Fairhaven Turbine Victims Get a Slap in the Face

When I first read Sumul Shah’s so-called mitigation plan for preventing the widespread illness his turbines are creating in Fairhaven, I was reminded of something Liana Kanelli said when she was struck in the face by another candidate on national television in Greece. She said “it’s the first time in front of so many witnesses that you see the snake coming out of the egg.”

Shah offered no mitigation plan; it was just a slap in the face to the residents of Little Bay who began feeling ill from his turbines as soon as they went up. Shah and his cohorts on the Select board knew these turbines would make people sick.  They were given a mountain of medical evidence at the wind forums in Fairhaven. They knew this would happen before the turbines even went up.

I’m not sure what the Board of Health expected from him, but it is well known that the only mitigation for turbines is distance. Shah, Bowcock, Murphy, Sylvia and Osuch were all told this repeatedly and in no uncertain terms. They were told these monsters were much too close to people, too close to the Wood School, too close to the Senior Center and too close to homes. There is no mitigation for the sickening effects of infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) emitted by industrial turbines once they are up; no magic button that allows them to spin without spewing their toxic, low frequency venom into unprotected victims nearby.

Instead of mitigation, the Board of Health and residence got treated to a fifteen page tirade of threats and legalese. Psychologists have a term for this tactic. It is called blaming the victim. No wonder Shah was too cowardly to make his comments in person as he promised to do. As I predicted, you do not see Gordon Deane or Tom Sweeney around here anymore, and you will not see Shah anymore after this either. Little Bay residents are now at the mercy of Fairhaven Wind’s corporate lawyers. If Sumul comes to your town to put up some turbines, you now know what to expect.

On top of this slap in the face, Steve Urbon added insult to injury by trying to defend Shah’s utterly irresponsible behavior and unbounded greed with some of the most perverse mental detritus ever displayed in print.  I found it instructive that the Standard-Times even published Urbon’s exercise in willful ignorance. Apparently, the editorial staff knows no shame.

Here is a sample of Urbon’s deep thinking: “There’s infrasound (I know it when I hear it)”. Seriously? We are going to deny basic physics now? If you cannot hear it, it does not exist? It cannot hurt you? Presumably, Urbon does not believe in ultrasound either; despite the fact that it has been used to create medical images since 1942. If not the 21st century, Urbon should at least take a step into the 20th! How about radio waves? They are not audible. Does this skepticism extend to other senses as well? There’s x-rays, I know it when I see it? Ultraviolet radiation? Viruses? I’m relieved to know they cannot hurt me either. Aren’t you? If Urbon cannot make it to the 20th century, perhaps he ought to at least take a step out of the dark ages.

Last December Ditlev Engel, the CEO of Vestas, one of world-leading manufacturers of industrial turbines, complained about new regulations in Denmark against low frequency noise pollution. He wrote, “Why it is that Vestas does not just make changes to the wind turbines so that they produce less noise? The simple answer is that at the moment it is not technically possible to do so ….” Even manufacturers acknowledge that infrasound exists and that large turbines emit large quantities of it. Engel goes on to say that “in future low frequency noise will dictate and increase the distance requirements to neighbours for close to half of the projects that we are already aware of over the next 2 to 3 years.”

Urbon also quotes Shah’s statement that “These turbines, as of now, are fully compliant with state and local laws. Force me to do remediation now and I’ll see you in court.” This statement is laughable, given that Shah’s lawyers recently filed and lost a motion to dismiss the case against him in the state Supreme Court for illegally siting in Little Bay, brought against him by the very abutters for whom he has such contempt. Sumul Shah and his cronies will get their day in court—whether they like it or not. In the meantime, Steve Urbon can look forward to being rightly roasted in the court of public opinion.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA





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