be kept warm in frigid climates. Turbine blades also have built-in heaters to prevent icing, which the author suggested could consume up to 20 percent of the electricity produced by the turbine.
* Motors -- A common misconception is that the blades of a wind tower sit still when the wind is not blowing. In fact, a tower uses its generator in reverse as a motor to spin the blades slowly. The movement of the blades is almost imperceptible to the naked eye. The blades move to prevent brinelling (grooving) of the bearings on the main shaft. This occurs when bearing components rock back and forth without much movement. Consequently, electricity is taken either from the storage batteries or off the grid to power the blades during these periods.
Wind turbine manufacture's don't report how much electricity is consumed internally or must be purchased externally. The amount is likely to be quite variable because system designs vary by manufacturer. Moreover, there likely are both good and bad economics of operation as turbine sizes increase.
So, is this really an issue to be concerned about?
The editor concluded his article by saying, "We've commissioned so many wind turbines that we will need to build new coal-fired power plants to run them."
The question could be solved easily if tower net metering was available. Net metering monitors the quantity of electrical power flowing in both directions.
Overall, the point is rather moot, though, because the editor failed to realize that wind turbine generators are rated on a net power-producing basis. In other words, each turbine has a nameplate with its power rating listed on it.
What is a more important consideration is the power curve that describes the level of electricity produced at various levels of wind speed. Wind speed is highly variable in each geographic area, so that is a more important factor to consider.
LEGAL CHALLENGE COULD STALL ONTARIO WIND PROJECTS
SOURCE: Toronto Star, www.thestar.com
January 5, 2011
By John Spears, Business Reporter,
One day in the summer of 2008, Ian Hanna went to an open house in Prince Edward County about the possible health effects on wind turbines on people who live near them.
He came away worried.
His worries grew to the point that later this month his lawyer will be in a Toronto courtroom, arguing a case that could put further wind power development in Ontario on hold.
That could put a crimp in Ontario’s just-announced long term energy plan, which forsees a significant expansion of wind-generated electricity.
Hanna is challenging to a provincial regulation that requires large wind turbines to be set back at least 550 metres from any residence.
“There appears to be significant scientific uncertainty about the question of an appropriate setback distance between industrial wind turbines and peoples’ homes,” says Hanna’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie.
That, he says runs against the “precautionary principle.”
“The precautionary principle simply says: Until that uncertainty is resolved, we should not be proceeding with further development.”
Wind opponents say the turbines can cause sleep disorders, hearing problems and a host of associated health effects.
“The fact that the government is setting these things back already more than half a kilometers demonstrates that the government is aware there is a risk,” says Gillespie.
Hanna moved to Prince Edward County from Richmond Hill in 2003 and runs a wine importing business from his home on Big Island, just off the shore.
After he bought his property, a developer proposed a wind project on the island and Hanna started asking questions about the impact on local residents. (The project was ultimately withdrawn because of a nearby military airstrip.)
“It became apparent to me there were a lot of unknowns, and that worried me very much,” he said in an interview.
That Thanksgiving, he started circulating a petition. In his travels, he met Dr. Robert McMurtry, a former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, who also owns property in Prince Edward County.
McMurtry shared Hanna’s concerns and had the professional heft to command attention. McMurtry has given expert evidence on the case, along with two other doctors.
A spokeswoman for Ontario’s environment ministry said the ministry cannot comment on the case because of the imminent court date.
But last May – months after Hanna had filed his challenge – Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Arlene King published a report on wind turbines.
“The scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects,” the report says.
Although the sound may be “annoying,” they are “well below the pressure sound levels at which known health effects occur.”
Hanna is not persuaded. He says he has talked to many people whose health has been ruined by nearby turbines.
“I’ve spent time with people who have suffered unbelievably from living too close to these things,” he said in an interview.
“Their lives have become a living hell. I think maybe sleep deprivation does this to people. They’re in such terrible condition. I could never walk away from it now.”
He figures he needs $250,000 to see the case through, and has about $200,000 now – partly his own money, partly donations. (None of the money, he says, comes from companies competing with wind power producers in the energy market.)
In a written reply to questions, the Canadian Wind Energy Association says Ontario’s 550-metre setback is “clearly among the more stringent setback requirements for wind turbines in North America.”
If Hanna’s action succeeds, it “would increase uncertainty in the wind energy project approval process and potentially have a significant negative impact on the workers and communities currently benefitting and poised to benefit from wind energy development in the province,” the association says.
1/5/11 Tattoo of the day: She REALLY digs wind turbines AND PSC lays welcome mat for wind developers on backs of rural Wisconsin residents AND Document links to the papers presented at the first international symposium on wind turbines and health impact
This new tattoo is only 30% efficient CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE
STRONG GUST FOR WIND FARMS?
A new rule could make it easier to build wind-energy projects in Wisconsin
January 4, 2010
By Craig Reber
A wind-siting rule that took effect in Wisconsin on Jan. 1 could open the door to wind farms in southwest Wisconsin.
The rule provides a path for obtaining a permit to build a wind farm -- as long as the project developers abide by the guidelines established by the state Public Service Commission. If a township or other municipality opts to regulate a wind-energy power system, its ordinances can't be more restrictive than the PSC's rules.
Basically, the PSC's rules trump any local ordinances.
In southwest Wisconsin, the new rule could pave the way for the development of the proposed White Oak wind project by Wind Capital Group that includes parts of Smel-ser, Hazel Green and Paris townships. The project has been on hold for more than two years.
"We believe that passage of the PSC's rule will certainly set the conditions in place that make development of wind facilities much more possible in Wisconsin," said Tom Green, Wind Capital senior manager of project development. "In reviewing the new rule and applying those rules to their plans for White Oak, they will have a better idea moving into the future of the viability of the project."
Ron Brisbois, Grant County Economic Development director, said the new law will allow communities to plan and give wind developers the freedom to create wind-farm strategies.
"That was what everybody was waiting on," Brisbois said of the White Oak project and another in northern Grant County. "This should allow them to move forward to secure financing and implement the design of the full layout of where the turbines will go."
"It's important," said Joe Alt, of rural Cuba City and a participant in the White Oak project, discussing the new rule. "It's definitely going to help get a wind farm going."
The White Oak project has its opponents, and the Smelser Township supervisors enacted a moratorium on wind farms in 2009. Foes said siting has and always will be the main concern of numerous Smelser Township residents. Some sought an 1,800-foot minimum setback requirement to minimize what they call the "noise, safety and health risks" to their families and their houses. Others cited concerns about falling property values because of the size and location of the towers, usually as high as 400 feet.
"We're just sitting in neutral right now," said Smelser Supervisor Arnie Rawson, who voted for the moratorium and who hadn't seen the new wind-siting rule as of Monday afternoon. "We are very open-minded on it, but we have to be careful to weigh in both sides."
Gabe Loeffelholz, Smelser Township chairman and a former state legislator, said there still are residents in favor of the moratorium. He isn't one of them.
"I don't know what lies ahead," Loeffelholz said, "but whether it's ethanol, solar power, or wind turbines as an alternative source of energy, I say go for it."
That's what former Gov. Jim Doyle and state lawmakers did previously. In October 2009, Doyle signed a bill (2009 Wisconsin Act 40) that called for state regulators to come up with statewide rules for wind farms that specified the conditions a local government entity could impose on the installation or use of a wind-energy system. The state Wind Siting Council formulated the rule after numerous public meetings, hearings, discussions and fine-tuning.
Earlier this month, the commission adjusted the requirements on two issues of critical importance to the wind industry: setback distances and compensation to neighboring residents, called a "Good Neighbor" payment.
Initially, the rule did not specify a definite setback distance between turbines and residences neighboring the host property. Now, municipalities cannot establish a setback distance on non-participating residences that is less than 1,250 feet.
Alt said the new rule allows for the owners of non-participating residences within a half-mile of a wind turbine to receive monetary compensation from the wind system owner.
"It's fair to everybody," he said.
If the wind farms move forward, Brisbois said both the participating townships and Grant County will receive revenue. Participating landowners will receive a new source of farm income from the leases on the wind turbines.
"This is an opportunity that not a lot of townships in Wisconsin have," he said. "It's somewhat unique. You can't just plop down a wind farm anywhere. You have to have the wind and the substations."
Author: Society for Wind Vigilance
Abstracts from the international symposium held October 29-31, 2010, Picton, Ontario, Canada, by courtesy of the Society for Wind Vigilance, Ontario. Click on a title to download the complete presentation. Or click here to download them all in a 16-MB zip file.
FRIDAY 7:00-9:30 pm
Session I: No Rules, No Caution, No Accountability
NO GLOBAL STANDARDS
[ view online ]
Abstract: The rapid expansion of the wind energy industry globally has resulted in governmental authorities at different levels responding to opposing pressures to create or modify regulations and planning guidelines for the siting of utility scale wind turbines. Siting guidelines for health, safety, cultural and natural heritage were reviewed and compared. The results indicate wide ranges of siting standards are being adopted. Government authorities have employed a variety of criteria, resulting in significant variation in the spatial separation between wind turbines and sensitive areas as well as the intensity of the development. Separation distances in many jurisdictions are less than those recommended by health professionals suggesting some in the population are at risk. Current trends in government planning and regulations are discussed.
John Harrison, PhD
IT’S PURE PHYSICS
[ view online ]
Abstract: The setback of wind turbines from homes and other sensitive receptors is determined by national and local regulations. These regulations specify a maximum noise level at the receptor and make use of sound propagation models. The models account for spherical spreading of the sound generated by the turbine, refraction of sound by wind speed and temperature gradients, absorption of sound energy by the atmosphere and the ground, and reflection of sound by the ground. In practice, the resulting setbacks result in considerable annoyance, sleep deprivation and consequent health problems for a significant proportion of people living among the turbines. The talk will review deficiencies in the regulations and limitations in the modelling.
Rick James, INCE
HOW WE GOT HERE
[ view online ]
Abstract: What was learned in the 1980′s was forgotten in the 1990′s and set the stage for the Wind Turbine Boom of the 2000′s. But the pillars of the position, that wind turbines are safe for use near people’s homes, are falling. An overview of the key arguments presented by the wind industry’s trade associations and their representatives who support their position will be discussed.
SATURDAY 8:30-10:00 am
Session II: What Clinicians Need to Know
KEY NOTE SPEAKER:
Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD
DEFINING A SYNDROME
[ view online ]
Abstract: Wind Turbine Syndrome. Consider that no government, and certainly no health agency, anywhere on the face of the earth believes in it. Nor does the wind energy industry, which ridicules it as preposterous, telling sufferers they’re hysterical and making up their symptoms. Primary care physicians generally look the other way and plead ignorance or indifference. The media, meanwhile, treats it as an entertaining sideshow. How does one perform credible clinical research in the face of such massive and systematic denial, cover-up, and apathy? Where the research population is often silenced by “confidentiality clauses” or the fear of alienating neighbors and relatives — and potential buyers — should they reveal that their homes are acoustically toxic and, frankly, uninhabitable. Welcome to the past six years of my life. This morning I’m going to explain how I navigated this surreal landscape, employing the instruments of population biology, clinical medicine, and ethnography — along with the services of a first rate guardian angel.
Alec Salt, PhD Cochlear Physiology, MSc, BSc Biology
INFRASOUND: YOUR EARS HEAR IT BUT THEY DON’T TELL YOUR BRAIN
[ view online ]
Abstract: The ear is far more complex than a microphone. It actively amplifies high frequency sounds, so you hear them better, and likely works to actively cancel out infrasonic sounds, so that you don’t hear them. So, it is wrong to regard the ear as insensitive to infrasound. Indeed, measured electrical responses from the ear with infrasound can be larger than those for sounds in the acoustic range and these responses may alter function in a variety of ways. They may also be transmitted to the brain by subconscious pathways that do not represent “hearing”, but affect some people in other ways, such as by causing the sensation of “fullness” or perhaps disturbing sleep. It is therefore physiologically possible that prolonged exposure to the moderate levels of infrasound generated by wind turbines could have detrimental effects on people, mediated by unheard physiological changes in the ear. This work supported by NIDCD/NIH, grant number DC01368, 2005-2010.
SATURDAY 10:30-12:00 am
Session III: Cause and Effect
Arline Bronzaft, BA, MA, PhD
CHILDREN: CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE
[ view online ]
Abstract: Research linking loud sound to hearing loss in youngsters is now widespread, resulting in the issuance of warnings to protect children’s hearing. However, studies attesting to the adverse effects of intrusive sounds and noise on children’s overall health and psychological well-being have not received similar attention. This, despite the fact, that many studies have demonstrated that intrusive noises, e.g., from passing traffic or overhead aircraft, adversely affect children’s cardiovascular system, memory, language development and learning acquisition. While some American schools have received funds to abate noises from intrusive aircraft, many schools still expose children to the noises from passing traffic and overhead aircraft. Additionally, homes and schools expose youngsters to the impacts of interior noises as well. Discussion will center on the harmful effects of noise on children, what has been done to remedy the problem, and what needs to be done further to lessen the impacts of noise, including low-level vibrations.
Christopher Hanning, BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD
THE TORMENT OF SLEEP DISTURBANCE
[ view online ]
Abstract: The most common complaint of those exposed to industrial wind turbine noise (WTN) is sleep disturbance. Many of the other symptoms, fatigue, headache, nausea, memory problems and tiredness are probably secondary to sleep disturbance. Sleep is by the brain and for the brain. It’s principal purpose seems to be the consolidation of memory. Loss of sleep, in the short term, causes daytime sleepiness, fatigue, problems with memory and thought processes and, in the longer term an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. There is now a large body of evidence proving beyond any reasonable doubt that sleep is disturbed and health impaired by wind turbines at distances up to 2km, at noise levels claimed to be safe by the industry.
SATURDAY 12:30-1:30 pm
Session Working Luncheon
A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY
[ view online ]
Abstract: Over the past decade, the global wind sector has experienced phenomenal growth thanks largely to the industry’s ability to portray itself as “green.” But that growth will be difficult to sustain for several reasons: the industry has overstated its ability to deliver meaningful savings with regard to carbon dioxide emissions; it faces a growing backlash from landowners irritated by noise and flicker caused by the turbines as well as from ratepayers who are learning the high costs of “green” energy; and finally, the industry must compete, particularly in the US and Canada, with low natural gas prices for the foreseeable future.
SATURDAY 2:00-3:30 pm
Session IV: Research and Motion
Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD
DELETERIOUS HEALTH EFFECTS ARE UNDENIABLE
[ view online ]
Abstract: In the Real World: Adverse Health Effects Related to Industrial Wind Turbines – Controlled Studies at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine. Following reports of adverse health complaints among residents of Mars Hill, Maine, a pilot study was undertaken to provide information to the Public Health Subcommittee of the Maine Medical Association in the first half of 2009. This represented the world’s first controlled study of adverse health effects related to industrial wind turbines. Adverse effects are real, and significant. The findings from this pilot study will be discussed. Since the pilot study was completed, a larger, more detailed and standardized controlled study has been undertaken at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine, utilizing validated questionnaires. Preliminary findings from these will be presented.
Carl V. Phillips, PhD
THE ABSENCE OF HEALTH STUDIES PROVES NOTHING
[ view online ]
Abstract: The claim that there is no evidence of negative health effects from wind turbines near residences is clearly false since there are ample credible reports of people experiencing problems. Many of these offer compelling case- crossover data, with individuals experiencing changes in symptoms when changing the exposure. But to the extent that we do not have as much data as would be ideal – which is certainly the situation – the problem is the failure to carry out the optimal studies. Obviously the lack of evidence resulting from the lack of studies is not informative. We should demand affirmative evidence about what risk exists, and make decisions that admit and consider whatever is found. Industry should pay for independent research but failing that, creative solutions are called for. I hope to develop a self-administered research tool for collecting case-crossover data that could be used by any interested community.
SATURDAY 4:00-5:30 pm
Session V: The Consequences – Violation of Social Justice
Carmen Krogh, BSc Pharmacy
A GROSS INJUSTICE
[ view online ]
Abstract: “I trusted the wind energy companies.” “I can’t believe the government is doing this to me.” Those experiencing symptoms feel victimized by the very systems that would normally protect them. The lack of social justice hurts deeply. Many families are affected by the industrial wind turbines sited too close to their homes. In some cases Ontario families have abandoned their homes to protect their health. Some have had to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of a buy out of their homes by the wind developer. Their grief is exacerbated by the emotional toll, disturbed living conditions, loss of enjoyment of their homes and property, and financial loss and the negative impact to the health of their families.
Eric K. Gillespie, LLB
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE LAW
[ view online ]
Abstract: The advent of large-scale industrial wind turbine (IWT) projects has brought with it many legal challenges but also opportunities. Families, communities and municipalities are more aware of the risks posed by IWTs. At the same time, legal options are starting to be pursued that may lead to local resolutions of issues, or potentially provincial, national or even international changes. These legal strategies include (i) private litigation brought by individuals, (ii) public interest litigation raising broader issues; (iii) by-laws, resolutions and other steps taken by local government, and (iv) administrative hearings outside of the court system. All of these areas will be reviewed, using Ontario as a case study but with examples of how communities around the world are also responding.
SUNDAY 8:30-10:00 am
Session VI: Social Marketing – Disinformation
Dale Goldhawk, Broadcaster
MEDIA AND PRE-EMPTIVE STEREOTYPING
[ view online ]
Abstract: I believe that advocacy journalism, used sensibly and carefully, backed up by proven facts and presented with passionate conviction, can influence and even change public policy. I am in my 43rd year as a journalist and have seen it happen countless times. And it happens at any stage in a war against policy, dumb laws and stubborn champions of bad ideas. Advocacy journalism was a major triggering factory that stopped a dump site project, even after the hole had been dug, getting ready for the garbage that never came. And this was a project where we were told it was a “done deal” and that nothing could be done to stop it. There are no done deals with projects that are counter to the best interests of people — and that includes wind turbines. Advocacy journalists would do well to remember the prescriptive words of Mohandas Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Ross McKitrick, PhD
COAL KILLS: WHERE ARE THE BODIES?
[ view online ]
Abstract: This presentation will look at the evidence regarding the health effects of coal-fired power generation in Ontario. The Ontario government maintains that the risk is large enough to necessitate shutting down the two major coal-fired generating stations in Southern Ontario and replacing them with, among other things, wind turbine installations. I will explain the nature of the Lambton and Nanticoke generating facilities and the network of thermal power plants in the northeast corridor of which they are a part. I will also explain their air pollution control features and the potential effects on Southern Ontario air quality from eliminating these plants, as estimated in the province’s own cost- benefit analysis. I will then discuss observed air pollution trends in Ontario since the 1960s and show that the claims that current air pollution levels result in thousands of cases of illness and death are not supported in up-to- date, peer-reviewed literature.
Brett Horner, BA, CMA
ANNOYANCE: A CLINICAL MISNOMER?
VOW (VICTIMS OF WIND)
Conclusion: Government Policy for Renewable Energy implementation overrides adverse health concerns. Until 3rd-party human health research is conducted to determine safe setbacks and noise levels from industrial wind turbine facilities, including risks of electrical pollution, further development should cease and existing sites mitigated or decommissioned.
Barbara Ashbee and contributors globally
POLICY AND POLITICAL PROCESS: The Consequences
These comments are a compilation drawn from personal communications and interviews of those suffering ill health from the onset of industrial wind turbine operations. Their frustration and loss of social justice is apparent. Any compassionate member of society cannot help but be moved.
Elizabeth E. Wheatley, PhD
AN INTEGRATIVE CURRICULUM FOR THE WINDS OF CHANGE: Advancing Critical Thinking About the Michigan Wind Rush
[ view online ]
The Global wind industry is colonizing more and more of rural, wild, and coastal America with its expansive fleet of colossal, propeller-style wind turbines. Michigan has emerged as a favored target among wind developers for further deployment of industrial wind zones, given its legislative mandates for ever-increasing production of “renewable” energy, its vast swaths of agricultural land, extensive coastlines, and the absence of statewide health or safety regulations pertaining to wind energy generation. This presentation summarizes a university-level integrative curriculum designed to inspire and encourage undergraduate students’ critical thinking about the implications of wind energy development for Michigan citizens and communities. The curriculum addresses cultural, political and economic forces shaping wind energy development in Michigan, compares various forms of electricity generation methods and their impacts on humans, animals, and ecosystems; and reviews the emerging evidence of adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines in light of sociological theories of reflexive modernization as well as “popular” epidemiological struggles over socially contested environmental disease. The curriculum is a work in progress and is offered in two parts. Each part of the curriculum is offered as one of several themes addressed in two courses I teach: Part I: Social Problems; and Part II: Sociology of Health Care.
Lorrie Gillis, Protocol Administrator, and Carmen Krogh, BScPharm
THE RELATIONSHIP OF INCREASED MOOD ALTERATIONS AND INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES: Implications and Social Justice (WindVOiCe – Wind Vigilance for Ontario Communities)
[ view online ]
Industrial wind turbine projects became operational in rural Ontario, Canada, in 2005. Within a short period of time, residents near the projects reported noticing adverse health effects. By 2008, reports of health problems became more common and had been associated with the advent of Industrial Wind Turbines. In some cases Ontario families have abandoned their homes to protect their health. Government vigilance and long term surveillance programs for industrial wind turbines do not exist in Canada. Volunteers in various affected communities organized and funded an Ontario-based vigilance health survey to capture and document the array of adverse health effects being reported. Reports are now being received from other jurisdictions. Wind Vigilance for Ontario Communities (WindVOiCe) is a community-based self-reporting health survey based on the principles of Health Canada’s Canada Vigilance Program designed to monitor suspected drug reactions. This survey is ongoing. WindVOiCe respondents report altered quality of life. Sleep disturbance is the most common health complaint. Other symptoms include but are not limited to inner ear problems, cardiac concerns, and headaches. Respondents report in the comments section of the survey, anger, frustration, and loss of cognitive functions such as inability to concentrate, ‘foggy thinking’ and short term memory loss. Depression anxiety and stress are common. The symptoms of adverse health effects reported are consistent with other surveys and research conducted by clinicians such as Harry, Pierpont, Nissenbaum. Parents have responded on behalf of their children and indicated adverse reactions such as vomiting, nausea, nose bleeds and headaches. In the comments section of the survey, some respondents describe their emotional toll. They describe disturbed living conditions, loss of enjoyment of their homes and property, and financial loss due to the negative impact to the health of their families which further contributes to increased stress levels. Informal discussions with respondents indicate some family members grieve deeply. These include those who suffer adverse health effects, those who had to abandon their homes, and those who had to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of a buy out of their homes by the wind developer. They feel victimized by the very systems that normally would protect them. The lack of social justice hurts deeply.
THE PROBLEMS WITH ‘NOISE NUMBERS’ FOR WIND FARM NOISE ASSESSMENT
[ view online ]
Conclusions: Personal perception of a sound is investigated through assessment of personal noise sensitivity, personal perception of the characteristics of the sound and observable adverse health effects. Noise includes vibration in any form that can be “felt” by a person. There is, in my opinion and despite the differences in opinion as to cause, considerable agreement between the parties – residents, clinicians and acousticians – as to observable health effects from unwanted sound. There are clear and definable markers for adverse health effects before and after the establishment of a wind farm and clear and agreed health effects due to stress after a wind farm has started operation. It is the mechanism of the physical or mental process from one to the other that is not yet defined or agreed between affected persons, clinicians and psychoacousticians. There has, however, been considerable work recently (May-June 2010) on the possible mechanism between infrasound and adverse health effects.
Christopher Hanning, BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD
WIND TURBINE NOISE, SLEEP AND HEALTH
[ view online ]
Summary: Section 1 sets out my expertise in sleep medicine and physiology, my brief from CFA, the scope of the report and source material. Section 2 reviews the basic physiology of sleep. Noise can disturb sleep by causing awakenings, which are remembered and arousals, which are not recalled but are more likely. Both disrupt sleep making it unrefreshing. Research on the effects of wind turbine noise has concentrated on remembered awakenings and has thus underestimated the effects. Inadequate or poor quality sleep has many health consequences apart from daytime sleepiness and fatigue. These include obesity, poor memory, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly may be at greater risk. Section 3 reviews research on wind turbine noise, sleep disturbance and health. These include the major contributions of van den Berg and Pedersen and the dose-response relationship derived from their data. Also considered are the Salford study and the Hayes McKenzie Partnership study commissioned by the DTI. Recent major reports by WHO and RIVM are reviewed, both of which mandate lower night time noise levels than are permitted by ETSU-R-97. Predicted external turbine noise should not exceed 35dB to avoid disturbance to sleep and 40dB to avoid risks to health. Experience of existing wind farms mandates a setback of at least 1.5km in order to avoid disturbance to sleep. It is concluded that there is compelling evidence that wind turbine noise can and does disturb sleep and impair the health of those living too close and that current guidance is inadequate protection. Section 4 reviews the means of mitigating wind turbine noise to prevent sleep disturbance. It is concluded that external turbine noise levels of less than 35dB(A) or a setback of at least 1.5km of the turbines is necessary to prevent unacceptable levels of sleep disturbance and potential risk to health. Section 5 reviews UK planning guidance and argues that the evidence presented constitute material considerations. Section 6 presents the conclusions of the report. Section 7 lists the documents cited in support of this paper.
SUBMITTED SLIDE SHOW
Author: U.S. Institute of Medicine Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research
It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity. The cumulative long-term effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research concluded that although clinical activities and scientific opportunities in the field are expanding, awareness among the general public and health care professionals is low, given the magnitude of the burden. The available human resources and capacity are insufficient to further develop the science and to diagnose and treat individuals with sleep disorders. Therefore, the current situation necessitates a larger and more interdisciplinary workforce. Traditional scientific and medical disciplines need to be attracted into the somnology and sleep medicine field. Renewed and revitalized commitments to the field from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), academic health centers, private foundations, and professional societies are essential to ensure appropriate public and professional awareness, education and training, basic and clinical research, and patient care. Finally, the fragmentation of research and clinical care currently present in most academic institutions requires the creation of accredited interdisciplinary sleep programs in academic institutions.
- The National Academies
- Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research
- Board on Health Sciences Policy
- Independent Report Reviewers
- Organization of Academic Health Centers
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Sleep Physiology
- 3. Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders
- 4. Functional and Economic Impact of Sleep Loss and Sleep-Related Disorders
- 5. Improving Awareness, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Sleep Disorders
- 6. Ensuring Adequate Diagnosis and Treatment: Access, Capacity, and Technology Development
- 7. Opportunities to Improve Career Development in Somnology
- 8. Bolstering Somnology and Sleep Disorders Research Programs
- 9. Building Sleep Programs in Academic Health Centers
12/5/10 Bats VS Wind Turbines: Don't bet on the bats AND Here comes Windy-Sue: lawsuits against small towns who say no wind developers AND Wind turbine noise, what's the big deal?
PRATTSBURGH RESIDNETS UPDATED ON WIND FARM LAWSUIT
SOURCE: Bath Courier, www.steubencourier.com
December 5 2010
By Mary Perham,
Prattsburgh — An informational meeting Tuesday night on the status of a lawsuit between a wind energy company and the town of Prattsburgh drew sharp lines between a divided town and a divided town board.
Ed Hourihan, the attorney defending the town in the lawsuit filed by wind farm developer Ecogen, told a crowd of 100 residents state Supreme Court Justice Ark has given the two groups time to reach an out-of-court agreement.
He said John Calloway, a representative from Ecogen’s largest shareholder, Pattern Energy, has agreed to talk to representatives from Prattsburgh and the neighboring town of Italy. Italy also is being sued by Ecogen on a related wind farm matter.
Ecogen maintains an agreement reached 3-2 by the outgoing pro-wind Prattsburgh town board in December is binding, despite the fact the new town board rescinded the agreement 4-1 the following January.
The majority of the new board believes the December agreement violates a number of laws, including the right to home rule.
Hourihan said the new board’s action prevented Ecogen from going ahead with its plans to build a 16-turbine wind farm in the town.
He said other court decisions support the new board’s action.
“It’s safe to say had the board not rescinded the settlement you could have turbines in your backyards right now,” Hourihan said.
Preventing the construction didn’t please some residents, who said they had wanted the project to go forward this year.
“You came in and stopped something (a lot of us) wanted,” one woman said.
But the cost of the lawsuit – pegged this year at $49,393 – was the chief concern of the meeting, with some angrily charging other legal costs had been hidden.
Hourihan also privately represented councilmen Chuck Shick and Steve Kula in the fall of 2009, and some residents charged those bills were hidden in the town costs.
However, Hourihan said his bill itemized every action taken on behalf of the town after Jan. 1. Any personal – or town — expenses in 2009 had not been charged to the town, he said.
Hourihan said current town Supervisor Al Wordingham told him the new board was not authorized to pay $35,000 for legal services last year.
“Now, would I like the money? Sure,” Hourihan said. “But I’m not getting it.”
When councilwoman Stacey Bottoni pointed out the town had apparently paid Kula’s and Shick’s final account, they said they would check out the $200 fee, and repay it if a mistake had occurred.
Bottoni, who supports Ecogen, also complained she had been “kept in the dark” about the bills. Hourihan said the information has always been available to here.
But Bottoni said she relied on frequent calls to Ecogen representatives for her information.
“Well, and that concerns me, Stacey,” Hourihan said, adding her contacts with Ecogen seemed to violation of client-attorney confidentiality.”
Other concerns were raised about the proposed talks with Calloway. Prattsburgh officials have suggested the developer use its original 100-site map to find other locations and reduce noise levels.
One resident asked if property owners in those other locations had been contacted to see if they wanted the 400-foot tall turbines on their land.
Kula questioned whether the town government could approach owners, but said it might be possible to form a citizens’ committee.
Bottoni angrily countered Ecogen already has spent millions on the project and doesn’t want to spend more money for new studies.
However, Shick pointed out the basic environmental studies for all the sites have been completed.
Some residents were worried because action on another ruling by Arkhas been put on hold while the parties try to work out a compromise.
Arksupported the town’s request for sworn statements from the previous town board and other officials on the events that led to the December agreement. The deadline for the statements was Nov. 24.
Hourihan said he notified Arkthe sworn statements would be delayed because of the proposed talks.
Hourihan said it would cost the town $25,000 to get the statements – and might be unnecessary if a compromise was reached.
Bottoni told the group the town was trying to prove the town illegally sided with the developer. She said there had been no illegal collusion.
“We wanted it,” she said. “We’ve wanted it for three years.”
WIND MILL NOISE LIMIT STILL UP IN THE AIR
SOURCE: Journal and Courier, www.jconline.com
December 4 2010
By Dorothy Schneider,
As wind energy farms prepare to sprout in Tippecanoe County, some residents are fighting a proposal that would allow for more noise — and they fear nuisance — from the developments.
“This is not just a ‘I can’t stand that mosquito’ kind of noise,” said county resident Julie Peretin. “This is about quality of life.”
Peretin and other concerned neighbors are fighting a move being considered by the Tippecanoe County commissioners that would allow turbine noise to be as loud as 50 decibels any time of day, up from the current 45-decibel limit.
That’s the allowable noise level — about the sound of quiet dishwasher — as measured 25 feet from the dwelling of a non-participating landowner.
A non-participating landowner is one who has not permitted construction of a wind turbine on his or her property and who has not contractually granted rights to a wind farm developer, under the ordinance.
The board was due to vote on the proposal Monday, but the decision is being pushed back to the Dec. 20 meeting while further research is done on the issue. Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said the county is getting additional input from an acoustic consultant out of Chicago.
That extra consideration is one of the steps residents like Peretin have been pushing for.
The commissioners approved an ordinance in August that set the wind turbine noise limit at 45 decibels. Peretin said she and others had wanted the limit set at 35 decibels.
Lobbied for change
After the 45-decibel limit was set in August, representatives of wind energy companies sought the change to 50 decibels. Commissioners said even at 50 decibels the county’s wind ordinance would remain one of the strictest in the state.
Murtaugh hopes the consultant review will help decide if the county’s sound limit is still in an OK range “so we can put this issue to bed.” The commissioner said ordinances often need to be changed after the fact, but he doesn’t expect the county would have to make many substantive changes beyond the ones being considered.
Official plans for Tippecanoe County’s first wind farm were announced in early September.
Carmel-based Performance Services plans to build a 25-turbine wind farm on about 2,500 acres in the northwest part of the county.
In the southwestern part of Tippecanoe County, Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago is planning a wind farm with 133 turbines.
Greg Leuchtmann, development manager for Invenergy’s project, spoke in support of the proposed noise limit changes at last month’s meeting.
According to Purdue’s audiology department, 50 decibels of sound equates to the noise of soft talking, a washing machine, a quiet air conditioner or an electric toothbrush.
But the sound levels are not the only issue in play, according to Carmen Krogh.
Krogh, a board member with The Society for Wind Vigilance in Canada, is helping collect information from people worldwide who’ve reported adverse health impacts from living close to wind turbines.
Krogh is a retired pharmacist who used to work with a group that monitored symptoms and reports after new drugs were released on the market. Now she’s trying to carry that practice into the study of wind energy developments, which she and others believe merit further scrutiny.
“We’re finding the number one issue (being reported) is sleep disturbance,” Krogh said. “If it’s chronic, that can lead to sleep deprivation, and medically it can lead to a lot of other conditions,” such as anxiety, stress and cognitive issues.
Debra Preitkis-Jones, a spokeswoman with the American Wind Energy Association, said wind plants are generally quiet and that developers try to be good neighbors.
And she pointed to a report from the chief medical officer of health in Ontario — where Krogh and others are collecting information — that found no scientific evidence demonstrating a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.
But Krogh said there’s simply too many unknowns. In the absence of human health studies, she said, companies have been relying on computer models to determine proper setbacks and noise levels.
“We would never put out a new drug without figuring out the impact to the human body,” she said. “Our position (on wind turbines) is we really need to pause and conduct the human health studies that correlate.”
Tippecanoe County officials dismissed a request residents made earlier this year to put a moratorium on wind farm developments here.
But Peretin said she’s still optimistic that the county will work with acoustic professionals through this process to make sure the quality of life for residents is protected.
Want to comment?
The Tippecanoe County commissioners will discuss and vote on the wind energy ordinance when they meet at 10 a.m. on Dec. 20.
The board also will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, and it takes public comment at all commissioners meetings.
The meetings are held in the Tippecanoe Room of the County Office Building, 20 N. Third St. in Lafayette.
Some of the symptoms that have been linked to living in close proximity to wind turbines include:
# Sleep disturbance
# Dizziness, vertigo
# Ear pressure or pain
# Memory and concentration deficits
# Irritability, anger
# Fatigue, loss of motivation
Source: Audiology Today
11/11/10 What $18,000 a year will buy you: a family in turmoil and a community torn apart AND What part of Conflict of Interest don't you understand?
WIND FARM BACKERS FACE A LONG, COLD WINTER OF DISCONTENT
SOURCE: WBAY-TV, www.wbay.com
November 10, 2010 By Jeff Alexander,
It could be months before a decision is reached about a controversial plan to build what would be the state’s largest wind farm in southern Brown County.
Tensions are rising in the communities of Morrison, Hollandtown, and Wrightstown. The battle lines are drawn, and have been for a year now, throughout the farm lands.
“The fight is not over in my mind — or in reality. It’s not over,” Jon Morehouse said.
Morehouse leads a group of more than 200 residents opposing a plan by a Chicago-based company to erect 100 wind turbines.
The state’s Public Service Commission and lawmakers will have the final say, but Morehouse says he was told by several lawmakers Wednesday it could be spring before a decision is made.
But that’s not what Roland Klug is hearing. Klug says he’s already receiving money from a contract he signed to have two turbines on his property.
He says a project engineer told him construction will start soon.
“In the winter they’ll start getting the roads in and things, and I hope by next year this time they should be up,” Klug said.
Late Wednesday afternoon Action 2 News received word from the Public Service Commission that it’s still waiting for the wind farm developer, Invenergy, to complete its application for the project. The PSC says Invenergy withdrew its original application.
While Klug stands to make $18,000 a year for the use of his land, it’s coming at a cost. “My own kids don’t talk to me. It’s really hard.”
The wind turbine debate has become so heated and divisive here in southern Brown County, the principal of Morrison Zion Lutheran School says staff recently imposed a moratorium on students discussing the topic during school.
As residents wait for final word, opinions become stronger and wounds grow deeper.
“I think anything can be healed, but it has to be talked about,” Morehouse said.
But even that hasn’t helped so far.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Below, another news story regarding the issue of conflict of interest between members of local government who have the power to push a wind project through and the wind developers who offer them lucrative contracts to help make this happen. This scenario is being played out in communities all over North America, including here in the Badger state.
While creating rules governing the siting of wind turbines, Wisconsin's Public Service Commission had an opportunity to provide language which would protect communities from such conflicts of interest. The Public Service Commission declined to do so.
TEMPERS FLARE AT MEETING IN CAPE VINCENT: OPPONENT OF WIND CLAIMS BOARD ACTED ILLEGALLY
SOURCE: Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com
November 11, 2010
by Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer,
CAPE VINCENT — A Planning Board meeting devolved into physical confrontation between an opponent of industrial wind power projects in the town and Chairman Richard J. Edsall.
At the beginning of the meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Edsall asked for approval of the board’s minutes from a previous meeting.
Hester M. Chase, a community wind project supporter but opponent of the two industrial-scale projects, stood and said the board was not acting legally. The board’s bylaws say public comments “shall be received prior to the conduct of the regular business agenda.”
“We have the right to make comment,” she said. “We’re going to start getting our rights straight.”
The board members turned toward each other and spoke, apparently approving the minutes from Oct. 13. It is unclear whether they also approved minutes from an Oct. 27 meeting with Acciona Wind Energy USA, developer of St. Lawrence Wind Farm. During the Oct. 27 meeting, the board accepted a list of what remained to be done for a complete site plan from the developer.
That meeting was stopped for an hour by wind power opponents protesting action by the board, which has three members who have conflicts of interest with Acciona or BP Alternative Energy, the other wind developer in the town.
Ms. Chase had a different version of the minutes that included the topic of the protest and said the board had proceeded with the meeting while the audience was unaware of its actions.
“They’re so fraudulent that I just felt they should be corrected,” she said after Wednesday’s meeting. “The bylaws permit the public to speak before regular business is conducted and I wanted to correct those minutes.”
Ms. Chase said frustration at having unanswered questions on setbacks on wind farms and what the board will allow the developers to do led to her actions. The Planning Board has decided on rules to govern the approval process that include allowing two public hearings with comments limited to people who live within one-half mile of the project, she said.
“I was just stunned at how cavalierly or arbitrarily they were making things up,” she said. “I had held onto the hope that they were truly going to do right by their community. I see that they seem to be fulfilling loyalty roles to BP and Acciona, I guess.”
On Wednesday night, Mr. Edsall opened a public hearing on a subdivision without addressing Ms. Chase’s concerns.
“Mr. Edsall, you are out of order,” Ms. Chase said.
The public hearing, he said, was for comments on the subdivision only.
“These people have the right to due process,” Mr. Edsall said.
“How can you make decision on anything if the board is corrupt?” asked Michael R. Bell, Cape Vincent.
Mr. Edsall responded, “These people have followed the rules.”
The board held public hearings and voted on two subdivisions. The three members, Mr. Edsall, Andrew R. Binsley and George A. Mingle, did not have maps available to act on a third subdivision.
Mr. Edsall then told wind opponents that if they wanted to talk about wind power development, the earliest the board would hold a meeting on it would be February.
He then asked to adjourn the meeting.
“You cannot do that,” Ms. Chase spoke up. “You are despicable. You approved the minutes, which are totally, totally false.”
She moved toward the dais and began passing papers to the board members.
Mr. Edsall said, “When we have a wind meeting, you can talk about wind.”
Mr. Bell said, “It’s about procedure — this is about procedure.”
Ms. Chase said, “You just lied to the whole community.”
As Mr. Edsall moved off the dais, she stood between the desk and a table. She appeared to bump into him. Mr. Edsall threatened to call the police if she touched him again.
She said he bumped into her.
“Will you get out of my way?” he asked.
She refused, but eventually let him pass. As the board members left, some members of the public berated them for passing the minutes. About a third of the audience consisted of wind power supporters. Some of them told the vocal opponents to back down.