Industrial Scale Wind Turbine Liabilities

Handout prepared for the 2021-May-28 Marklein / Novak Listening Session, Belmont Convention Center.

Wisconsin’s current PSC-128 guidelines for siting Wind Turbines was created back in 2012 before the negative health effects caused by the Infrasound emitted by ALL Industrial Scale Wind Turbines (IWT) were well- known. I would ask you to PLEASE contact your fellow State Rep. John Macco understand more about the Shirley Wind (only 8 turbines) to ask some of these questions –

  • Why three families in Brown County have had to abandon their homes, even though Shirley Wind Turbines were said to not produce/transmit anything harmful to humans? [Above photo documents the local pleas for neighbor solidarity and solutions to the ill effects of one dozen, much smaller, 2.5 MW Turbines at the Shirley Power Plant near Glenmore, Wisconsin)
  • Why in 2013 the Board of Directors of Wisconsin Towns Association asked the PSC to enact a moratorium to stop the permitting and installation of wind turbines until further studies are done, solutions are found and the State’s wind siting Rule (PSC 128) is modified to implement standards that address infrasound from wind turbines that will protect the health and safety of residents!
  • Why in Oct 2014 did Brown County Board of Health vote unanimously – “To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines at Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County, WI, a Human Health Hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to Infrasound/Low Frequency Noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health.” In fact, ~90 people living in Brown County have claimed the Shirley Wind turbines have made them sick with sleep problems, headaches, anxiety, and nausea. So, what went wrong in Brown County at Shirley Wind? The simple answer is that the Wind Turbine Operators continue to deny that the high energy Infrasound produced by the rotating turbine blades passing the is the problem. In an attempt to PROVE that the infrasound levels in their home was indeed the cause of the sickness, one of the families that was forced to leave their home contracted with Rand Acoustics to take infrasound measurements inside and outside their home they abandoned. Shirley Wind also hired an acoustic measurement company to take measurements at the same times and locations. They were to take measurements with both the turbines running at full power AND when the turbines were stopped. BUT Shirley Wind refused to shut down their turbines to allow the measurements to be taken while the acoustic companies were onsite. Since there was NO authority that would force Shirley Wind to stop the turbines and enable baseline measurements, the report WAS NOT ABLE to compare the measurements between the running and stopped turbine infrasound levels. After the report was released saying that indeed high energy levels of infrasound were measured in the abandoned home, Shirley Wind (owned by Duke Energy) along with all their industry wind supporters declared that the report was NOT conclusive that the turbines were the source of the infrasound, since the data collection was not able to collect data when the Shirley Wind was not operating … and no one wants to pay for it again!

I challenge our Senators and Representatives is to take ACTION FOR us in SW Wisconsin by protecting ALL non-participating landowner’s property rights from infrasound sickness to –

1) Review the Wisconsin Wind Siting Council – October 2014 report found here –

Please Read all of p50-60 Appendix F Minority Report signed by 6 of the 14 members

  1. 2)  REQUEST a 5 year update to the above report as REQUIRED by Act 50 on Page 50 of the above report – “Act 40 also requires that Council to submit a report to the Legislature every 5 years to provide updated information about health research and regulatory developments, as well as to provide recommendations for legislation if needed.” If due every 5 years, it is OVERDUE as of the end of October 2019 !!!
  2. 3)  Better understand Infrasound by viewing this very good video on YouTube: – or google search for-“infrasound caused by Industrial Turbine German video” and find it yourself
  3. 4)  Revisit a bill first introduced in 2013 by Republican state senator Frank Lasee that – “Allows anyone living within 1.5 miles to sue both the landowner and the owner/operator of the turbine for loss of property value, moving costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, attorney fees, “and any other loss as a result of the industrial wind turbine.”

FYI: Recent actions taken in our neighboring state Iowa –

In Madison County, Iowa -The Madison County Board of Public Health on record saying that there are legitimate negative health effects caused by wind turbines.

Board Chair Dr. Kevin de Regnier said the board identified two concerns after a review of scientific literature and months of hearings and meetings with residents and MidAmerican Energy.

The two health concerns identified are:

➢ “Flicker” caused by the sun reflecting off turbine blades creates a strobe effect that can cause headaches and nausea.

“Infrasound” is a soundwave just below what the ear can actually detect. It is created by the turbines disturbing wind flow. It, too, can cause headaches and nausea.

Resolved that the Madison County Board of Health determines that there is the potential for negative health effects associated with commercial wind turbines and that current setbacks are inadequate to protect the public health,” said Madison County Public Health.

The Madison County Board of Iowa recommends that any future wind turbine projects be at least 1.5 miles from any residence.

Health Impacts of Industrial Wind

(6 videos)

Conference, Sept. 10, 2019, at Erie County Community College, Williamsville, N.Y., sponsored by New York state Senator Robert Ortt. These 6 YouTube videos are provided by courtesy of Citizens of Lincoln, N.Y. below Also see the summary notes by by Tom Erlandson listed at the end of this document

1-Introduction (Sen. Ortt); Dan Stapleton, Niagara County Public Health Director (18 min.)

2-Jerry Punch, audiologist, talks about wind turbine sound and infrasound and its impact on the human body. (38 min.)
3-Robert Rand, acoustician, discusses the mechanics and physiological effects of wind turbine

infrasound and setbacks. (38 min.)

4- Wind Farm Horror Stories: Three victims of industrial wind turbines describe their nightmare. (29 min.)

5- Gary Abraham, attorney, discusses New York State’s Article 10 process and what towns need to do to protect themselves from wind. (12 min.)

6- The participants answer: “Is it wise for Lincoln, N.Y., to allow six 500′ turbines at 3.2 MW to be built ~1,400′ from 34 homes [and only 600′ from some, and less than 1 mile from 121 homes]?” They explain why a 1.24-mile (2-km) setback is needed. (6 min.)

Text Summary below provided by Tom Erlandson, Chair of the Chautauqua County Health Board, based on notes taken during the forum:

Introductory Comments by NYS Senator Robert Ortt, Forum Sponsor

  1. On August 4, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Chapter 388 of the Laws of 2011 that enacted Article 10 of the Public Service Law. Article 10 now governs Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs).
  2. The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – it involves public health considerations, among others.
  3. Senator Ortt introduced the other speakers.

Dan Stapleton: Director of Niagara County Board of Health, member of WNY Public Health Alliance Board of Directors, President of NYS Association of County Health Officials

  1. Developers should have burden to prove IWTs are safe – public should not have the burden of proving IWTs are not safe.
  2. Concerned about lakes becoming contaminated by IWT fluids, lost sleep, unanticipated health effects of IWTs.
  3. Resolutions read that thorough environmental impact studies be done for IWTs.

Dr. Jerry Punch: PhD audiologist; studied IWTs in 2009 in the “thumb” of the lower peninsula of Michigan

  1. Affected families left home, using motels at night.
  2. IWT noise much more annoying than noise of trains or cars.
  3. Referred to various studies:
    1. “Wind Energy Comes of Age” – Paul Gipe 1995
    2. “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment” – Dr. Nina Pierpont
    3. Cooper and Chan: Australian study on Wind Turbine Syndrome
    4. “Low Frequency Noise and Health” – Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira (Portugal, 2007-13)
    5. Berglund, B, et al. 1999 – Guidelines for Community Noise, WHO, Geneva
  4. Mentioned cortisol – a hormone involved in stress.
  5. Stated that sleep disturbance is the most well documented effect of IWT.
  6. Stated that sleep disturbance affects health: hypertension, memory, etc.
  7. Outer hair cells in the inner ear are sensitive to infrasound.
  8. Infrasound can lead to motion sickness – involves balance, vision, muscle receptors.
  9. IWT setbacks are not sufficient to protect human health.

10.EPA noise regulations not updated since 1978.

11. Setback distance is the most effective way of controlling IWT problems: a. 1.25 miles from property line minimum
b. 1.5 miles from property line last month in Madison County, Iowa

12.See conclusions in Punch, J.L. & R.R. James: “Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence That Wind Turbines Pose Risks.” 2016 [link]

Rob Rand: Professional acoustic investigator since 1980; has been investigating IWTs since 2009

  1. Rand quoted from the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers: “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.”
  2. Meters do not measure noise impacts, only noise levels.
  3. Wind turbines sited primarily in rural areas and are touted as pollution-free.
  4. Distance is the only reliable noise control option available for wind turbines so far. Most places do not have enough setback distance.
  5. Background noise in rural areas is low – 20-25 dBA at night. Annoyance is “perceived by individuals or groups to be adversely affecting them. Above 35 dBA is incompatible with rural living without annoyance” – American National Standards Institute.
  6. The quantity, ubiquity, and consistency of anecdotal complaints do have epidemiological significance.
  7. Re wildlife studies with badgers show elevated cortisol levels resulting from infrasound. [link]
  8. Nauseogenesis – a nauseogenic factor is associated with IWTs.

Gary Abraham: Attorney

  1. Article 10 governs industrial wind projects producing greater than 25 megawatts.
  2. The Cassadaga wind project is the first Article 10 project.
  3. It is not realistic to regulate mean/average noise level with IWTs – the noise output is not a steady hum, but is a pulse produced during the blade downstroke.
  4. Siting board continues to use mean/average noise level.
  5. There is not much optimism in NYS about Article 10. NYS Home Rule is the only reason for optimism in New York State.
    1. Towns must pre-adopt 35 dB noise level limits.
    2. Towns must draft laws to protect people.
  6. Re upstate NYS electric energy picture:
    1. The upstate grid is separate from the downstate grid.
    2. The upstate grid is already getting 90% of its electricity from water power and nuclear power sources (i.e., clean energy). Still we keep building IWT projects.
    3. Towns can limit tower height, e.g., to 400 ft. (676 ft. towers in Town of Guilford, NY (Chenango County).
    4. Towns can adopt 35 decibel limits.
  7. Get your New York town to pass a proper wind law!”

We are praying that we will NOT become sick in our homes in South West Wisconsin like those that have in Brown County

Shirley Wind – Local advocates are posting home-made signs on their lawns in Glenmore

Senator Marklein and Representatives Novak and Tranel, PLEASE help us and take immediate actions BEFORE it is too late. Thank you for all for coming to Belmont to hear our concerns.

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