Wind farm victims around the world denounce unfair decision
Joint release by Toronto Wind Action, the North American Platform Against Wind (NA-PAW) and the European Platform Against Wind (EPAW)
July 22, 2011 — Their reactions come on the heels of an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision that the Kent Breeze wind turbine project may proceed because there will be no “serious” harm to human health. This ruling came out despite the lengthy legal arguments presented by an illustrious group of physicians and acousticians and other technical experts.
“Windfarm victims have contacted me”, says Sherri Lange, CEO of NA-PAW, the North American Platform Against Windfarms. “Ontarians as well as others from around the world. They are dismayed, if not completely despaired.”
Jutta Reichardt, from Germany, wrote to NA-PAW about her ordeal. She has lived near wind turbines for more than 16 years, some as close as 320 metres from her home, and literally surrounded by 122 others. She experiences “cardiac rhythm disorders, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, kidney damage, different tinnitus sounds, nausea and dizziness, angina pectoris, palpitations, ear pressure, and VAD [vibroacoustic disease] ulcers in the mouth … And for some months [I have suffered from] a follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in my mucous membranes.” She and her husband both suffer in their health, and spend much of their time at the hospital for treatment. It is a living hell, and nobody will buy their house. “This is our personal ‘circus’”, she wrote, in reference to an outrageous remark made to other windfarm victims, Julian and Jane.
Jane and Julian Davis, in the UK, were recently victims of a slur when their opponent declared in court that they were part of an “anti-wind farm circus”. (1) Jane and Julian are suing the windfarm owner because they have had to abandon their home. They tracked their insomnia and other health disorders to noise and vibrations from a wind farm located 930 meters from their house. Jane’s daily log of their problems is accessible on line, and covers the period from summer 2006 to summer 2007. (2)
Dr Sarah Laurie from Australia wrote to NA-PAW saying: “it is so very hard for people to speak out, and takes enormous personal courage … Not everyone can speak out — everyone's circumstances are different. That is why this industry is able to keep doing what it is doing, hiding behind a cloak of ‘but there are no complaints’. But increasingly in Australia, the climate has changed, and more people are speaking out, and I am sure they would be happy to do so if they thought it would also help people internationally.” Dr Laurie’s work with Victims of Wind is known worldwide.
In Ontario, Dr Robert McMurtry began studying wind turbines when developers planned to build an array of turbines across a pristine area of Prince Edward County. He came to the conclusion that there is “no safe place.” Studies have not yet been conducted to establish what is safe, and Dr McMurtry presented expert testimony at the Tribunal. He advocates widely on behalf of Victims of Wind. Dr McMurtry is soon to receive the “Order of Canada”.
Almost 30 families from Ontario have been forced from their homes, and some are under gag orders after buyouts from wind developers. More than 100 more families have self-reported on ill health. Reports from Huron and Bruce counties continue to mount of “dirty electricity” (3), stray voltage, ill health, degradation to soil and crop production, loss in livestock health and production values, and of course loss of property values where in many instances, people are third-generation farmers.
The universal reporting of ill health is a bane to turbine developers, and the result of the Tribunal’s decision is not sitting well with those who have studied the industry for thousands of hours nor of course with those living near turbine hell.
Ironically, on the heels of the Ontario announcement, U.S. based Populi Health Institute researcher Carl Phillips released his assessment on July 19th of the validity of wind turbine health complaints. In his peer reviewed draft, he states unequivocally, “There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate. The bulk of the evidence takes the form of thousands (our emphasis) of adverse event reports.” (Epidemiologic Evidence for Health Effects from Wind Turbines, Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society, Vol. 31, no. 4, August 2011). (Phllips’ work is further authenticated by the research of U.S. based Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD, in her now acclaimed book, The Wind Turbine Syndrome www.windturbinesyndrome.com)
Sherri Lange, CEO of NA-PAW recently visited Huron and Bruce counties and heard firsthand stories of electrical pollution, a home burned likely due to a power surge, livestock that has to be moved out of the area, accounts of “pending agricultural ecological disaster”, as one farmer expressed it, and anguishing stories of ill health. People cannot sleep in their homes. Homes often become receptacles or amplifiers for the vibration and infrasound and “dirty electricity”. The list of complaints includes ringing ears (tinnitus), pressure, headaches, cardiac arrhythmias, sleep disorders, depression and a sense of hopelessness. “To have the first ever ERT [Environmental Review Tribunal] in Ontario emerge with this decision after a lengthy detailing of the problems with wind turbines, from expert witnesses in sound and paths to disease, and having been there personally to hear several days of expert testimony and the concluding remarks by lawyer Eric Gillespie, is nothing short of astonishing,” Lange said.
Last week in Scotland, a young bullock was found dead in a field near a wind turbine. The autopsy revealed “hemorrhaging around the heart, a possible sign of electrocution”. (4) Stray voltage can do this to animals — and to humans as well.
In 2009, the BBC reported that a farmer in Taiwan had lost more than 400 goats due to the proximity of wind turbines. (5)
Mark Duchamp, CEO of the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), tells us that the European authorities haven’t done their homework either: “As happens with other ill effects of wind turbines, governments are happy to swallow what they are told by the wind industry, hook, line and sinker. They don’t do independent research. Everything they write is biased. As a result, the wind industry is effectively in control of the health of rural Europeans, as it is of biodiversity. This will have consequences of catastrophic proportions”, he says.
It is no different in Ontario, says Lange: “When you have an emergency, such as wind turbine havoc across the province of Ontario, and a cop (ERT) has the opportunity to stop something that is universally causing harm, laying a bed of nails so to speak across the road, and he turns a blind eye and allows the abuse to continue, then the system is seriously broken.” She concludes: “The courts have this week failed the people of Ontario. But the voters will provide correction.”
(1) “anti-wind farm circus” slur: http://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/news/wind_turbines_high_court_hearing_julian_davis_claims_anti_wind_farm_circus_suggestion_is_typical_of_his_family_s_treatment_1_2875020
(2) Jane Davis log: http://docs.wind-watch.org/Davis-Wind-Turbine-LOG-20060625-20070705.pdf
(3) “Dirty electricity” or electricity pollution: http://www.dirtyelectricity.org/health-issues.shtml
(4) Bullock electrocuted: http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2357094
(5) Death of 400 goats: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8060969.stm
(6) Mark Duchamp: CEO, EPAW (European Platform Against Wind), www.epaw.org; President, Save the Eagles International, www.savetheeaglesinternational.org, Save.firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +34 693 643 736
Sherri Lange, CEO, NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind) www.na-paw.org
Founding Director, Toronto Wind Action www.torontowindaction.com
Executive Director, Canada, Great Lakes Wind Truth www.greatlakeswindtruth.org
NOTES from Victims in Ontario
- I have difficulty in getting to sleep and am awakened nearly every night by something. This is a change since the turbines started up. (a)
- I can sense vibration coming through the floors, in my home and in the homes of others. The sensation of vibration is easily activated after leaving the area. One night I drove 20 km away, I went to sleep on a couch which was vibration free at 11 PM, and got woke up by the cyclic, systemic vibrations heard and felt through the couch about 4 AM. (a)
- I used to enjoy sitting on my patio outside. Now there is an intrusive noise from the wind turbines. Today it is not too bad, you can hear them, but it is not as intrusive as it is on some days when it is terrible, making you not want to sit out. (b)
- My head feels like it is jangling whenever I am at home. It feels like it is filled with marbles – a nervous frenzy. I cannot concentrate to read a book. This is a change, I used to be able to read and digest a book a day, now I have had to renew a simple book twice at the library, and still have not been able to finish it. To write a report, I have to get away from home, as I cannot work here. (c)
- I wonder how long it will take for the cognitive functions to recover, or if the damage is permanent? (a)
- My ears feel like they are stuffed all the time. When I drive away, it is not until I get to Simcoe (~50 km by road) before I start to feel normal. (b)
- I am awakened and lie awake every night now. It is making my job difficult as I am always tired. (d)
- I find I have to lie down in the daytime, as my sleep is interrupted at night so much. (a)
- At first, I did not seem to be bothered as much as the others. Then, after I was at home during the daytime, I found that the vibration was more and more noticeable. It seems to take time to be able to notice it. (a)
- I don’t seem to be as bothered as the others, except for the noise and noticing the stuffiness in my ears, but I get away for a couple days each week, and am not as close to the turbines as the others. (b)
- On one occasion, all turbines suddenly stopped with a bang. I checked my blood pressure and it was 180/118. Another night I was awakened by a loud cracking sound. (d)
- I visited a sleep specialist. They say I do not have sleep apnea, but I twitch at night. (d)
- My doctor is sending me to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist, but my appointment is not before March 2010. I find my legs twitching too. My doctor sent me for an MRI to see if I was developing MS. They find nothing when I am away in the hospital. They need to test me here, not distant from here. (c)
- I went to the hospital on two separate occasions feeling pressure in my chest. The Emergency Physician administered an ECG but found no evidence of heart attack and sent me home with instructions to continue taking Advil. I am concerned about long term damage to my kidneys and/or liver. (c)
- My whole body twitches at times when going to sleep. (a)
- I feel fatigued all the time anymore. This is a change. (b)
- My short-term memory is not as good as it used to be before the turbines started up. (e)
- I am told that I am more irritable since the turbines started up. (b)
- People have to speak to me several times before I notice what they are saying. This is a change in the last year. (c)
- When I try to go to sleep, there is like a flash in my head accompanied by sharp snapping sounds of varying intensity, sometimes loud, sometimes muffled. It just is not normal. (a)
- When I’m not here, [I've escaped to Pictou, Pt Elgin, Markdale, Walkerton, Lindsay, Orillia, Toronto] these things do not happen, and I get a restful night’s sleep. (c)
- I am concerned about the impacts on wildlife. I have observed that eggs in my pond did not hatch this year, unlike normal. I have observed unusual behaviour by the killdeer, and have observed that the killdeer eggs did not hatch. (a)
- It is not the noise, it is the vibration. (c)
- Since the turbines started up, in 1 year, there was one attempted suicide last year, and one completed suicide this year. (a)
- Real estate in this neighborhood is not moving. That house (pointing) was on the market for over a year, and was taken off the market without selling. (b)
- How can I sell my house? The lawyer says I have to disclose health issues in association with the turbines to any prospective buyer of my property. (a)
- I put my life saving into this home so that I could “age in place,” now I cannot live comfortably in it. I have all my bills, but will anyone compensate me? (c)
- I bought this home for my retirement and for my grandchildren but now do not want to invest any more as I am not sure that I want to stay here. (b)
- I don’t want to leave my home, this is my community, but I cannot live in my home anymore. I have looked at cottages in Long Point to spend the winter. I cannot bear the thought of January in my home. (d)
- What bothers me is that I am suffering, while someone who is not impacted by the turbines is profiting. It is unfair. (c)
- I am just so tired. No one believes us when we tell the truth about how we are feeling. (c)