Are we really the only ones who care?

Lately some of us have been asking another question – what has it been like for you to live next door to the turbines? We have been told over and over again that we are the only ones who have  asked that question. Are we really the only ones who care?

Fairhaven Wind and their supporters have managed to convince many people in the area that if you question anything about their wind turbine  project you are a bad person – a turbine foe, an anti-wind activist, a  climate change denier.

All of this labeling is meant to discourage us from asking important questions and supporting our neighbors publicly.

So what are these questions we have asked?

We have asked why Fairhaven Wind would not post a bond to guarantee the  neighbors protection from potential health impacts and property value  loss.

We have asked how many homes are located within 3000 feet of these turbines. (701!)

We have asked to go out at night with the MA DEP when they performed their compliance testing so that we could witness the process and hear how  loud the turbines are in the quiet hours of the night.   We have  asked why the power to the turbines was turned off by the operator  during the testing hours on October 15th and why the MA DEP was unaware  of that.

We have asked why the town and its citizens were not  informed for six months after the turbines were first found out of  compliance in November, 2012.

We have asked why the MA DEP  refuses to enforce their own noise regulations, despite their promise  that the turbines would be shut down if they were found to be out of  compliance.

We have asked why we should continue to support a  project that uses our tax dollars to support a Chinese company using  stolen software that cost Americans their jobs.

It seems very strange to me that we are being called names for asking questions like this.

We are also being criticized for standing up for those of our neighbors  who have been impacted by the turbine noise, the pressure waves, and the inaudible low-frequency sound that the turbines emit.

I am quite proud to stand up for my neighbors – even when that makes other people call me names.

Lately some of us have been asking another question – what has it been like for you to live next door to the turbines?

We have been told over and over again that we are the only ones who have  asked that question. Are we really the only ones who care?

Louise Barteau, Fairhaven, MA

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A Compromise

The turbines are exactly what Mass General Law C111 sec.143 was meant to prevent. The developers and two present members of the Fairhaven Board of Health ignored this law.  They ignore the damage they’ve inflicted. This project has failed and now they want to compromise?

The boss of Palmer Capital and Fairhaven Wind, Gordon Dean and his partners Sumul Shah and Jim Sweeney want a compromise. They have a compromise, shutting the turbines down from only seven PM to seven AM. The neighbors get twelve hours of peace and noise the other twelve. It sounds like the dealer who’s allowed to keep half the pot after being caught playing with a stacked deck and then asks for a bigger split.

Town officials from the beginning compromised their own town. Setbacks were framed around a predetermined location. The previous Select Board Chairman Bowcock and the Boards Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch worked in tandem and under the radar with the developers. They gave them a deal they couldn’t refuse.

According to Gordon Deanne, from an article in the Standard Times on 6/18, the project makes 1.1 million annum and from what Jeff Osuch said in a Standard Times Article on 6/14, residents get about $10 each a year. The Health Board Chairman Peter DeTerra ignored his Board’s legally mandated role. The Town Lawyer defended and continues to defend the developers, recently convincing the Health Board Chair to violate a privacy promise with a mass e-mail survey. People in the neighborhood around these things have had the deck stacked against them from the beginning and now the developers want a better compromise?

The Health Board compromised the law.  The Fairhaven Board of Health is required by the Noisome Trade Act, Mass. General Law Chapter 111, section 143 to ban any trade or employment, which would result in a nuisance, is harmful to person or property or negatively impacts health. If a proposal for such activity is brought forward The Health Board is required by this law to hold public hearings and determine if possible, a proper location. This never happened.  A new Select Board is elected, apologizes, begins to right a wrong and now the developers want to negotiate a compromise?

The truth was compromised. The developers and their friends in town government told neighbors there would be; no noticeable noise, no health issues, property values wouldn’t be impacted. The developers said minimum setbacks weren’t necessary; the turbines were guaranteed by the Chinese manufacture. The news about problems in Falmouth weren’t true or the turbines were different, Fairhaven’s were special guaranteed Sinovel turbines.

There have been over 450 noise complaints, people are unable to sleep, some are made dizzy by the low level sound and suffer headaches, homes have lost value some will be impossible to sell. The five Falmouth Selectmen voted unanimously in February to remove the turbines because of health impacts. Sinovel is being sued for theft of trade secrets so that promised guaranty might be problematic.

This project was compromised from its inception. The turbines are too close. They have been found to be out of compliance by a DEP biased towards wind developers. An independent acoustical engineering firm would find violations far in excess of those found by a state agency with a mandate of 2000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020.

The turbines are exactly what Mass General Law C111 sec.143 was meant to prevent. The developers and two present members of the Fairhaven Board of Health ignored this law.  They ignore the damage they’ve inflicted. This project has failed and now they want to compromise?

A new compromise, after an earlier town government dealt a winning hand to the developers, cheating their own citizens out of the enjoyment of their homes and risking their health? Health & home can’t be compromised. It’s time to pull the plug. Take the stacked deck away and kick Dean, Shah and Sweeney out of town. They can take their two 400 foot Chinese Sinovel turbines with its stolen software with them.

Call that a compromise.

Henry Ferreira, Fairhaven, MA

 

 

 

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Falmouth official gives curious lesson in ethics

I’m not sure where Goldstone learned his ethics from, but in my book this is a direct violation of the principle of “informed consent” which is the basis for all of modern medical ethics since it was first codified in the Nuremburg Code in 1947.

In a recent article in SouthCoast Today by Ariel Wittenberg, Falmouth Board of Health official, Jared Goldstone was quoted as saying “We feel that all of our decisions need to be based on some finding in fact that is scientifically and legally defensible” and then “There certainly is no evidence that the turbines are causing problems or the other way around.”

As usual, Wittenberg made no attempt to question the accuracy of these statements, so allow me. Here is a statement from a real scientist, an expert on the acoustic emissions of industrial wind turbines:

“The modern wind turbine radiates its peak sound power (energy) in the very low frequency (VLF) range, typically between 1 and 10 Hz.”

Since Goldstone is a scientist I don’t need to explain to him that energy in this frequency is called infrasound, or that it is inaudible. The author of this study, N.D. Kelley, goes on to say this:

“The pair of turbine-generated impulses…produce a strongly resonant pressure field in the house of 14 Hz lasting about 1.8 s. Thus the action of the house has been to stretch the initial impulse duration over 100 time….raising the possibility of audible detection inside the home but not necessarily outside.” In simple terms, turbine noise is much more intense indoors.

Kelley goes on to conclude that “annoyance was the result of a coupling of the turbine’s impulsive LF acoustic energy into the structures of some of the surrounding homes.” Perhaps most interesting of all is that this study was funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce and published in 1987—twenty years before the turbines went up in Falmouth.

Goldstone went on to say that a potentially conclusive study of the Falmouth turbines would involve turning them on “during the dark of the moon without warning and seeing if we have a sudden increase in complaints.” Again, though not challenged by Wittenberg, Goldstone’s statement is utterly false and misleading. Anyone who is actually familiar with the scientific method will tell you that a test conducted on a single night would prove nothing, because it is purely anecdotal.

Goldstone’s next comment would be laughable, if it weren’t so pathetic. He claimed that his proposed experiment “would be entirely unethical and we would never do that.” How strange that Goldstone’s conscious bothers him about turning the turbines on without warning people.

Yet he apparently has no ethical qualms whatever about bombarding neighborhoods in Falmouth with intense infrasound night and day for more than three years. Just as in Fairhaven, no one in Falmouth was told that turbines cause sleep deprivation; seasickness-like symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and vertigo; or cognitive impairment severe enough to prevent someone from doing everyday things like gardening, shopping, or work.

Goldstone is ethically ok with all of that, despite the fact these symptoms were completely predictable based upon long standing acoustic and medical research. I’m not sure where Goldstone learned his ethics from, but in my book this is a direct violation of the principle of “informed consent” which is the basis for all of modern medical ethics since it was first codified in the Nuremburg Code in 1947.

Informed consent is a very simple idea. It means that is not right to subject a person to something harmful without telling that person what the danger is first—and even then, only if they consent to it once they know the danger.

Another important ethical idea enshrined in the Nuremburg code is that, if anyone discovers that something is harmful after it has begun, you have to stop it immediately. Regardless of scientific certainty, it’s unethical to continue once danger is discovered. This is sometimes referred to as the principle of precaution—which has been the foundation of medical ethics since the ancient Greek, Hippocrates. “First, do no harm.”

Of course, there is another school of thought that says all ethical bets are off is there is a buck in it for someone. That seems to be the one that Goldstone and the Friends of Fairhaven Wind subscribe to. Goldstone concedes that “there is most likely some effect on sleep”, but “we do not have sufficient scientific proof.” Actually, though, there is vast scientific evidence that turbines keep people awake due to the impact of infrasound on the vestibular system, to say nothing of the firsthand reports of Falmouth, Scituate, and Fairhaven residents.

Stopping the turbines is the right thing to do if there is even a reasonable possibility of harm. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to lead to hypertension, heart failure, stroke, obesity, fetal growth retardation, cognitive impairment, accidental injury, depression, and suicide. If Goldstone and the Friends are willing to turn a blind eye to these dangers, there must be a buck in it for somebody, eh?

 

 

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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Fairhaven Wind has been poor ‘partner’

It is difficult to know if Shah and Deane are lying, or conspicuously ignorant about the health impacts caused when turbines are too close to people. In either case, they have flunked the most fundamental test of partnership. They are neither reliable, nor trustworthy.

The sound compliance testing underway in Fairhaven already shows that the wind turbines are substantially out of compliance most of the time, in most locations. They have been operating illegally since they went up a year and a half ago. Most importantly, Fairhaven Wind, LLC knew it.

In his “open letter” of December 2011, Gordon Deane described Fairhaven Wind, as the private part of a “partnership” with the Town of Fairhaven. Sumul Shah, Jim Sweeney, and Deane have been operating a sound nuisance illegally ever since, depriving residence of sleep, the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and their property value. It is time to reassess this so-called partnership.

Shah told the town that his turbines would be no louder than leaves rustling in the wind. He assured residence that these Chinese-made turbines would be much quieter than the ones in Falmouth. He promised to provide mitigations if turbine noise caused problems for nearby residents.

The DEP results shows conclusively that Shah’s turbines are louder than wind in the leaves—much louder! Just as residents have said all along. Moreover, testing shows they are frequently louder than the turbines in Falmouth, too.

Some months ago, Peter Deterra, asked Shah to appear before the Board of Health to discuss a mitigation plan in the face of mounting public complaints. Instead of appearing as requested, Shah sent a 15-page document saying that no mitigations were actually possible. His reason:

“As the BoH, it is your responsibility to separate legitimate complaints, which could be related to a violation of local or state standards, from complaints which are merely a backdoor attempt to implement a tiny minority opinion with respect to construction and operation of the turbines….”

In other words, Shah was inferring that many of the complainants are liars, issuing complaints for political purposes and that he could do nothing to abate the painful noise pollution until the Board of Health determined which complaints were bogus.

Contrary to Shah’s allegations, the DEP test sites were specifically chosen based on which locations generated the most complaints. Testing at these locations shows that these residents actually had perfectly good reason for complaining about the noise. The only bogus statements were Shah’s.

In Deane’s letter mentioned earlier, he claimed that “There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.” In support, he cites the findings of the infamous Expert Panel assembled by DEP.

This is the same study that Dr. Raymond Hartman referred to as ‘junk science’. Notably, Hartman was the key witness for Massachusetts litigation against big tobacco and asbestos manufacturers because he is a recognized and highly regarded expert on what counts as good science versus bad.

Deane also mentions the expertise of Robert J. McCunney who was on this “expert panel”. However, at the Wind Forum, McCunney himself admitted under questioning by Karen Isherwood, that he has never examined a single patient who was affected by wind turbines. Nor has he has conducted any animal or human research related to turbines or infrasound. He is not expert at all. Neither is Dora Mills, or the others on the panel; and certainly neither is Deane.

Carmen Krogh, a public health expert who has studied the effects of turbines on residents for many years, recently warned rural Ontario doctors in the journal “Canadian Family Physician”. Here is a genuinely expert opinion:

“Industrial wind turbines can harm human health if sited too close to residents. Harm can be avoided if IWTs are situated at an appropriate distance from humans….The documented symptoms are usually stress disorder–type diseases acting via indirect pathways and can represent serious harm to human health.”

It is difficult to know if Shah and Deane are lying, or conspicuously ignorant about the health impacts caused when turbines are too close to people. In either case, they have flunked the most fundamental test of partnership. They are neither reliable, nor trustworthy.

When the DEP announced that these turbines were well above the legal limits for noise, neither Shah nor Deane had the simple human decency to apologize for the harm they have been causing in Fairhaven for well over a year now. They flunked the decency test, too.

With partners like these, who needs enemies?

Apparently, they expected the same consideration and respect that they have denied to people and officials in Fairhaven all these months. Thank goodness the Selectmen had the courage to do what the terms of the contract allow and the law requires.

If Fairhaven Wind had listened to real experts about the dangers of putting turbines too close to people, instead of their own nonsense and propaganda, they could have spared everyone a lot of anguish—including themselves.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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Fairhaven Planning: A Contradiction in Terms

[Editor’s Note: Once again the editorial staff at the Standard-Times went out of it’s way to blunt the criticisms that Fairhaven planning officials so richly deserve. Here is the unvarnished version.]

 
In a header above the fold on Monday, The Standard-Times touted a “Tougher turbine bylaw proposed” for Fairhaven. This new proposal, concocted by Bill Roth and Wayne Hayward in an almost complete vacuum of information, is only slightly more restrictive than the current “anything goes” bylaw. It is far from the toughest, but it is certainly one of the stupidest. That is saying something in Fairhaven, known for superlative performance in the stupid category. It’s a sure sign that the Select Board will approve it and the Town Meeting will ratify it. If you think this is harsh, take a look at the existing bylaw.
Far from offering residents any real protection, this latest proposal will have the likely outcome of inviting smaller turbines, in larger numbers, that can still be legally sited in very close proximity to residents. Current zoning bylaws in Fairhaven permit citing turbines in every type of zone as a so-called municipal project. There is currently no legal restriction that would prevent private property owners from citing an industrial wind turbine in the midst of any neighborhood in town. Nothing in the new proposal will change this cozy little arrangement appreciably.
According to the Standard-Times article, the most recent proposal “gives the Planning Board discretion to make exceptions for turbines producing more than 600 kilowatts and closer to residences than four times blade height.” This little plum should be seen for exactly what it is, a sly little power grab by Wayne Hayward. He would like nothing better than holding court while wind developers and residents come, hat in hand, to plead for some consideration. Earlier this year, Hayward could be heard whining about the budgets cuts imposed on the Planning Board. This “discretion” would give him a bargaining chip in future budget debates.
For all the good it has done, Fairhaven would be better off simply abolishing the planning board. Then we could use the budget surplus to hire a professional town planner, instead of making due with the rank amateur we have now—who happens to collect a pay check.
There is a mountain of unassailable scientific evidence that infrasound and low frequency noise from turbines sited near residences cause serious illness. Long term exposure to this dangerous form of sound energy causes very serious and often irreversible health consequences such as heart damage, cancer and acute neurological deterioration. As much as 70% of those exposed for 10 years or more will suffer from at least some serious adverse health effects.
If town planning officials really wanted to protect people from such dangers, they would carefully restrict turbines based upon the emission of low frequency sound, as measured inside residential homes where it is at its worst. When I tried to point this out to Bill Roth at one of the earlier meetings, he said “I don’t want to hear anything about decibels”. Of course, not! That would force him to grapple with the real issue. If safe sound constraints (in decibels) were put in place, it would offer people real protection and put an end to turbines in Fairhaven. No turbines emit safe levels of infrasound.
One of the existing, 400-foot turbines is just 1600 feet from one family home. That’s four times the height—exactly what Bill Roth and Wayne Hayward are proposing. At that distance, one member of the family was so badly affected that he moved out to escape the torment. The turbines are literally tearing this family apart. Add another turbine refugee to the list.
Recently, the Minister of Energy in the U.K., John Hayes, announced a complete moratorium on any further onshore wind farms, anywhere in Britain. That is what a tougher policy on turbines looks like. This comes in a country desperate for energy independence in the face of waning domestic fossil fuel supplies, where wind has been the center piece of energy policy for two decades. The British journalist from the Daily Mail, Christopher Booker, observed that “For years our politicians continued to fall for this racket, as they ruthlessly bent the planning rules to ensure that nothing stood in the way of the turbines.” Sound familiar?
Wind developers will be delighted with this new proposal thanks to Hayward and Roth; but if you think it will protect the health and safety of residents, or their property value; don’t kid yourself. In fairness, several of the planning board members have raised these concerns only to be routinely ignored by Bill Hayward. Rene Fleurent, for example, has repeatedly expressed great concern about health and safety issues posed by turbines; but these concerns fall on deaf ears—Hayward’s. Once the Select Board approves it, your public comments will fall on deaf ears, too. That is Hayward’s approach to planning: ready, fire, aim.

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Dr. Sarah Laurie Responds to Professor Simon Chapman

[Editor’s Note: A South Australian rural GP, Dr. Sarah Laurie, became interested in the subject in July 2010 after a wind development was proposed for the hills adjacent to her house and concerned neighbors began to ask questions about possible adverse health effects should the development proceed. After reviewing the available literature, Dr. Laurie decided there was evidence of a health problem and accordingly accepted an invitation to initially become the Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation; which title has since changed to Chief Executive Officer to better reflect the nature of her involvement. Her letter below is a response to an opinion published in the New Scientist by Professor Simon Chapman, Director of Research, Sidney University]

28th October, 2012

Dear Professor Chapman,

RE: Your opinions on the adverse health effects of wind turbines

Your recent wind turbine opinion piece in the New Scientist1, together with your media commentary in other articles, interviews and comments on blogs,2  purport to be “the truth” about this subject.   However my knowledge of the problems, obtained directly from sick residents including turbine hosts3 and some of their treating doctors, rather than indirect sources, is in stark contrast.

I would be obliged if you will direct me to the population studies or even small case control studies, which have been performed in the vicinity of large operating wind turbines, confirming that there are no adverse health effects for any of the residents from these wind turbines, including sleep deprivation, stress related illnesses, and symptoms of vestibular dysfunction.

I believe there are no such studies.

Are you prepared to explain why you do not reference the peer reviewed published work of Dr Daniel Shepherd and his colleagues,4 when you discuss the evidence for damage to health caused by industrial wind turbines in your public statements?  Shepherd’s work was published a year ago, in October, 2011.   As you will see when you read it, there is incontrovertible evidence of sleep disturbance and adverse impacts on health – related quality of life in wind turbine neighbours, when compared with these indicators in rural residents who do not live in the environs of an industrial wind development.  This is entirely consistent with my knowledge, and the knowledge of a growing number of medical practitioners around the world.

Perhaps it is your view that chronic sleep disturbance, such as is commonly reported by residents living near industrial wind turbines, and confirmed by Dr Shepherd, does not result directly in serious adverse health problems?  If so, then you are conflict with the current peer reviewed clinical evidence,5 and WHO guidelines.

Will you also explain why you and your co – reviewer of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s “Rapid Review 2010”,6 which purported to be a “review of the peer reviewed evidence” available at the time, managed to cite a blog of yours, but failed to include the most important literature review detailing the peer reviewed published research of the then known adverse health impacts of low frequency noise on human health, written in 2003 for the UK Department of Food and Rural Affairs?7  Your co – reviewer, Professor Leventhall was the lead author of this important work, so he certainly knew about it in 2010.

Did you know about this work and choose to exclude it from the Rapid Review, or were you unaware of its existence?

I draw your attention to page 49 of the 2003 Leventhall Literature Review, where there is a table listing the symptoms reported by residents in a case control study looking at the effect of exposure to low frequency noise from other sources.  There is other relevant research performed by Leventhall and others in an occupational setting, which confirms these findings.

Professor Leventhall, your co – reviewer, has publicly stated in expert testimony given in court in Ontario,8 and also in the NHMRC workshop9 which you and I both attended in June 2011, that he has known about the symptoms of low frequency noise exposure or “wind turbine syndrome” for some time, and it is clear from his literature review from 2003 that this statement is correct.

On what grounds, as a sociologist, rather than an acoustician or a medical practitioner, do you disagree with Leventhall’s expert testimony in the Suncor case in Ontario, confirming the existence of this pattern of symptoms, which he clearly attributes to being caused by exposure to low frequency noise?

… Pierpont defined the symptoms of the Wind Turbine Syndrome as: ” …   sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.”

“I am happy to accept these symptoms, as they have been known to me for many years as the symptoms of extreme psychological stress from environmental noise, particularly low frequency noise”1 0 (emphasis added)

On numerous occasions11 you have publicly accused me of “scaremongering” and have implied that my efforts to educate the general public about what is already known about the damaging effects of infrasound and low frequency noise from wind turbines and other sources, is itself causing all the reported symptoms.  This is a very grave accusation to make.  What is your evidence to support this allegation?

Will you please acknowledge that I was first aware of reported health problems in May/June 2010, first spoke out publicly of my concerns on 18th July, 2010, and acknowledge that there are many media reports about sick people at Waubra and other locations internationally prior to this date. 12

Perhaps you also blame the reported symptoms on the first whistle blower Medical Practitioners Dr Amanda Harry (UK) and Dr David Iser, (Australia) as you appear to imply in your recent opinion piece in the New Scientist.13  Will you please explain to Dr Harry, Dr Iser, and myself, how the limited media reports at the time, which appeared well after their studies had been conducted, could have caused the symptoms in their patients months earlier?

With regard to your repeated comments about the existence or otherwise of confidentiality clauses, which might prevent people affected by the wind turbines from speaking out about their health problems, I draw your attention to the following letter from the General Manager of Slater and Gordon, published in The Australian Newspaper on 4th May, 2012.14

“James Delingpole asserts that Slater and Gordon have been responsible for “rigorous gagging orders” in favour of wind farm operators. This is wrong. We have acted for landowners who have been affected by the operation of nearby wind farms. 

Any confidentiality clauses associated with some compensation claims have not been made at our direction. Such clauses are required by the wind farm operators and are typically required in these types of settlements. It is a decision for our clients as to whether they accept such clauses.”  James Higgins, general manager, Slater and Gordon, Melbourne, Vic  (emphasis added)

I would also draw your attention to the comments Professor Leventhall made in his 2003 DEFRA Literature review (p 60) concerning the damaging effects on the mental health of those whose symptoms are denied:

There is no doubt that some humans exposed to infrasound experience abnormal ear, CNS, and resonance induced symptoms that are real and stressful. If this is not recognised by investigators or their treating physicians, and properly addressed with understanding and sympathy, a psychological reaction will follow and the patient’s problems will be compounded.” (emphasis added) 15

I assure you that your frequent denigrating comments,16 widely broadcast in the media, towards and about sick people are indeed directly and significantly compounding their health problems.  This is an unnecessary addition to the symptoms of physical and mental illness these people are already experiencing directly from the effects of the infrasound and low frequency acoustic pollution.

I know this occurs, because some of them contact me, in a very distressed state.  Some of these people are unable to live in their homes, and unable to do their usual work because of the severity of their symptoms correlating directly with exposure to the noise pollution.  Some of them are elderly and frail, and are suffering terribly.

There have been a number of occasions where people have rung in desperation, expressing acutely suicidal thoughts, as they are trapped in homes where their physical and mental health relentlessly deteriorates with continued exposure, and they have nowhere else to go, and cannot afford to just walk away.  These people consistently feel better when the turbines are off, or when they are well away from the turbines.  This is entirely consistent with repeated clinical observations, and with Professor Leventhall’s comments in his 2003 DEFRA literature review on page 60.

This growing public health problem, caused by industrial noise in frequencies below 200 Hz from a range of sources including wind turbines, mining, gas compressors and gas – fired power stations, warrants a compassionate response.

Please immediately stop denigrating seriously ill people.  It is harming their health.

Please use your position as “Director of Research” constructively, to advocate for the necessary multidisciplinary research so urgently needed.

Yours sincerely

Dr Sarah Laurie

CEO,  Waubra Foundation

  1. Opinion piece 8 October, 2012, New Scientist Magazine Issue 2885, pp 26-7  “Sickened by the Spin”  Online version “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628850.200-the-sickening-truth-about-wind-farm-syndrome.html , also broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Science show, 20th October, 2012, http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/curious-distribution-for-wind-turbine-sickness/4323486
  2. Some examples in addition to the New Scientist piece include the following: “Wind turbine sickness prevented by money drug”  29th  March, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45730.html  “Wind Turbines Power Mass Hysteria”  23rd May, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4028112.html ” Is wind turbine syndrome Mass Hysteria?”  2nd  September, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2868198.html Interview with Waleed Aly, on RN Drive, 12th June, 2012 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/panel-discussion3a-the-health-impact-of-wind-power/4066594  http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318
  3. David and Alida Mortimer, turbine hosts from Infigen’s Lake Bonney Wind      Development in South Australia spoke about their health problems resulting    from exposure to operating wind turbines on TV http://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/?page=Story&StoryID=1394 and David spoke on National Radio       http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/regulations-killing-victorian-wind-farms/4155732.  Professor Chapman has repeatedly claimed    that the symptoms result from jealousy of neighbours, and implied that no      wind turbine hosts develop illnesses. This is untrue. Other hosts have contacted the Waubra Foundation for help, and have said they are unable to speak publicly about their health problems because of the terms of their agreements with the wind developer.  At their request, and for obvious      reasons, their information remains confidential.
  4. Shepherd, Daniel et al “Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life”  Noise & Health, September-October 2011, 13:54,333-9 http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/evaluating-the-impact-of-wind-turbine-noise-on-health-related-quality-of-life/
  5. Capuccio F et al, “Sleep Duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systemic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies” European Heart Journal, (2011) 32, 1484-1492
  6. NHMRC “Wind Turbines and Health, A Rapid Review of the Evidence” July 2010 Downloadable from http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/wind-farms-and-human-health
  7. Leventhall, Benton & Pelmear May 2003,   A report for DEFRA  “A review of published Research on Low Frequency Noise and its Effects” http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/review-of-published-research-on-low-frequency-noise-and-its-effects/
  8. Dr. Leventhall, (2009), “Wind Turbine Syndrome, an Appraisal,” Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (10-121 and 10-122) Exhibit 55 submitted by Suncor Energy Services Inc.
  9. Presentation accessible via http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/wind-farms-and-human-health
  10. Dr Leventhall, (2009) op cit
  11. Opinion piece 8 October, 2012, New Scientist Magazine Issue 2885, pp 26-7      “Sickened by the Spin”  Online version “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628850.200-the-sickening-truth-about-wind-farm-syndrome.html, also broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Science show, 20th October, 2012, http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/curious-distribution-for-wind-turbine-sickness/4323486 “Wind turbine sickness prevented by money drug”   29th March, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45730.html  “Wind Turbines Power Mass Hysteria”  23rd May, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4028112.html ” Is wind turbine syndrome Mass Hysteria?”  2nd September, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2868198.html Interview with Waleed Aly, on RN Drive, 12th June, 2012 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/panel-discussion3a-the-health-impact-of-wind-power/4066594  http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318
  12. Some  examples include: 15th July, 2009, report of the Dean family’s illness and forced abandonment of their home, due to health problems they experienced, coinciding with the start up of the Waubra Wind Development http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-07-15/wind-turbine-noise-forces-couple-out/1353808 19th February, 2010, exposure of Trish Godfrey’s gag agreement by Cheryl Hall, ABC Vic 7.30 http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/02/19/2825235.htm An extensive list of international media items makes the global nature of this problem clear, and the reports of ill health prior to May/June 2010 abound in Victoria and internationally. http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/08/12/news-articles-about-wind-turbine-noise-and-health/
  13. Opinion piece 8 October, 2012, New Scientist Magazine Issue 2885, pp 26-7 “Sickened by the Spin”  Online version “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628850.200-the-sickening-truth-about-wind-farm-syndrome.html
  14. 3rd letter at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/wind-power-a-blessing-or-a-scam/story-fn558imw-1226346246835
  15. Leventhall, Benton & Pelmear May 2003,   A report for DEFRA  “A review of published Research on Low      Frequency Noise and its Effects” http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/review-of-published-research-on-low-frequency-noise-and-its-effects/
  16. Opinion piece 8 October, 2012, New Scientist Magazine Issue 2885, pp 26-7      “Sickened by the Spin”  Online version “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628850.200-the-sickening-truth-about-wind-farm-syndrome.html, also broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Science show, 20th October, 2012, http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/curious-distribution-for-wind-turbine-sickness/4323486 “Wind turbine sickness prevented by money drug”  29th March, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45730.html  “Wind Turbines Power Mass Hysteria”  May 23 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4028112.html “Is wind turbine syndrome Mass Hysteria?”  2nd September, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2868198.html  Interview with Waleed Aly, on RN Drive, 12th June, 2012 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/panel-discussion3a-the-health-impact-of-wind-power/4066594  http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318
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Wind turbine noise being studied to death?

[Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand are members of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering and each have over 30 years’ experience. In 2009, they became concerned about the very vocal negative reactions by neighbors living near industrial wind turbine sites. They have visited and evaluated noise levels at Mars Hill, Vinalhaven, Freedom, Maine and Falmouth, Massachusetts. Their professional experiences and measurements have confirmed that neighbors are justified in their complaints. Citizen complaints are currently thwarted by regulatory agencies’ failure to protect neighbors from excessive noise and adverse public health impacts.]

This is in response to the September 1, 2012 article published by southcoasttoday.com regarding the Fairhaven industrial wind turbines (IWT). It is apparent that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is way past due for making their decision about the Falmouth IWT noise levels. The DEP has witnessed the nighttime operation of Wind 1 and has sufficient noise level measurements to determine that Wind 1 is out of compliance. Under state law, wind turbines cannot increase the quietest nighttime dBA noise levels (L90) by more than 10 dB when compared to the maximum (Lmax) produced.

Ariel Wittenberg, reporter for southcoasttoday, witnessed nighttime noise measurements for the Fairhaven Wind Turbine project. Noise levels were measured by the DEP’s Laurel Carlson accompanied by Sumul Shah, Project Developer. Carlson wrote down a long series of noise levels measured in 5-second increments; 47.8, 46.6, 47.7 and so on. This measurement methodology dates back to the 1970s, when sound levels were manually taken by viewing an analog meter needle movement. Statistical measurements require at least 100 readings with IWT ON and then OFF. Each hand-written measurement includes an identifier relating to the noise source heard. The 10th lowest value would represent the L90 or residual background; the noise level exceeded 90% of the time when turbines are OFF. The Lmax would be the highest value measured when the turbines are ON. A drawback for DEP methodology is that most of the noise levels are excluded by reading only once every five seconds.

The DEP is correct to require an observer to listen and note every noise source so that non-IWT noise can be excluded. Sound meters are poor listeners, unable to identify a noise source, whereas the human has excellent identification capability. However, meters can compute statistical sound levels and record time histories for dBA, dBC, dBL and fractional octave bands. Instrument data is downloaded to computer spreadsheet programs for post analysis.

Compliance can easily be determined using a time-history graph showing the IWT operating, and then shutdown, leaving only ambient background sound. Measuring this ON to OFF transition directly shows the difference between IWT-ON sound levels to background-only sound levels.

Falmouth’s Wind 1 was measured ON and OFF by the DEP during the night of March 7, 2012. At the same time and locations, independent sound level measurements were made with a calibrated Type 1 precision sound level meter and the results are shown below.

 This graph includes sufficient information for the DEP to show that Falmouth Wind 1 does not meet state law; IWT-ON Lmax of 46 dBA in red and IWT-OFF L90 of 27 dBA background in green. The difference is 19 dB; 9 dB louder than the maximum allowed under state law. There is no doubt that this increase would provoke a very vocal negative reaction by neighbors.

It should be noted that similar IWT-ON noise levels were recorded in Fairhaven (47.8, 46.6, 47.7) at similar hub-height wind speeds of 6.5 m/s (14.5 mph). These same noise levels have been measured at other wind turbine sites at similar distances in Maine and Massachusetts.

Neighbors at Falmouth and Fairhaven have voiced their concerns about excessive audible noise and exposure to the adverse public health effects from infrasound and low frequency noise. The Falmouth Board of Health (FBOH) has acknowledged that there needs to an action to protect the public health, having received dozens of valid health complaints and testimonies. On June 11, 2012 the FBOH submitted results of their epidemiological study taken in the vicinity of the three Falmouth IWTs to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (BPH) requesting immediate assistance. The FBOH wrote, “Due to the increasing intensity of the reported health impacts, the Board is considering emergency actions” and concludes with “We look to your Department, as that which holds the highest duty to protect health of citizens of the Commonwealth, to assist us in this matter.” After three months, there has still been no public response from the DPH.

Neighbors are very concerned about the DEP and DPH studying IWT noise to death. They already have all the evidence they need. Now the Massachusetts DEP and DPH need to act to protect the public health, or just declare: IWT neighbors live in Public Health Sacrifice Zones.

[Click here to download original (PDF).]

Source:  Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand, special to Wind Watch.

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The Real Cost of Turbine Savings

Recently, Ariel Wittenberg reported that the industrial wind turbines in Fairhaven saved the town $45,000. She quoted Jeffrey Osuch, the town secretary, who conspired with Sumul Shah, to perpetrate this swindle, that “…we are a little lower than we would expect…” Actually, this rate is $20,000 less than the very minimum annual rate Osuch projected at Town Meeting, and $320,000 less than the maximum. Wittenberg, as she often seems to do, failed to tell the rest of the story. Fairhaven taxpayers will quietly lose millions from declining property value and the inevitable erosion of the tax base it will cause.

In sworn testimony to the Adams County Board in Illinois, Michael S. McCann, a state certified property appraiser, who has studied the impact of turbines on property value across the country; reported that the value of properties within two miles of industrial turbines will decline by 25% to 40%. The homes closest to turbines often become unsellable at any price. (His complete testimony is online.) In light of this, take a moment to consider the real fiscal impact that this scheme Osuch has concocted will have in Fairhaven.

Due to his thoughtful planning, these turbines are located very close to the geographic center of the town. Google Earth shows that a two mile radius includes roughly 90% of all the homes in Fairhaven, excluding only the more sparsely populated lower half of Sconticut Neck and West Island. A conservative estimate of, say, a 30% loss for a home valued at $250,000 dollars, is a net loss of $75,000 in equity. This is a loss of years of accumulated equity for home values already depressed by the most adverse housing market in decades.

Based on this flagrant destruction of their property value, taxpayers in Fairhaven who live within two miles of these turbines are eligible for tax abatement, and I strongly urge them to apply for one. If residents are given the abatement they legitimately deserve, one can reasonably expect the tax base to be eroded by about 27% overall. This would be loss of millions on the tax levy, harming even the lucky few who live far enough away from turbine ground zero. You can multiply this annual loss by 20, since Shah’s lease is for 20 years.

This loss will not include the costs to process mass tax abatement or the potential legal costs to all parties if legitimate abatements are denied. More importantly, it does not include the incalculable impact to the health and safety of residents and the legal liabilities for them, which will fall exclusively on the town as public health deteriorates.

The turbine manufacturer, Sinovel, is Chinese; it has proven to be judgment-proof in U.S. courts. Fairhaven Wind, LLC is a limited liability corporation. This is a corporate legal architecture designed to fold like a cheap suit at the first sign of trouble. That will leave only the Town of Fairhaven to face the music. Taxpayers will lose again. If the town loses the existing suit, brought by the residents of Little Bay for illegally siting these turbines; it will become a sitting duck for health liability suits.

And now for what Paul Harvey famously called, “the rest of the story”. If you assume that Fairhaven was actually purchasing $180,000 worth of power this year at Shah’s rate of 7.43 cents per kWH, you would discover that the same power could have been purchased at the NSTAR, at the small commercial rate of 6.686 cents. The town would have saved an additional $16,000 per year. You can see for yourself at the  NSTAR calculator online. In other words, the Town of Fairhaven is being gouged by its own tenant, its own cohort.

Now that you now the rest of Wittenberg’s story, feel free to celebrate the pure fiscal genius that Jeff Osuch has brought to Fairhaven this summer, and for the next 20 years. Perhaps Osuch, in his uniquely soporific style, will provide us with a more detailed and complete accounting of the true fiscal impact at Town Meeting this spring—but you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting.

In the meantime, if you are trying to sell your home, and the market analysis for it turns out to be 30% or 40% lower than you expected, you will know who to thank for all your summer savings. We are now living in what Stephen Ambrose has termed a Public Health Sacrifice Zone.

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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Where’s the SCADA data?

In an article in the Standard-Times dated August 14th, Ariel Wittenberg reported on the recent noise compliance testing being conducted by the DEP on the turbines in Fairhaven. The testing is little more than a bit of performance art, designed to appease those who are ignorant about the ill health effects caused by these industrial monstrosities. The most these noise measurements can show is that turbines comply with a law which was crafted in 1962 for the purpose of measuring things like the noise created by cars rushing past a residential neighborhood on a new highway.

This law is completely obsolete and utterly irrelevant for turbines because it does not measure infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN), one of the principal causes of damaging health effects from turbines in humans and animals.

It is as though someone asked the DEP to test for potential damaging health effects from sunlight and they tested only the visible light, ignoring ultraviolet light all together. It is a meaningless exercise designed only to fool people who don’t know about infrasound.

Wittenberg also notes concerns that the wind developer, Sumul Shah, was present during testing. This issue is especially concerning because it provides the opportunity for tampering. The Fairhaven turbines are variable pitch. This means they can be de-tuned by feathering the blades back to make them run quieter during testing. The idea of inviting the owner of the turbine to be present while measuring noise flies in the face of every principal of scientific measurement.

If a scientist submitted a paper for peer review describing a testing process where his measurements could be tampered with by an interested party, he or she would be laughed out of the profession. In clinical drug trials, for example, everyone involved in the testing process must provide an affidavit that they have no financial interest in the outcome. If the FDA learns that someone from the drug company was present during testing, the trials would be immediately declared invalid. End of story. Unlike the MA-DEP, the FDA places public health and safety above the profits of private industry.

Putting this bit of theatre aside for a moment, according to Wittenberg, the excuse given by the DEP spokesman, Edmund Colleta, for this obvious breach of protocol is that Sumul Shah must “coordinate turning the turbines on and off as needed.” This is a lame excuse. Turning the turbines on and off can be done by remote control, so there is no reason that the DEP could not turn them on and off without help. Shah possesses no special engineering skills or credentials that make his presence required for this. One would think that the DEP would be more concerned about the appearance of collusion with the wind developer it pretends to regulate.

Wittenberg noted Shah’s protest of innocence. She wrote “If the turbine is on for testing, he said, its speed cannot be controlled.” This is equally lame because nothing prevents him from changing the angle of the blades before turning them on. This is theatre of the absurd.

Unfortunately, Wittenberg did not report the fact that Shah has access to information that might show that he did not rig the test. Every industrial turbine is controlled by a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. This system also records the position of the turbine blades, direction, speed and power output, to name only a few. If Shah were to release these data since the operation of the turbines began, he could prove he did not tamper. The blades would be in the same position they usually are under the test conditions of wind speed and direction. So why doesn’t he release it?

Several weeks ago, Shah submitted a report to the Fairhaven Board of Health stating that there is no discernible pattern between turbine operation and the avalanche of adverse health reports submitted to the BoH by residents living near them. Releasing the SCADA data to public scrutiny could also provide evidence that this claim is true as well. So why doesn’t Shah release it?

Of course, the SCADA data could also show there is, in fact, an obvious pattern between health complaints and turbine operation. If so, it would not only show that Shah’s report was false; it might also be construed as evidence of an attempt to defraud the Board of Health and the people of Fairhaven. That would place Mr. Shah in a very compromising situation indeed. He would rightfully be hoisted upon his own petard. If there truly is no pattern, and he truly did not rig the test; then he has nothing to fear and everything to gain. Is anyone taking bets?

Curt Devlin, Fairhaven, MA

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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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