Entries in Wisconsin (8)
WIND FARM OPPONENTS SEEK COUNTY SUPPORT
SOURCE: Pierce County Herald www.piercecountyherald.com
July 12, 2012
The St. Croix Health and Human Services Board will look into health concerns raised by residents of the Town of Forest related to a proposed wind farm in that community.
For the second time in several months, a group of Forest Township residents filled the board room at the Health and Human Services building in New Richmond, Wis. to ask for help.
The HHS Board had previously agreed to send a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services asking for additional study of the possible health impacts of wind energy projects.
Opponents of the Highland Wind Farm project in Forest Township, proposed by Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC, say that people living near existing wind farms have suffered varying health impacts ranging from headaches, sleep deprivation and hearing loss.
In a response from Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades, the state is relying on three previous studies on wind farms. All of those studies indicate that the impact on a person’s health is non-existent if proper setbacks are followed, Rhoades wrote.
Wendy Kramer, public health officer for St. Croix County, admitted there is a great deal of controversy related to the health impact of wind turbines near homes.
Forest resident Brenda Salseg said state rules require a minimum 1,250-foot setback from existing homes. At least one industry recommendation calls for a minimum of a 1,640-foot setback from homes, she reported.
If the 41 Forest turbines are allowed to be constructed, Salseg said, it’s likely that some residents will have turbines too close to their home and their family’s health will be in jeopardy.
“This is serious stuff,” she said. “This could become a health emergency in St. Croix County.”
Salseg said she also expects more wind farm proposals in the future, which will have an impact on other parts of the county.
HHS Board Chairman Fred Horne said he will distribute the information that Forest residents are circulating concerning possible health effects and the board will discuss any future action at its meeting in August.
If the group chooses, Horne said, county officials could present testimony about health concerns as part of the upcoming Public Utilities Commission hearings in October.
The Wisconsin PUC will make the final determination about whether the Highland Wind farm will move forward. The Forest project is greater than 100 kilowatts in size, making the state agency the one with final say in the matter.
The Highland project was smaller than 100 kilowatts when it was first proposed, but local opponents worked hard to recall Forest Town Board members who were supportive of the project. The new town board eventually rescinded the required approvals, but then developers increased the size of the project to bypass the local approval process.
WIND TURBINE OPPOSITION MOUNTS; BROWN COUNTY FAMILY TELLS OF DAUGHTER'S HEATH PROBLEMS
Written by Hannah O’Brien
Source: Gannett Wisconsin Media www.postcrescent.com
July 8, 2012
The Ashleys say their daughter Alyssa’s health problems are related to the Shirley Wind Project wind turbines that were built near their home in late 2010, and the only way to stop the headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation was to move away from turbines.
MORRISON — Sue and Darryl Ashley moved their family out of their Glenmore home last summer and are now working to pay mortgages on two houses so their 16-year-old daughter can find relief from constant headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation.
The Ashleys say their daughter Alyssa’s health problems are related to the Shirley Wind Project wind turbines that were built near their home in late 2010, and the only way to stop the headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation was to move away from turbines.
“After staying away from my home for a week and a half, my symptoms started to subside,” Alyssa said, adding that the health problems caused her to struggle with school work. “I could sleep again and my headaches were lessening. The longer I was away, the better I felt.”
Because of health problems experienced by families like the Ashleys, state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, is pressuring the Public Service Commission to change its rules for the construction of wind turbines.
“This really is about our government not protecting our citizens,” Lasee said Sunday during a news conference at Way-Morr County Park in Morrison, about five miles from wind turbines in Glenmore.
Lasee on Wednesday will present multiple published reports that cite the dangers of wind turbines to each of the members of the Public Service Commission, which is responsible for regulating the rates and safety of electric, natural gas and water utilities. He hopes the commission will suspend the current rules for wind turbines, and that a new commission will be created to write new rules.
The Public Service Commission could not be reached Sunday for comment.
The commission’s Wind Siting Council in 2010 released rules for wind turbines and said there was insufficient proof of negative health effects from wind turbines to support stricter rules.
“The council has concluded that the scientific evidence does not support a conclusion that wind turbines cause adverse health outcomes,” according to the council’s final recommendations to the Public Service Commission, which were released in August 2010.
Dr. Herb Coussons, who also spoke during Sunday’s news conference, said health effects of the audible noise from wind turbines can include sleep deprivation, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. Wind turbines also can be responsible for stray voltage and groundwater contamination, he said.
“The wind mill is on and off, on and off, on and off and unrelenting,” he said. “The solution though is very, very simple. Puth them where there aren’t people.”
Lasee hopes new rules will be implemented to prevent wind turbines from being built within a mile of residents’ homes, and that property owners’ consent must be given before turbines can be built nearby. The current rules state wind turbines must be 850 feet away from homes, Lasee said.
“I think they’re too close to people’s homes,” Lasee said, adding that Brown County is too densely populated for wind turbines.
“The Ashleys are not the only family who moved out of their homes,” he said.
The Ashleys last year bought a second home, but still have to pay a mortgage on their Glenmore home, “a house that we can’t live in,” Alyssa said.
While the Ashley’s’ new home helps keep Alyssa’s symptoms at bay, moving away has not cured her health problems, she said.
“Last week, when I traveled to Tennessee for a youth rally, the bus drove through large wind farms and I immediately experienced ear pressure and eventually pain, even though I hadn’t been exposed to turbines in months,” she said, adding that she wondered “if this damage and sensitivity would ever leave.”
BROWN COUNTY WIND TURBINE BATTLE
By Deandra Corinthios
Source: WGBA-TV /NBC26 / www.nbc26.com
July 8 2012
GLENMORE, WI –A battle over the effects of wind energy are blowing into Brown County again. Several families who live near the turbines believe it is causing them health problems.
State Senator Fank lasee says he’s taking their concerns to the capitol. Senator Lasee wants the rules for wind turbine placement changed, he wants the turbines farther away from people’s homes.
Several families in the Glenmore-Shirley area say they have been forced to abandon their homes to keep their families safe.
Darrel Cappelle uprooted his wife and two young children from their home a year and a half ago after he says wind turbines made them sick.
“We’re about 7 miles way from the turbines now and within a week sleep patterns returned, my wife is feeling much better my son seems to be doing better,” said Cappelle.
Cappelle says the humming and flicker shadow of the turbines kept them up at night, gave his wife anxiety attacks and their kids suffered from ear infections.
“With the refrigerator running or washing machine going you could just hear this constant buzzing,” said Sarah Cappelle.
Senator Frank Lasee will present a stack of reports on the negative impacts of wind turbines to the agency that oversees wind energy in Wisconsin, the Public Service Commission.
Governor Scott Walker proposed a 1,850 foot set-back but Senator Lasee says that’s not enough. He wants the turbines at least a mile away from homes.
“It is my hope the PSC will look favorably upon my request to suspend the current rules, so that the projects being proposed will not move forward, and reconvene a new wind siting council that will give us better setback rules,” said Lasee.
The issue was brought to a vote back in May but the senator was one vote short of getting the rules changed. He hopes this time will be different for the sake of families like the Cappelles.
“Our hope is that eventually we can move back home,” said Darrel Cappelle.
NBC26 tried calling Duke Energy, the company that owns the Shirley windpower project about Senator Lasee’s plans but they haven’t returned our calls yet. The Senator will be making his case to the PSC on Wednesday.
3/10/12 Two reasons wind developer are happy: 1: Now law in Wisconsin : Industrial scale wind turbines over 40 stories tall can be sited just 1250 feet -- or less than 500 steps----from your door. What's that like? AND 2: We kill eagles, and the federal government lets us because we're wind developers!
HEALTH WOES FORCE FAMILY TO MOVE AWAY FROM TURBINES
SOURCE The Cap Times, host.madison.com
March 8, 2012
On May 8, 2011, I left my home in Glenmore due to many health problems that are a result from the Shirley wind project built at the end of 2010. Inside my home, I was able to detect when the turbines were turning on and off by the uncharacteristic sensation in my ears. In early 2011, I started noticing extreme headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation, all three things that had been either a rarity for me, or nonexistent. This caused me to struggle especially with my high school work. After staying away from my home for a week and a half, my symptoms started to subside. The longer I was away, the better I felt.
Due to these health issues, I spent all summer living in a camper with my family away from the turbines, only returning to the Shirley area when necessary. It would take me around three days after being in the area for my ears to drain and for pressure to release from my head. At the end of August, my family reluctantly purchased another small house away from the wind turbines, leaving us paying two mortgages. Through no fault of our own, this has put a financial burden on my family.
I have not been in the Shirley area since Nov. 19 and I do not experience headaches anymore and I can sleep soundly. My ears, however, are still sensitive to the cold and loud noises and they hurt with every cold I get. I wonder if this damage to my ears will ever go away.
The magnitude of this issue is of utmost importance to me and many other citizens living near the Shirley industrial wind turbines.
WINDMILLS VS. BIRDS
By Robert Bryce,
SOURCE The Wall Street Journal, wsj.com
March 7, 2012
For years, the wind energy industry has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory birds. It’s not an official license, mind you.
But as the bird carcasses pile up—two more dead golden eagles were recently found at the Pine Tree wind project in Southern California’s Kern County, bringing the number of eagle carcasses at that site to eight—the wind industry’s unofficial license to kill wildlife is finally getting some serious scrutiny.
Some 77 organizations—led by the American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Endangered Species Coalition and numerous chapters of the Audubon Society—are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to toughen the rules for the siting, permitting and operation of large-scale wind projects.
It’s about time. Over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle Protection Act.
But the Obama administration—like the Bush administration before it—has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines. A violation of either law can result in a fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for two years.
The renewed focus on bird kills is coming at a bad time for the wind industry, which is being hammered by low natural-gas prices and a Congress unwilling to extend the 2.2 cents per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit that has fueled the industry’s growth in recent years.
Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.
A pernicious double standard is at work here. And it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He told me, “It’s absolutely clear that there’s been a mandate from the top” echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.
Mr. Glitzenstein comes to this issue from the left. Before forming his own law firm, he worked for Public Citizen, an organization created by Ralph Nader. When it comes to wind energy, he says, “Many environmental groups have been claiming that too few people are paying attention to the science of climate change, but some of those same groups are ignoring the science that shows wind energy’s negative impacts on bird and bat populations.”
That willful ignorance may be ending. The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife recently filed a lawsuit against officials in Kern County, Calif., in an effort to block the construction of two proposed wind projects—North Sky River and Jawbone—due to concerns about their impact on local bird populations. The groups oppose the projects because of their proximity to the deadly Pine Tree facility, which the Fish and Wildlife Service believes is killing 1,595 birds, or about 12 birds per megawatt of installed capacity, per year.
The only time a public entity has pressured the wind industry for killing birds occurred in 2010, when California brokered a $2.5 million settlement with NextEra Energy Resources for bird kills at Altamont. The lawyer on that case: former attorney general and current Gov. Jerry Brown, who’s now pushing the state to get 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
Bats are getting whacked, too. The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that wind turbines killed more than 10,000 bats in the state in 2010.
Despite the toll that wind turbines are taking on wildlife, the wind industry wants to keep its get-out-of-jail-free card. Last May, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed new guidelines for wind-turbine installations. But the American Wind Energy Association quickly panned the proposed rules as “unworkable.”
Given that billions of dollars are at stake, the wind industry’s objections don’t surprise Mr. Glitzenstein. And while the lawyer wants more thorough environmental review of proposed wind projects, what he’s really hoping for is a good federal prosecution. So far, he says, the Interior Department has been telling the wind industry: “‘No matter what you do, you need not worry about being prosecuted.’ To me, that’s appalling public policy.”
SIGN THEFTS IN TOWN OF FOREST LEAVE SOME RESIDENTS UNERVED
SOURCE: New Richmond News, www.newrichmond-news.com
March 1, 2012
The Town of Forest has been the target for a 102 megawatt wind turbine project that will be comprised of 41 500-foot towers.
Local residents have diligently fought against the project for over a year and a half, even to the point of recalling the all the members of the town board prior to February 2011.
The project is up for approval by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and is supported by the developer, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC, host land owners and various green lobbyist organizations.
The residents opposed to the project formed the Forest Voice LLC and continue to fight against it due to the decline in surrounding property values and adverse health effects the turbines would cause. Until now, the opposing sides have interacted mainly in town meetings, letters to the editor, and posting signs in yards – all legal activities.
The climate is beginning to change by recent activities of theft and vandalism to private property by the pro-wind side. Many residents opposed to the project are now afraid on how much this will escalate and what will happen next.
Some town residents who oppose the Highland Wind Farm Project had “No Wind Turbine” signs stolen off their properties overnight Feb. 12th. At least 29 signs were illegally removed and the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department was notified. An investigation is currently underway.
The developer of the proposed project Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC had just announced last week that they were going to drop a $25 million claim against the township in order to create better relations with the Town of Forest. While it is still not known who removed the signs, it was definitely someone that was unhappy with the local opposition to the project.
This is a project that will receive federal subsidies from the Department Of Energy, which of course is (made possible by) our tax dollars. By removing these signs, it is a clear violation of our First Amendment Rights to express our opposition. It is ironic that the various parties supporting it feel it necessary to deny us this right to the point they would illegally trespass on private property to vandalize and steal.
Many of the people that had the signs stolen are now very concerned about the violation of their private property and how far this could escalate.
Over the past year, there have been threats made and reports of unfamiliar vehicles in the township cruising very slowly and observing residences of people known to be in opposition of the wind development.
It is not right that these folks should have to live in fear in their own houses simply because they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC needs to step up to the plate on this one and assist local law enforcement in apprehending the perpetrators if they truly want to improve relations with the Town of Forest.
A $100 reward is also available for information leading to an arrest.
Town of Forest
2/17/12 Sleepless Fond Du Lac County wind project residents suffer and abandon their homes because of wind turbine noise and vibration, Madison lobbyist dismisses their problems and $ings $ame old $ong for his $upper AND More from wind project residents
FOND DU LAC COUNTY RESIDENTS WANT RELIEF FROM WIND FARMS TOO
Source: WFRV, wearegreenbay.com
February 16, 2012
Brown County will be asking for state aid to relocate residents who say they’re becoming ill because of wind turbines. That was decided at a board meeting Wednesday night.
Those residents say they’ve had to leave their homes after getting sick from low frequency noises. Now, the state legislature can either approve or deny the request for funding.
Residents living near an 88 turbine wind farm in Fond du Lac County are hopeful the decision will mean relief is also on the way, or at least a possibility. Many residents are complaining about similar problems. They claim there is constant noise generated from the turbines that keeps them up at night and even builds up pressure, giving them severe headaches.
We’re told several people have moved out of their homes. They hope similar action can be taken to help them.
“It’s about time somebody starts looking into this, finding out what they really do to people,” says resident Joan Brusoe, who lives 1400 ft. from a turbine. Her neighbor, Larry Lamont, is 1100 ft. away from one: “They could mediate some of the problems these things are creating, that would help. I don’t know if there is a total solution.”
We spoke with representatives from RENEW Wisconsin. They are a non-profit group that promotes environmentally sustainable energy policies in our state. They tell Local 5 health concerns are untrue and undocumented.
Director Michael Vickerman says, “Very few people object to wind projects. It’s just an organized group of people who don’t like these developments.”
He calls Brown County’s decision a move to step up pressure on legislators, stopping wind development in Wisconsin.
Next Feature: From Massachusetts
TURBINE CRITICS RIP STATE REPORT
By Patrick Cassidy,
Source Cape Cod Times,www.capecodonline.com
February 17, 2012
BOURNE — One after another, residents from towns across the southeastern part of the state stood up in Bourne High School Thursday night and said they didn’t buy a state-sponsored report that found no direct health effects from the operation of wind turbines.
“Please do not tell us that turbines do not make us sick,” said Neil Anderson, one of several Falmouth residents who spoke at the public hearing on the state report released in January.
Others in the crowd of more than 50 people came from Nantucket, Fairhaven and Duxbury. The majority voiced their disbelief that the report’s authors found that wind turbines did not affect the health of people who live near them.
“I can’t find where you’ve interviewed a single victim of ill health effects or where you’ve interviewed a doctor who treated them,” said Bruce Mandel of Nantucket. “The victims shouldn’t have to prove that they’re sick.”
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell told the audience that state officials have not made up their mind on the question of whether there are health effects from the operation of turbines, such as the two at the Falmouth wastewater treatment facility and a third private turbine built nearby.
“We are glad to be here,” Kimmell said. “We have an open mind and open ears.”
The DEP and the state Department of Public Health commissioned a group of experts last year to study existing scientific literature about the effect of wind turbines on health after dozens of residents living around the Falmouth turbines complained the spinning blades disrupted their sleep, and caused ailments that include high blood pressure, migraine headaches and nausea.
Town officials have restricted the operation of the first turbine installed at the town wastewater treatment facility for the time being. The second turbine there is undergoing a test run to gauge its effect on neighbors.
The seven-member panel commissioned to look at health issues associated with the technology included health professionals and academics from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Thursday’s meeting was the second of three being held across the state to accept comments on the report and what should be done with it. The state will accept written comments until March 19.
The report found that noise from turbines could disrupt sleep and cause annoyance. The report’s authors found that there is evidence “that sleep disruption can adversely affect mood, cognitive functioning, and overall sense of health and well being.”
Despite this, they concluded that there is no evidence that turbines were directly causing health problems.
Several speakers took issue with the authors’ seemingly contradictory line of reasoning.
“How can you have it both ways?” said Todd Drummey of Blacksmith Shop Road in Falmouth. “That’s like saying cigarettes don’t cause health impacts if you don’t smoke them.”
Others in the audience questioned the independence of panel members who co-authored the report, pointing to previous work done by panelists on the subject, including one member who consulted on wind energy projects.
Colin Murphy of Falmouth said that he has to deal with “pounding” in his yard from the turbines near his home.
“There’s definitely annoyance and what does annoyance lead to?” he said. “I would say stress and anxiety.”
He didn’t understand why the authors of the report didn’t come to Falmouth to talk to people who lived near the turbines, Murphy said.
“I don’t understand why there wasn’t a lab section to that study,” he said.
After he puts his kids to bed and closes his eyes at night, he thinks about what the turbines could do to the value of his property, Murphy said.
“When you close your eyes and say your prayers, I hope you really believe that you’re doing the best for the people of Massachusetts,” Murphy told Kimmell and the other state officials at the meeting.
While most of the speakers blasted the report, a small minority praised the state for its work.
Thousands of people die each year from asthma and other diseases caused by the burning of fossil fuels, said Richard Elrick, vice president of Cape and Islands Self Reliance and energy coordinator for the towns of Barnstable and Bourne.
Elrick, who said he was speaking only for himself, said there were thousands of turbines around the world where there were no problems such as those reported in Falmouth.
Everyone has an obligation to do something to try and address the problems associated with climate change, Elrick said.
“Every energy source requires sacrifices of one kind or another,” he said.