Bound & Gagged: Wind Industry Shuts Down Community Complaints Using Punitive Gag Clauses

The wind industry is a law unto itself, merrily crushing community opposition with the help of pliant and gullible politicians. And, where corruption reaches its natural limit, cash takes over. Mind you, spending other people’s money is always a treat.

Leases with farmers who ‘host’ the turbines and so-called “good neighbour” agreements with their neighbours who would otherwise suffer the torment from incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound without any compensation for their misery, all contain bullet proof gag clauses. Contractual terms designed to prevent any complaint or criticism of the wind power outfit in question, any of its activities, its wind turbines, the noise and shadow flicker they generate, anywhere, anytime, at all, ever.

Good neighbour agreements are a standard form and provide for the same result: you the neighbour are paid around $5-8,000 per year in exchange for which you relinquish every statutory and common law right you possess (including the ability to sue for noise nuisance) and are bound to never, ever talk about the agreement, or your eternal self-inflicted suffering.

At a distance of 1,000m to 2,000m from 3MW turbines, your home will be practically uninhabitable (and, therefore, worthless), outside that distance your home will still be uncomfortable and you’ll still face long-term sleep deprivation: high levels of low-frequency noise and infrasound have been measured inside homes out to 8.7km from 3MW Vestas V90s at Waterloo in SA (see our post here).

The Gares, South Australian farmers paid $200,000 per year to host 19 2MW Suzlon S88s, people who would know, wouldn’t buy a house within 20km of a wind farm: SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

An example of a developer’s gag contract is available here: Wind Farm BS Deed_DI_opt

What follows is a detailed dissection of the type of clause set out in the example linked above and just what the so-called “good neighbour” or lease agreements mean for the people stupid enough to enter one.

Wind companies choke truth with gag orders
The Anderson County Review
Dane Hicks
28 January 2019

The wind may blow free, but the use of gag orders in lease agreements and easements that force property owners to keep their mouths shut about the realities they endure as sites for those giant wind turbines makes information flow anything but.

That’s critical in this fat cat, tax-credit fueled industry which, more and more, depends on secrecy as much as it does a steady breeze. Wind farm developers like to point to thousands of lease holders at projects across the country and how few complaints they have about their gigantic neighbors, but they never mention the source of all that satisfaction – prosecution and financial ruination due to gag clauses in those signed leases and easement agreements. Indeed, where you can keep control of the smoke, there’s no evidence of a fire.

Keeping tight control of information and particularly criticism from eye-witnesses is allowing wind companies like those moving against targets in Linn and Neosho counties and other rural communities in Kansas to go about their business without interference from public regulatory authorities and other outsiders who want to chronicle precisely how much damage is being done by wind turbines.

Silenced victims suffer for their property, their environment and their own health. But the gag orders that bind those lease holders are clear: Speak up, particularly to the media, and not only will your lease payments disappear but we’ll sue you – and we’ll still have a 55-story tall tower on your land which you can’t stop us from operating.

Perhaps the most damning casualty of this secrecy is in the kibosh it has put to extended research on Wind Turbine Syndrome, a health condition identified among many people living near wind turbines and believed to be caused by light flicker from the moving blades, fluctuations in air pressure as those blades move past their base tower and low-frequency noise they produce.

In her book “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A report on a natural experiment,” Dr. Nina Pierpont conducted extensive clinical interviews with 10 families living near wind farm turbines both in the U.S. and abroad. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine-trained pediatrician discovered a striking uniformity of complaints from these families – migraine, motion sickness, vertigo, noise and visual and gastrointestinal sensitivity, and anxiety.

Between the time of her interviews and the final publication of the book, nine of the ten families had fled their homes for residences away from wind farms, and a 10th who couldn’t afford to move did extensive renovations to their house in an attempt to defeat the pressure and frequency issues, and had reduced air flow inside the home to the point it was now hard to heat.

A full-on epidemiological study however will probably never be done – one that correlates the common symptoms Pierpont identified and possible causes like setback from a turbine and what aspects of exposure to measure – because the bulk of the study subjects are all gagged.

“Better Plan Wisconsin” is a wind farm opposition organization in the Badger State which got hold of a wind farm lease from a farmer who’d had enough. The story is nearly identical state to state and lease to lease. Landowners who sign leases or easements can’t discuss noise, vibration, shadow flicker or any disruptions the turbines might cause to their properties.

The gag orders stop all discussion regarding the terms of the lease, or the construction or operation of the turbines, as well as speaking to reporters or to anyone in the media or issuing statements or press releases without the written permission of the wind company. Then there’s this jewel: “This section shall survive the termination of expiration of this lease,” meaning the gag order survives forever, even after the lease is terminated. Under the threat of litigation, you are gagged for life.

Still, impoverished county leaders and farmers embrace the promise of lease payments and payments in lieu of taxes (Kansas wind farms are exempt from property taxes, unlike other power plants), ignoring the deafening silence coming from those signed to the lease agreements.

Yes, silence is golden. That’s just how the wind companies want it.
The Anderson County Review

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Richard Mann says:

    Important 28-minute documentary by the science programme “planet e.” of the second German television ZDF — November 4, 2018. Discusses infra sound from Industrial wind turbines. Many experts interviewed.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    I wonder if someone was asked to sign a ‘gag’ clause in a contract that offered money for silence if an asbestos plant or some other objectionable industry was built next to them that could result in adverse health outcomes, would it be accepted by the legal fraternity or even Governments!!!!!!
    Everyone should have the right to complain or speak on any subject that concerns them – its called ‘free speech’. But then money out weighs justice doesn’t it.
    And where are the goodie goodies who spout about the dangers of ‘climate change’ and how it’s going to destroy communities and the way they and we live – what about them standing up for peoples right to speak out if something is wrong in their environment now?

  3. Mark Twichell says:

    In addition to industry gag orders are the non-disclosure nuisance lawsuits that follow all wind facilities like dark clouds. Attorneys working in concert with the wind industry appear in afflicted communities promising financial compensation to devastated turbine neighbors. The carpetbagging lawyers urge their class action clients to keep quiet while waiting five-plus years for financial settlements from the wind company. We can’t blame the victims for hoping to get enough money to escape their unmarketable homes. And we wonder how strong opposition to this industry could be if the majority of rural people were not silenced by this crooked playbook.

  4. In Ontario we have employees at a home for senior citizens who have signed a gag order saying they will not report harm from nearby turbines. If they do they will lose their job.

  5. Noel Dean says:

    Gag clauses are nothing more than an act of potential human cruelty to bluff the fools who have signed confidential agreements.

    In relation to financial agreements, or public comments in relation to wind farm operators with which agreements have been made, it must be realized that opinions are opinions only, and not factual evidence. Wind farm operations are legally required to meet best practice guidelines first and foremost in honesty – because this has NOT happened…

    Like the WAUBRA WIND FARM, which has been promoted using information the turned out to be mostly false and misleading, I think it is time for a Royal Commission into the Wind Industry. I had reservations in regards to a Royal Commission because of the National Wind Farm Commissioner’s cover up of the truth. It now appears that criminal charges may be laid against the crooks in the banking industry for dishonesty. If this does happen it will surely be a good thing.

    If the same was done in the energy sector it would be a good thing as well. The only reason that the Wind Industry has not been made accountable is the wall of money protecting it.

    The financial cost to challenge Windies in court is prohibitive. The potential human cost, as in mental health, and the high potential of the risk of suicide has or could have dire consequences . .

    There is no lack of evidence of wrong doing and dishonesty by those in government departments, including the EPA and, of course, the lying Crooks in the Wind Industry. This includes their claimed to be acoustic ‘experts’ who can not understand the wording in written English.

    Noel Dean

  6. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  7. A well-known modus operandi and sometimes the bottom line effects are not fully or even not partly understood…

  8. Peter Pronczak says:

    WOW! I thought slavery was forever illegal.

    It would be interesting to know how many politicians have, or live near to a wind farm or, if some person would be willing to install a compliant turbine next to a prominent politician’s dwelling just to see what effect it would have.

    Perhaps though, there is some covenant that excludes individuals from buying one of these monsters for personal use.

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