Wind Proponents Fight To Conceal the Truth About Wind Turbines!

ABC’s “Ministry of Truth” – Media Watch – Cops Both Barrels from Graham Lloyd

shotgun

In response to the Media Watch report about The Australian’s coverage of wind farms
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
23 February 2015

THE Media Watch report of February 16 (“Turbine torture: do wind farms make you sick?”) is littered with mistakes, omissions and misrepresentations from the opening scenes.

The program represents blatant advocacy for commercial interests over the widespread concerns of a genuine minority group who deserve thorough investigation of their complaints.

The Australian provided balanced, factual reporting of a national issue of public interest where Media Watch indulged in what amounts to littlemore than ad hominem, ideological propaganda.

The Media Watch program misrepresented the National Health and Medical Research Council position that the quality of existing research into the possible health impacts of wind turbines is poor and that it will fund more high quality research.

NHMRC chief executive Warwick Anderson said “it is important to say no consistent evidence does not necessarily mean no effect on human health.”

Media Watch selectively quoted Cape Bridgewater report author Steven Cooper to give the impression that he rejected certain things when in fact he was simply not professionally qualified to make comment on them.

Media Watch failed to acknowledge that Mr Cooper had said publicly that at all times The Australian’s reporting had been accurate and faithful to the contents of his Cape Bridgewater report. This fact has been confirmed to Media Watch by other suitably qualified acousticians.

Media Watch failed to report information it had received from US acoustics expert Dr Rob Rand that ran counter to its predetermined view.

The Australian published concerns raised by Pacific Hydro and wind industry groups about the Cooper report.

It also published praise for the robust nature of Cooper’s work and the significance of his findings from some of the most qualified and eminent acoustics experts in the world.

At no time did The Australian offer an opinion on the issue.

In contrast, Media Watch relied on wind industry advocates in academia including social scientists, political studies academics and a medical expert witness employed by wind developers to ascribe the symptoms to the now discredited “nocebo effect”.

Media Watch sought to mischievously discredit The Australian’s reporting with a series of factual inaccuracies and through sins of omission.

The Media Watch report failed to detail or report the existence of formal studies and inquiries which run counter to its pre-determined view and glossed over the peer review support the Cooper report received from some of the world’s most qualified acoustic experts..

It ignored the findings of the 2011 Federal Senate Inquiry chaired by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which found proper research into the impact of wind turbines on nearby residents should be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

Media Watch quoted studies that supported its case but failed to acknowledge the fact that the impact of low frequency noise generated by early model turbines had been linked to the exact same symptoms as those being reported today more than 30 years ago in research conducted for the renewable energy industry by NASA.

Media Watch failed to acknowledge any of the balancing quotes and arguments contained within The Australian’s reporting of the issue.

Media Watch did not bother to contact Channel 7.

Here is a line by line dissection of the Media Watch report.

*****************

MW transcript:

Presenter: Tonight, for the first time, hard evidence wind farms aren’t safe.

Today Tonight voiceover: They were told they were blowing in the wind, that it was all in their heads.

Interviewee: I’m not telling furphies, it’s real, we can feel it.

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 21st January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

His name is David Mortimer, and he is a wind turbine host at InfigenEnergy’s Lake Bonney Wind Farm in South Australia who says he become unwell with characteristic symptoms of “wind turbine syndrome” soon after getting the turbines but didn’t know until very recently what was causing the symptoms.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Yes, as TT told us recently, those wind turbines are so bad that even the chickens get flustered.

■ The Australian’s response

No, animals become physiologically stressed when exposed to wind turbine noise (eg the Taiwanese goats who died, reported by the BBC, confirmed by the goat farmer and the Taiwanese Agricultural authorities. STRESSED chickens lay yolkless eggs — an observation also made in Britain by residents living near an airfield where bombers took off from — the excessive noise had the same impact on those chickens many years ago.

———————–

MW transcript:

Today Tonight voiceover: Even the chooks appeared spooked by something.

Interviewee: “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s not normal.”

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 21st January, 2015

Paul Barry: That TT footage on a wind farm in South Australia first got a run some two and a half years ago.

So why has it just popped up again?

Well, for much the same reason that radio hosts also went into a spin late last month:

ALAN JONES: “Now, it’s a headline today and it’s been called a world first study.”

— 2GB, The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 21st January, 2015

TIM BENNETT: “Probably the biggest story today … is this front page on The Australian.”

— ABC 639 North and West SA, Mornings with Tim Bennett (fill in presenter), 21st January, 2015

ROSS STEVENSON: “Front page of The Australian has an exclusive story that people living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints …”

— 3AW, Breakfast with Ross and John, 21st January, 2015

Paul Barry: Back in January The Australian headed its front page with an exclusive from Environment Editor Graham Lloyd, who told us excitedly in his opening paragraph:

“PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found.”

— The Australian, 21st January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

A statement issued by residents living near the Cape Bridgewater wind farm said; “Steven Cooper’s acoustic survey connects infrasound from wind turbines inside our homes with unacceptable health impacts.”

The Acoustic Group’s Principal, Mr Steven Cooper, was commissioned by wind developer Pacific Hydro to undertake an investigation into “noise” emitted from the wind farm as a result of our long unresolved complaints about the impact of Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind turbines on our health, on the habitability of our homes and on the quality of our lives. Symptoms we have experienced include severe nausea, headaches, ear pressure, inability to concentrate, and severe and debilitating sleep problems, which we have endured over the six years of operation of the Cape Bridgewater wind power facility.

The inclusion of complete shut-downs in the study clearly showed the wind farm generates specific infrasound frequencies that are directly related to the operation of the turbines.

Our diaries and the concurrent full spectrum acoustic measurements inside and outside our homes clearly demonstrate that it is the operation of the wind facility correlating with our symptoms.

The assertions made by others that our symptoms result from scaremongering (the nocebo effect) are untrue, and always have been. The inclusion of complete shut-down periods of the wind facility during the investigation reminded us of the general peace, serenity and wellbeing of our lives before the wind facility started operating.

The Cooper study was reviewed by well qualified acoustics experts.

Dr Bob Thorne, a psycho-acoustician who is also qualified to assess health impacts from noise and is considered an expert witness in court. Dr Thorne said in a written statement that the Cooper report was “ground breaking” and had made a “unique contribution to science”.

“At 235 pages for the report and six technical annexures (491 pages) the study cannot be matched by any previous wind farm study in Australia,” Dr Thorne said.

US acoustics expert Robert Rand said in a peer review of the Cooper Study;

“The correlation of sensation level to WTS tone level in the infrasonic and audible bands brings wind turbine acoustics right to the door of medical science. Medical tests in the homes, long overdue, can now be correlated directly to WTS.”

The study found that sensations including sleep disturbance were occurring with specific acoustic conditions. Those sensations included other symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and sensations of pressure. Sleep deprivation alone is an adverse health effect. Mr Cooper is not a medical practitioner and so cannot say it was a health study, but no medical practitioner would say that sleep deprivation or disturbance does not have adverse health effects if it is happening repeatedly …. so with the sleep deprivation alone there is going to be a greater risk of suffering health problems.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Mr Lloyd has been worried about wind farms for some time — and those yolkless eggs — so was he right to claim he’d at last found evidence that they damage your health?

■ The Australian’s response

This is a significant issue of widespread public interest involving the duty of care towards a minority group of citizens. Some residents claim they have been forced to abandon their homes. In this case, The Australian was faithfully reporting the findings of a report released publicly by Pacific Hydro and Steven Cooper and accompanying statements by residents both verbally and in writing. Steven Cooper has confirmed The Australian’s report to be accurate in all respects with regard to his report. International acoustic experts have confirmed the study demonstrates a cause and effect exists between sensations experienced by residents and the operation of the wind turbines. The Australian report included comments from Pacific Hydro that it did not accept a cause and effect relationship had been established.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Well, not according to several eminent scientists we talked to. And, remarkably, not according to Steven Cooper, the study’s author, who told Media Watch:

Steven Cooper: “No, it’s not correct … You can’t say that noise affects health from this study.”

— Steven Cooper, Acoustic Engineer, 28th January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

Cooper can’t say that, but the residents had already said it as had their treating doctors — all of the residents have been told by treating health practitioners to leave their homes in order to regain their health. Mr Cooper has said he had been quoted faithfully and his report treated fairly by The Australian in all regards.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: So what did Mr Cooper think about Today Tonight’s claims that he had provided the first hard evidence that wind farms are unsafe?

Well, no again.

Steven Cooper: “Absolutely not, that’s incorrect.”

— Steven Cooper, Acoustic Engineer, 28th January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

In fact, the first hard evidence was provided by Dr Neil Kelley and his team at NASA thirty years ago, who found that sleep disturbance and other symptoms and sensations were directly caused by wind turbine generated impulsive infrasound and low frequency noise. His finding led to a change in wind turbine design. More recently, British Acoustician and National Health and Medical Research Council Expert Reviewer for the 2011 NHMRC Rapid Review Professor Geoffrey Leventhall told the NHMRC workshop in 2011 that “annoyance symptoms’’ or “noise annoyance” symptoms were identical to “wind turbine syndrome” symptoms described by US Paediatric Specialist and researcher Dr Nina Pierpont. Media Watch’s academic commentator Simon Chapman was in the room when he said it.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: The company that commissioned the study, Pacific Hydro says it was not a scientific study, and not a health study, and does not show that wind farms are causing health complaints.

And asked on ABC Radio about this, Mr Cooper agreed.

Steven Cooper: “Pacific Hydro are correct that we don’t have a correlation in terms of medical and I agree with that 100 per cent.”

— ABC Ballarat, Mornings with Anne-Marie Middlemast, 21st January, 2015

Paul Barry: So how come The Australian and Today Tonight got it so wrong.

The head of medicine at Adelaide University, Professor Gary Wittert, told Media Watch:

Professor Gary Wittert: “The way The Australian reported this study was really the antithesis of good science reporting. I think a newspaper like The Australian should know better.”

— Professor Gary Wittert, Head of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, 6th February, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

Mr Cooper has said that Lloyd’s reporting was accurate. The residents were reporting sensations including sleep deprivation, nausea and headaches. Does Professor Wittert consider that these sensations are not adverse health effects? And that chronic sleep deprivation does not itself cause long term health problems? Has he actually read the acoustic investigation and does he understand what was found?

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And he’s by no means the only one to express that view.

■ The Australian’s response

Professor Wittert has repeatedly given expert evidence to court cases stating that the nocebo effect rather than infrasound and low frequency noise are directly causing the reported symptoms. Mr Cooper’s data from his acoustic investigation suggests Professor Wittert’s expert opinion is wrong.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Writing in The Conversation, the Australian National University’s Jacqui Hoepner and Will Grant also condemned The Australian’s front page story and the study it was based on, branding it:

“… an exemplary case of what we consider to be bad science and bad science reporting.”

— The Conversation, 22nd January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

And these two have no relevant qualifications. Grant has a PhD in politics, and Hoepner is a journalist. Neither has either medical or acoustical training or experience.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And Sydney University’s professor of public health Simon Chapman was even more damning*, telling Media Watch:

Simon Chapman: “Scientifically, it’s an absolutely atrocious piece of research and is entirely unpublishable other than on the front page of The Australian.”**

— Professor Simon Chapman, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 23rd January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

*Simon Chapman is not a medical practitioner. He has previously told people his PhD is in sociology. It was on the topic of “Cigarette Advertising As Myth: A Re-Evaluation Of The Relationship Of Advertising To Smoking”. He has worked closely with the wind industry, and has declined to ever directly investigate or visit adversely impacted people. He has vilified them, he has called them “wind farm wingnuts” however he did admit in the senate inquiry in 2012 that sleep deprivation could be a problem if it was occurring.

In a statement to the federal Senate on June 17, 2014, John Madigan said of Professor Chapman:

“It is fair and reasonable to encourage people to look behind the blatant campaigning done by people like Professor Chapman of the University of Sydney. Professor Chapman has been an outspoken critic of those who have dared to question the wind farm orthodoxy. But is Professor Chapman a medical doctor? Is he legally entitled to examine and treat patients? Is he qualified in acoustics or any other aspect of audiology? Is he a sleep specialist? Does he hold any qualifications in bioacoustics or physiology or neuroscience? How many wind farm victims has he interviewed directly? How many wind farm impacted homes has he visited? Professor Chapman claims to receive no payment from the wind industry. How many wind industry conferences, seminars and events has he spoken at? How many wind industry events has he attended? Writing on the Crikey website in November 2011, Professor Chapman lamented how many conferences do not pay speaker’s fees, and, when one conference organiser refused to pay his hotel bill, he withdrew. This is the same Professor Chapman who was photographed at a campaign launch in Melbourne by the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.

As a public health academic, Professor Chapman displays a lack of compassion for people who claim to be suffering debilitating effects from pervasive wind turbine noise. Professor Chapman’s undergraduate qualifications were in sociology. His PhD looked into the relationship between cigarette smoke and advertising. I question his expertise, I question his qualifications and I question his unbridled motivation to promote and support the wind industry at the cost of people’s lives, homes and communities. I question Professor Chapman’s lack of interest in speaking with wind industry victims. Professor Chapman has a record of public denigration of victims.’’

**This is in marked contrast to Mr Cooper’s REAL peers who have entirely the opposite opinions. Properly qualified acoustics experts in Australia and the United States have called it “groundbreaking” and a “unique contribution”.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: So what exactly is wrong with the study and why should it not have been headline news? Well, first, it was not published in an academic journal* or peer reviewed by independent experts**.

■ The Australian’s response

*Oh, if something is not published in a journal it is not good science? Well what about PhD’s??? They are not published in journals? Are they not “science”?

**The Cooper report has been extensively reviewed by independent experts. The reviewers have included the top environmental acoustics researcher in the world, Dr Paul Schomer, who has written acoustics standards in the US and internationally. It also included Mr George Hessler, who has worked as a consultant acoustician for the wind industry for years in the USA. It is highly significant that a wind industry preferred acoustician is coming out and endorsing Mr Cooper’s acoustic investigation so strongly. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Second, it had a tiny sample.

■ The Australian’s response

Tiny samples are fine. Patients are a sample of one. Just one patient (or one black swan) is enough to prove a scientific point. In his peer review of the Cooper Research, Dr Paul Schomer said “One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of just one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none,” he said. “It only takes one example to prove that a broad assertion (that there are no impacts) is not true, and that is the case here.” 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Just three households and six respondents.

■ The Australian’s response

SIX BLACK SWANS. All of them experienced the symptoms when the turbines were turning …. But not when they were not exposed to operating turbines and there were no wind gusts.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry:Third … there was what scientists call selection bias, because all those people already had health problems which they blamed on Pacific Hydro’s wind farm at Victoria’s Cape Bridgewater, 1.6 kilometres or less from their homes.

■ The Australian’s response

Selection bias is irrelevant when the study design is identical to a prospective case series with a cross over component, where people are their own controls, and what varies is their exposure to operating wind turbines. The Australian received written advice from a professor of epidemiology that this is precisely the design of the acoustic survey investigation proposed by Pacific Hydro and used by Steven Cooper. This study design is also used in pharmaceutical trials, to determine safety thresholds for medications, and to help establish whether or not a direct causal relationship exists. It is therefore a perfect study design for this sort of investigation.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And fourth, all knew if the wind farm was operating because they could see the blades.

■ The Australian’s response

WRONG. They could NOT see the blades — especially when they were inside their homes, in their beds, and woken up from a sleep. That is just ridiculous. Besides the Cooper study says one resident had 100 per cent correlation with being able to tell then the turbines were operating without seeing them when he was there doing attended measurements. She could NOT SEE them — this is just FALSE reporting. Or perhaps Media Watch didn’t read the report very carefully… 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Now you can’t blame these on Steven Cooper because the parameters were set by Pacific Hydro who commissioned the research.

But scientifically, say the experts, it means the results can’t be trusted. 

■ The Australian’s response

ABC experts are conflicted, Wittert and Chapman have a history of working closely with the wind industry to protect its commercial interests, either as expert witness in court cases or to push the now disproved nocebo effect as the cause for the resident’s “sensations” which in Cooper’s study correlated with specific acoustic emissions — powering up and powering down.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Indeed, in Professor Chapman’s view: 

Simon Chapman: “The media should have treated this with absolute contempt.”

— Professor Simon Chapman, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 23rd January, 2015

Paul Barry: Now there’s no doubt that some people living close to wind farms have health problems.

And they believe that the wind farms are the cause.

But as The Conversation reminded us … a recent study in the British Medical Journal found they are not alone in having these health complaints.

“… almost 90% of the general population experienced many of the common symptoms associated with wind turbine syndrome within a given week.”

— The Conversation, 22nd January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

The BMJ article and Grant and Hoepner and Chapman and others ignore the cross over effect — when residents are exposed, they have symptoms and when they are not exposed, they do not have those symptoms and sensations. The Australian has written advice from a professor of epidemiology that the study could be classified as a small cross over trial.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Much of the debate turns on whether there’s something special about the noise from wind farms that makes them harmful to health … even if the noise is below health limits. 

■ The Australian’s response

Just what do Media Watch mean by “below health limits”? The Australian has been advised that Kelley established those health limits thirty years ago in the NASA trials and Cooper’s results were almost identical. Above 50 dB at 4 Hz people who are sensitised to the sound energy experience and report unpleasant sensations.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: The study’s author Steven Cooper has long believed there is … and that it’s called infrasound.

■ The Australian’s response

Cooper is not the only one. Broner, the only acoustic expert on the NHMRC committee also believed it on the basis of empirical evidence in a paper delivered to the 2007 International Acoustics Congress in Madrid, “The missing 16 Hz, Can We Live With It?”

Abstract:

“As the need for power increases, power utilities are resorting to the use of peaking plants incorporating Open Cycle Gas Turbines. OCGT manufacturers generally supply noise data for these down to the 31.5 Hz octave band. However, most of these units also generate significant energy in the 16 Hz octave band. Both of these bands need to be considered when assessing potential noise impact on neighbouring residential communities.”

———————–

MW transcript:

Steven Cooper: “Infrasound is energy that appears in the spectrum below what the human ear can normally hear.”

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 4th June, 2012

Paul Barry: Infrasound, says Cooper, interferes with our sleep and our brain patterns.

And he says his latest study suggests … sensations people feel near wind farms … may be caused by the infrasound the turbines produce.

But so far mainstream experts have not been convinced.

■ The Australian’s response

NO, it is the ABC’s “experts” who are not acousticians who are connected with the wind industry who are not convinced.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Cooper’s theories were dismissed by a senate inquiry into wind farm noise back in 2011. 

■ The Australian’s response

Cooper didn’t give evidence in the 2011 inquiry. He gave evidence to the 2012 inquiry chaired by Senator Doug Cameron. That senate inquiry had two dissenting reports. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And dismissed again in 2013 by South Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency.

■ The Australian’s response

Cooper’s work at Cape Bridgewater has shown that the SA EPA survey was wrong — indeed chapter 9 of his report is devoted to explaining why. 

———————– 

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And dismissed again by South Australia’s Land & Environment Court last year. 

■ The Australian’s response

That court also found that a nocebo effect explained symptoms when the medical expert for the wind developer had admitted that there was no evidence of a nocebo effect in the witnesses who gave statements …. and at the time, Cooper’s research findings were only preliminary. His research and report is AFTER all of these events and is NEW knowledge, but consistent with the Kelley findings thirty years ago which the wind industry knew ALL about. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Yet The Australian and Today Tonight omitted to tell us these important facts.

They also omitted to tell us that, as Professor Chapman puts it:

Simon Chapman: “There are 24 high-quality reviews about wind farms and health, and overwhelmingly they have been found to be safe.”

— Professor Simon Chapman, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 23rd January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

THIS IS NOT TRUE. Many of the reviews Chapman cites state that there is not a lot of scientific evidence. NONE of them say they are SAFE. The National Health and Medical Research Council recently reviewed 4000 pieces of literature and found only 13 were suitable for evaluation and none could be considered high quality. As a result it said the impact of wind turbines on health remained an open scientific question and that it would call for targeted, high quality research. A priority area is low frequency and infrasound. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Indeed, last week, the government’s National Health and Medical Research Council published the results of its review of seven studies of wind farms and health.

And the NHMRC came to the conclusion that:

“There is no consistent* evidence that noise from wind turbines … is associated with self-reported human health effects.”**

— National Health and Medical Research Council, Systematic review of the human health effects of wind farms, 11 February, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

*The NHMRC cannot and did not say there is NO evidence of adverse health effects, because they know that is untrue. In other words, Professor Chapman’s assertions that wind turbines are safe is not supported by the NHMRC’s statement, or by the existing scientific evidence.

“Given the poor quality of current direct evidence and the concern expressed by some members of the community, high quality research into possible health effects of wind farm, particularly within 1500 metres is warranted,” the NHMRC statement said.

NHMRC chief executive Warwick Anderson said “It is important to say no consistent evidence does not necessarily mean no effect on human health.’’

“From a scientific perspective I see the question as still open,” he said.

Professor Bruce Armstrong, chair of the NHMRC’s wind farm committee said “to not investigate would be negligent from a public health point of view.” Dr Armstrong said research into low frequency and infrasound was an important priority “because it is what people who are concerned about health impacts focus on and it is not something that has been done particularly well to date.” 

**Self-reported adverse health effects are accepted as evidence by doctors for the purposes of accurate diagnosis on the basis of clinical history, and are accepted in courts as evidence. They are a crucial part of assessing human response to sound frequencies, just as Mr Cooper’s report demonstrated. The next step is to include physiological testing as well as the self-reported symptoms.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: But unlike the Cooper study that news did not make The Australian’s front page. 

■ The Australian’s response

But, unlike Media Watch, it was reported accurately in the paper. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And just three days after the NHMRC said there is no evidence that wind farms are harmful to health, Graham Lloyd came back to suggest there is. 

■ The Australian’s response

Yes, because a peer review by one of the world’s leading acoustic experts said just that and was reported. The Cooper research was not included in the NHMRC review. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Unseen, unheard wind farms a blow to health

“GROUNDBREAKING Australian research has established a “cause and effect” existed between wind farms and health impacts on some nearby residents, a peer review by one of the world’s leading acoustic experts says.”

— The Weekend Australian, 14-15 February, 2015

Paul Barry: That so-called groundbreaking research was the Cooper study … again.

The one that Professor Chapman* describes as an atrocious piece of research and other experts** assure us is bad science.

■ The Australian’s response

*Chapman, the Tobacco Advertising Propaganda Expert, sociologist, and wind industry advocate. 

**No, not EXPERTS. Hand selected advocates for the wind industry carefully chosen by the ABC, for the wind industry who do not have any research qualifications or experience in directly investigating the circumstances of the sick people. ANU PhD candidate and journalist, Jacqui Hoepner, and her supervisor, Will Grant, who describes himself as “a talker, writer, thinker and reader, based primarily at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU. His talking / writing / thinking / reading has focused mostly on the intersection of science, politics and society, and how this is changing in response to new technologies.”

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: And the expert quoted in this ‘peer’ review was an American scientist who has long agreed with Mr Cooper’s theories. 

■ The Australian’s response

No, “the scientist” was two very eminent acousticians, one of whom has spent most of his life consulting to and for the WIND INDUSTRY (Hessler) and the other is the leading environmental acoustics researcher in the world — and DIRECTOR of ACOUSTICS Standards and chair of the American delegation to the International Standards Committee. Dr Schomer has not “long agreed with Mr Cooper’s theories” — he and four other acousticians including three who work almost exclusively for the wind industry (Bruce Walker, George and David Hessler) conducted the research at the Shirley Wind Farm reported in December 2012 which measured the full spectrum of sound inside and outside homes and came to the conclusion that infrasound and low frequency noise were an issue and that they could affect the future of the wind industry.

Peer reviewers Schomer and Hessler both completely understood the value of what Cooper had done and came out strongly because it is indeed Cause and Effect. People did NOT get the symptoms when the turbines were not turning but did get symptoms when they were turning. There was an exception for one resident who is extremely sensitised AND there were wind gusts which shook the towers, induced vibrations which she could feel, even though she could not see the towers. 

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: But let’s go back to what Cooper himself told the ABC about how groundbreaking this research is.

Asked about whether he has found a correlation between infrasound and headaches or other sensations of which people were complaining he said:

Steven Cooper: “I don’t have enough data to say a correlation. The study is limited, it’s a pilot study and there’s a trend line that’s very clear. Correlation needs a lot more scientific rigour with a larger population to come up with the answer.”

— ABC Ballarat, Mornings with Anne-Marie Middlemast, 21st January, 2015

■ The Australian’s response

Cooper was being deliberately very conservative. In a written response to The Australian, prior to the Media Watch episode Mr Cooper said “The study does show a link between the operation of the wind farm and the disturbances reported by the residents. There is a trend not a correlation (because there is not enough data and that wasn’t the brief) However, one can take the reports of the residents who form the view there is a link to their health impacts.”

Lloyd has met and interviewed residents who have explained the “disturbances” they have experienced and are in no doubt that they consider them to be health impacts, some have even been advised by their medical practitioners to leave their homes as a result. Their concerns about health impacts and understanding of what Cooper had found were expressed in a media statement of which Media Watch was or should have been fully aware.

———————–

MW transcript:

Paul Barry: Now … The Australian has sent us a long statement defending its original coverage which we’d encourage you to read on our website. But its key point is:

“… The Australian believes this is clearly an issue of significant public interest, worthy of presentation on page one and of extensive investigation and further reporting.”

— Clive Mathieson, Editor, The Australian, 8th February, 2015

Paul Barry: Well, we’d certainly agree that more work needs to be done.

But we believe The Australian needs to get its facts right, and to approach it in a more scientific and objective fashion.

■ The Australian’s response

No, the ABC needs to follow its own advice and “get its facts right, and approach it in a more scientific and objective fashion”. It Is also about time the ABC started accurately identifying conflicts of interest in its “experts” and stopped putting pre-recorded programs to air which refer to vulnerable and sick rural residents as “DICK BRAINS” — Annabel Crabb on the science show, aired by Robin Williams in January 2015.
The Australian

graham-lloyd

 

 

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