Talk about the ultimate king-hit to the wind industry and its parasites – especially the hack pseudo-scientists that peddle the derisory “nocebo” theory – said to explain ALL adverse health impacts from the incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound generated by industrial wind turbines, including sleep deprivation.
The Brown County Board of Health has just declared the Shirley-Wisconsin wind farm 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.”
Could things get any worse for the wind industry?
But this little development puts it in a situation that it’s fought tooth and nail to avoid.
It’s written its own noise standards to cover up the problem (see our post here); invented lies about wind turbines sounding like a refrigerator 500m away; or like waves lapping on a moonlit beach (see our post here); and invented a nonsense theory that the only people suffering from turbine noise impacts are red-necked climate change DENIERS who refuse to fall in love with the “majestic” look of giant fans – a class of people that one advocate of the “nocebo” story calls “wind farm wing nuts” (see our post here).
Because there’s not a shred of scientific evidence to support the “nocebo” myth – and because the theory runs counter to the facts, common sense and properly conducted field research (see our post here) – NO public authority is going to avoid legal liability to the public on the strength of an unsupported theory.
You see, public authorities (local governments, health and planning departments) come under a range of statutory duties (often extending their common law duty of care) to the general public – which is why such bodies are insured to the eyeballs to meet potential legal claims.
Insurers are effectively bookies who gauge risk and take it on, with terms of exposure that make taking the bet commercially worthwhile, on average. However, where the insured’s exposure to law suits increases, the insurer will look to close down its risk by upping premiums; adding exclusions to the policy; or getting the insured to take practical steps to mitigate the risk or limit the exposure – which will ultimately fall to the insurer.
Where the insurer is providing public liability cover to a public health authority or local council, the potential liability (and cost of claims) will often depend on what, if any, steps were taken by the insured to warn the public of any potential health risks.
If a clear warning was given in a timely fashion to all those likely to be affected – and the audience ignores the warning – anyone harmed may well find their damages reduced (on account of contributory negligence) or their claims dismissed (on the basis that the plaintiff has voluntarily assumed the risk of harm).
The insured’s obligations of utmost good faith and full disclosure mean that – to enjoy cover – it must inform its insurer immediately of any material change of circumstances that may give rise to a claim.
Once notified of a new source of risk to public health (and exposure for the insurer), sensible insurers will direct the insured authority to take steps to warn anyone likely to be harmed.
One newish source of risk to public health – that would send most insurers into a tailspin – is the noise emissions from wind farms. Faced with precisely that risk, the Brown County Board of Health (quite probably prompted by its nervous insurer) issued the declaration (set out above and below) as a warning to anyone likely to be exposed to wind turbine noise emissions from the Shirley wind farm.
Here’s a short report from Illinois Leaks – a detailed collection put together by the Waubra Foundation follows.
Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind Farm Declared Health Hazard
Illinois Leaks: Edgar County Watchdogs
14 October 2014
Brown County, Wisconsin
Tonight, October 14, 2014, the Brown County Board of Health voted to declare the Shirley Wind [Farm] a Human Health Hazard. The decision was based on a report of a year-long study conducted by the Enz family to document infrasound in homes within a radius of 6 miles of the Shirley Wind turbines.
The vote to declare it a Human Health Hazard puts Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind utility on the defensive to prove to the Board they are not the cause of the health complaints documented in the study and could result in a shut down order.
It is time for Illinois county health departments to start receiving complaints lodged based on wind turbines since a Wisconsin health department declared wind turbines as a health hazard and caused so many problems for families.
This is like having a swimming pool with no fence to keep toddlers from drowning. We should not be doing this to the children of our communities! They have suffered enough.
It is the duty of county health departments to collect information related to human health within their respective counties. Without a reporting mechanism, no collection can be had and therefore, the false reporting of no complaints filed will continue.
Illinois Leaks: Edgar County Watchdogs
Here’s more detail on the story collected by the Waubra Foundation.
Duke Energy’s Shirley Wisconsin Wind Development a “Hazard to Human Health” Declares Brown County Board of Health
14 October 2014.
The Brown County Board of Health voted tonight to declare the Shirley Wind Turbine Development a Human Health Hazard.
The decision was based on a report of a year-long study conducted by the Enz family with assistance from Mr Rick James to document acoustic emissions from the wind turbines including infrasound and low frequency noise, inside homes within a radius of 6 miles of the Shirley Wind turbines.
The wording of the motion was as follows:
“To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines 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.”
The context is in reference to Brown County Code 38.01 in the Brown County Ordinances, in Chapter 38, relating to Public Health Nuisance (section (b) Human Health Hazard).
“Human Health Hazard” means a substance, activity or condition that is known to have the potential to cause acute or chronic illness or death if exposure to the substance, activity or condition is not abated.
The vote to declare it a Human Health Hazard now puts Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind Development on the defensive to prove to the Board they are not the cause of the health complaints documented in the study, and could result in a shut down order.
Read the Brown County Public Health Nuisance Ordinance – (here).
Additional Background Information
In January 2012, the Brown County Town Board of Health called for emergency state aid for families suffering near wind turbine developments (report available here).
The Duke Energy Shirley Wind Development was also the site of the December 2012 Cooperative Acoustic Survey by Acoustic consultants Schomer, Walker, Hessler, Hessler and Rand (report available here).
On 21st January, 2013, the Wisconsin Towns Association Board of Directors adopted a resolution that the Wisconsin State and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission should enact a moratorium to“stop the permitting and installation of industrial 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 ultra-low-frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines that will protect the health and safety of residents” (report available here).
As Dr Paul Schomer pointed out in his conference paper in August 2013, Duke Energy chose to refuse to cooperate with the request from the acoustic consultants conducting this groundbreaking cooperative acoustic survey to participate in “on off” testing (report available here).
Mr Rick James, Noise Engineer, gives some detail about some of the acoustic testing in Wisconsin which he has conducted in his opening statement of evidence to the Bull Creek appeal in Alberta Canada in November, 2013 (report available here).
Dr Jay Tibbetts is a local medical practitioner with first hand experience of treating wind turbine noise affected residents in Brown County, including from the Shirley Wind Development, and he shared his experiences in his letter to the Australian AMA in March 2014 (available here).
Information from impacted residents
Wind turbine host Dick Koltz speaks candidly about what his experiences were as a wind turbine host in Brown County, Wisconsin and openly expresses his regrets to signing up with the wind developer (video available here).
There is additional testimony about the experiences of numerous families in Brown county living near the Shirley Industrial Wind Development (video available here).