Wind Weasels Do NOT Care Who They Hurt!

Wind Power Outfits – Thugs and Bullies the World Over

tn_conwal-graveyard-6nov10-114

Potential threat to burial site on route to wind farm
Press release, Inishowen, Donegal, Ireland
4 March 2015

PRESS RELEASE

The developer of the wind farm at Crockbrack Hill has sent the Council a map that shows the route the turbines and related material will take from Noone’s Bridge past Ballinacrae Chapel into the Long Glen.

One local resident has said:

“I have recently had sight of the transport route of the wind turbines destined for Crockbrack Hill, near Kinnagoe Bay.

The most disturbing aspect of the plan is to cut through the field beside Ballinacrae Chapel to widen and build up the road to take the weight, width and length of lorries carrying turbines, cranes and concrete.

This passes close to the site of the old Ballinacrae chapel and graveyard which is still in use. Across the road is the new chapel and new graveyard.

What concerns me is that in my generation many of us know of relatives who died before baptism and in later life in tragic circumstances who were not buried on consecrated ground. It was traditional custom and practise for burials in children’s graves or along the hedges and walls on the outside of graveyards, in the adjacent field.

I go cold at the thought of a contractor possibly digging up human bones of all ages and discarding them in a pile of rubble to be dumped in a pit on Crockbrack hill”.

Another local resident said:

“Two years ago we went to local councillors and they knew nothing about the wind farm or the route. Since then they have promised that the tree in Moville would be saved from having to be chopped down to get the wind turbines through the village. And now this. This is far more upsetting.”

END OF PRESS RELEASE

After the above was printed in one paper, phone calls came asking for interviews on the local radio. It was of interest to the press. It was clearly of public interest. The local residents were excited and reassured by the level of media interest.

What the local residents didn’t expect was how the developer would respond.

He rang the paper and threatened them with his solicitors.

A letter from his solicitors duly arrived at the paper threatening legal action against the paper.

Then he sent the same solicitor’s letter to all the other print media and radio media in the area.

We are told by a reliable source that his solicitor letters stated the article defamed the developer.

You may have noticed that the developer’s name is not mentioned in the article. Nor was it in the solicitor’s letter demanding a correction.

The developers are two brothers out of Letterkenny called Eamonn and Niall Doherty. They have several wind companies (11 at the last count). The company that is developing the Kinnagoe Bay Crockbrack Hill wind farm is Regan Wind (Company Number: 495480). Their solicitors are Lanigan and Clarke. The consultants preparing the application, amendments and appeals are Harley Newman, Planning and Development Consultants. This is a partnership between Jim Harley and Conall Newman.

The residents are left bemused by the developer’s tactics.

  • Were they not planning to do an archaeological survey on that part of the field close to the graveyard, before any work began?
  • If they found remains, would it hold up the development?
  • Has the Council given them permission to go ahead?

The permission for the Wind Farm was granted in December 2012 by An Bord Pleanála, after an appeal by the developer to Donegal Council’s rejection of it. An Bord Pleanála rejected their own Inspector’s recommendation to turn down the appeal on the grounds that the site is inappropriate for a wind farm. Since then the developer has put in seven amendments and another appeal. He has yet to start building.

Absent from the An Bord Pleanála Conditions attached to the permission was the need for the developer to state the route to be used for the transportation of the turbines and relevant materials. Is this unusual?

Equally significant, the absence of a Condition addressing the route means that An Bord Pleanála obviously then did not require an Archaeological Survey on that land.

The residents are left with questions.

  • What is more important, the developers’ profit or possibly disturbing the sanctity of the dead?
  • Why so heavy handed with the press and media over a stretch of land? What are they frightened of?
  • If they intended to do an archaeological survey, which they have to do on the site itself, why wouldn’t they say so?
  • Are they hiding something?
  • Will they use these kinds of tactics again?

National Wind Watch

Kinnego Bay in north Inishowen

Curt Devlin’s…. “WIND TURBINE TORTURE!” A MUST READ!

Wind Turbine Torture

People are willing to tolerate, approve, and contribute to the torture of their neighbors with the ill effects of wind turbines simply because they have been told by public officials, the media, or green zealots that it is necessary to ‘save the planet’ from global climate change.

By Curt Devlin

It is easy to forget just how essential sleep is to health and happiness; until of course, you yourself have been deprived of it for a night or two. Firsthand experience of sleep deprivation, even for a few days, is a powerful reminder of how mentally and physically debilitating it is. Even the ongoing disruption or restriction of sleep for a relatively short period of time can have devastating health consequences. Medicalresearch has clearly shown that sleep is essential to human health and wellbeing. Prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to memory loss, hallucination, weakened resistance to pain, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, impaired immune response, extreme anxiety, stress, clinical depression, and suicide. In the most extreme cases, animal experimentation suggests that lack of sleep can kill you.

Sleep deprivation has long been recognized as torture by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT), and the United States War Crimes Act. Depriving someone of proper sleep is torture, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by the CIA against suspected terrorists, OR by reckless planning authorities who permit the wind industry to site industrial-scale wind turbines in residential neighborhoods, or by noise pollution regulatory authorities and health authorities who ignore consistent reports of sleep deprivation from neighboring residents. When authorities deem developments “compliant” with regulations, or wind developers effect specious mitigations; they are inflicting torture. They are violating fundamental human rights.

Recently, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released what has come to be known as the Torture Report. It reveals that sleep deprivation was one of the frequently used CIA “enhanced interrogation” tactics. The use of prolonged sleep deprivation led Committee Chairman, Diane Feinstein to conclude “…that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured.” She goes on to say “…that the conditions of confinement and the use of authorized and unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were cruel, inhuman, and degrading.” The same can be said of the practice of siting industrial turbines too close to homes. Failure to take action to stop excessive noise pollution, or to enforce existing legal limits on “noise nuisance” whenever noise-induced sleep disturbance or deprivation is reported by wind turbine neighbors, hosts, or their families is full complicity with torture.

It is grimly ironic that the US Senate Committee condemns sleep deprivation as cruel and inhuman when used by the CIA interrogators on terror suspects, but blithely ignores it when imposed by wind developers and local authorities on ordinary, law-abiding citizens who pose no threat to anyone. The only threat they pose is to the income generated by taxpayer subsidies to unscrupulous wind developers.

Is it really fair to compare the torture of detainees to that of turbine neighbors? Consider that the detainees were forced to endure sleeplessness for a few days at a time on many occasions, but never more than a week. Wind turbine victims must endure this same deprivation for arbitrary periods of time whenever the wind is blowing, sometimes intermittently for decades. Often, their only hope of escape or reprieve from this torment is to flee their homes which no one will buy—despite the fact that they are not suspected of any crimes whatsoever. At least detainees were not forced to lie awake and watch their families suffer the same deprivation.

When the turbines were shut down during a winter storm with near hurricane-force winds, one young mother of infant twins living in Fairhaven, Massachusetts USA wrote “Isn’t it crazy that in a weird twist it takes a blizzard to give us peace. According to the power dash the beasts stopped at around 9PM.” Later on, she wrote, “I sleep ok in the basement but the babies still wake up randomly almost every night.” Most who are tortured by turbines will tell you that “the beast” can usually finds them even when they are hiding in the cellar. Not only are people kept awake by the turbines, but they must endure headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulties, and in some cases uncontrollable anxiety and severe acute depression.

In one incident described in the Torture Report, an Afghani named Arsala Khan “…suffered disturbing hallucinations after 56 hours of standing sleep deprivation….” Afterwards, the CIA determined that he actually was not involved in any plans or activities to harm the U.S! The innocent victims tortured by the wind industry are in a position to know just how it feels to be tortured indiscriminately.

Publicly, the Bush administration and the CIA chose to describe their treatment of detainees as “enhanced interrogation.” The wind industry chooses to call its noise impact mere “annoyance” and refer to residents’ “concerns”. These euphemisms are carefully selected to conceal the ugly reality that sleep deprivation is torture, plain and simple. Such terms attempt to hide what is known to be—by any standard of human decency—utterly wrong and depraved. The Senate Intelligence Committee and others have begun to shine a spotlight on the CIA torture program; but the wind industry program of cruelty continues to operate with impunity, largely beyond the glare of public scrutiny.

When the US Senate Committee report placed the issue of torture front and center in the media, it prompted outrage among some journalists, who have used terms like ‘depravity,’ ‘harrowing,’ and ‘gruesome’ to describe the techniques used by the CIA. Yet the media has no outrage when prolonged sleep deprivation and cruelties are routinely visited on local neighborhoods throughout America and across the world. When the subject turns to wind turbines, all talk of human rights violationsimmediately goes silent.

Remarkably, and despite the condemnation of the Intelligence Committee and the outraged media reaction to it, public opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans still consider the CIA’s use of torture justified. Even those who disagree with this view, may be able to understand it. The rationale for torture is that it was necessary to prevent another 911; but what, then, is the rationale for torturing ordinary men, women, and children in their own homes on a nightly basis? What accounts for the almost universal apathy of government officials, mainstream media, and the general public, toward the victims of wind energy? It seems America is one nation, with liberty, and justice for all—except for those unlucky few, who can be tortured without any good cause at all. Our silence gives consent to continue.

Perhaps this silence about turbine victims can be partially explained by a monumental form of social denial. Psychologists have noted that when confronted with tacit complicity with torture, most people tend to diminish in their own minds the actual harm being inflicted. Terms like ‘enhanced interrogation’ and ‘annoyance’ encourage such forms of self-deception. However, this pervasive complicity with torture cannot be fully explained by denial alone. There is a far more ominous and compelling explanation supplied long ago by the experiments of Stanley Milgram.

In 1962, Milgram, a Harvard-trained psychologist, devised a set of experiments designed to explain why people are willing to accept and even participate in torture. Initially, Milgram thought it was a lack of moral fiber. Prior to conducting his experiments, Milgram believed that most Americans were morally superior to those who were responsible for the torture and atrocities of the Holocaust. He predicted that most of his (American) subjects would reject the use of torture out of hand. Milgram also polled many of his fellow psychologists, who made similar predictions. Contrary to all expectations, however, Milgram’s experiment actually proved that about two thirds of Americans were willing to administer torture by electroshock to innocent victims, even to the point of possible lethality, simply because they were told by someone in a position of perceived authority that it was necessary to do so. Contrary to the much beloved American mythology of rugged individualism and personal independence, Milgram has shown that most Americans are just as blindly obedient to authority as everyone else.

Since that time, Milgram’s experiment has been repeated dozens of times by him and other scientists, with subjects from different counties and cultures, but the results are always the same. About 65% of all subjects are willing to administer torture—even to the point of lethality—as long as someone in authority tells them it is necessary. Even when controls are added to identify potentially confounding factors, this result is highly repeatable. This shows that obedience to authority, even to the point of partaking in torture of innocent victims, is so deeply ingrained in human nature that it transcends language, culture, and moral outlook—it is a truly global phenomenon. The evidence for this is sadly pervasive.

People are willing to ignore, condone, and even participate in torturing detainees simply because they are told that it was necessary to protect America from new terrorist attacks. Similarly, people are willing to tolerate, approve, and contribute to the torture of their neighbors with the ill effects of wind turbines simply because they have been told by public officials, the media, or green zealots that it is necessary to “save the planet” from global climate change. There is ample evidence to show that torture is not an effective means of interrogation and that industrial wind turbines cannot stem climate change. No matter. Like subjects in Milgram’s experiment, the public is being told by authority that “the experiment requires that you continue.”

In a position paper entitled Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and Human Rights First (HRF) have collaborated to publish a detailed condemnation of the CIA torture program, as well as the participation of physicians in these practices. Section 6 specifically details the physical harm and health consequences of forced sleep deprivation and interruption. It also delineates the criminal consequences for anyone who knowingly engages in it. Here it is pointed out that “the U.S. State Department has condemned Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey for using sleep deprivation as a form of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.”

In case anyone is inclined to minimize sleep deprivation as mere annoyance, as the wind industry and its advocates would have you believe; Leave No Marks goes on to note that:

Even sleep restriction of four hours per night for less than a week can result in physical harm, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, altered glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Sleep deprivation can impair immune function and result in increased risk of infectious diseases. Further, chronic pain syndromes are associated with alterations in sleep continuity and sleep patterns.

Many of those who are routinely awakened by nearby industrial turbines would consider themselves lucky to get even four consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. This paper notes that U.S. federal courts have found that sleep deprivation is also a violation of the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Perhaps it is time for groups like Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights First and indeed the medical profession generally, to turn their intention toward the ongoing torture and cruelty perpetrated by the wind industry. Surely, such acts are criminal whether they are committed by governments or private industry.

Dr. William Hallstein, treating psychiatrist from Falmouth USA, made it abundantly clear that the impacts of the turbines are indeed tantamount to torture in his letter to the Falmouth Town Board of Health. It is telling that Justice Muse from the Falmouth Superior Court issued an injunction in December 2013 to prevent “irreparable harm to physical and psychological health” by turning the turbines off at night. The turbines at Falmouth (USA) remain turned off, over a year later.

Perhaps it’s time to face our own complicity and involvement in these fundamental violations of both civil and human rights, as well.

The wind industry cannot hide behind a claim of ignorance about the devastating impact of wind turbine noise on human health. N.D. Kelley and other NASA scientists from the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) have published papers that ascribe the direct causation of human disturbance to wind turbine noise. This group published numerous papers on this subject between 1982 and 1985 based on sound research and clear evidence. Then, in 1987, this research was presented directly to the wind industry at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Conference in San Francisco. In short, the wind industry has continued to site its industrial scale power and noise generators near residential neighborhoods for more than thirty years, knowing full well that it was inflicting cruelty and suffering on those living near them. The silence of public officials, the media, and the public indicates wind turbine torture may be allowed to continue for decades to come.

There can be no doubt that wind turbines cause chronic sleep deprivation, and no doubt that sleep deprivation is torture. The scientific evidence that turbines do cause sleeplessness is already prolific and continues to grow. Moreover, the most comprehensive literature reviews on this question reveal that there is virtually no independent evidence to controvert this conclusion. Perhaps the most damning evidence of all comes from the public record of heath complaints from people around the world. According to the noted epidemiologist Carl V. Phillips, “There is overwhelming evidence that large electricity-generating wind turbines (hereafter: turbines) cause serious health problems in a nontrivial fraction of residents living near them.” Among these public health reports from turbine neighbors, sleep deprivation and disruption are by far the most common.

Taken together, the science and the public record of adverse health reports offer clear and compelling evidence that wind turbines are instruments of torture. Therefore, anyone who advocates for, or participates in, the siting of wind turbines near people is inflicting torture on them. Anyone who contributes to, or endorses, unsafe government noise pollution regulations, or who allows them to continue unabated when turbines are clearly causing sleep deprivation and other forms of human misery, or who ignores community complaints, or obstructs the accurate measurement of infrasound and low frequency noise inside homes is complicit with torture. And, anyone who knowingly conducts spurious turbine noise mitigations, or who permits or helps to perpetuate levels of infrasound and low frequency noise emissions above the thresholds established by Dr. Neil Kelley, and confirmed most recently by Steven Cooper’s research at Cape Bridgewater in Australia, must be held accountable for inflicting, or helping to perpetuate torture by prolonged sleep deprivation. Those who do so are guilty of criminal violation of both civil and human rights on an industrial scale.

This is why the global wind industry has strategically and systematically sought to silence wind turbine hosts and neighbors with property buy-outs and non-disclosure agreements. Undoubtedly, this is also why they and those who support them have publicly targeted acoustic engineers, health practitioners, and public health experts who have attempted to expose this truth in accordance with their canons of professional ethics. This industry subjects legitimate science to ridicule, its authors to character assassination, and its sleepless victims to blame and aspersions of mental defect. All of this is done to cloak conscious criminal cruelty in the name of unbridled greed.

In its determination to hide the ugly reality of industrial wind turbines, this industry uses money and the false promise of cheap energy to exert undue influence over public officials. It substitutes pseudo-science for legitimate science, spends untold millions on PR campaigns to drown out honest journalism, and sponsors fear-mongering in place of reasoned public discourse on renewable energy.

There may be no better evidence for this campaign of pubic deception than the so-called “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel” produced in January, 2012 by an unholy alliance between the wind industry and Massachusetts governor’s office. This document epitomizes the fraudulence, distortion, and misinformation that flourish when wind industry influence over government goes unchecked by public scrutiny and legal safeguards. The title notwithstanding, none of the authors of this so-called health study had any recognized expertise related to the health effects of wind turbines. None had ever given a physical examination to a turbine sufferer, and no turbine-related health complaints were investigated during the course of this study—despite the vocal and repeated pleas by effected residents to be examined as part of it. Although insufficient peer-review was one of the most salient criticism leveled against the legitimate studies reviewed; the Massachusetts study itself was not submitted to peer-review before its publication. For these and other reasons, it was deemed junk science by Dr. Raymond Hartmann, who is widely recognized for his expertise in analyzing scientific evidence, and exposing the junk science used by the Tobacco industry to defend its products.

The “Expert Panel” study was published by the Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health. When such junk science such as this is published by the very agencies responsible for protecting the environment and public health, it gives them the ring of authority. It is as though the state has mandated to an unsuspecting public that the torture must continue. In Milgram’s experiment, when a subject refused to continue administering shocks, the authority figure would reassure them by saying something to the effect that no permanent tissue damage will be caused. In that context, the statement was quite true because no real shock was actually being given. But in the case of wind turbines, government sanctioned torture is very real and does real damage to health and safety—and that damage may indeed be permanent. As the epigraph from Leave No Marks reminds us, “The absence of physical evidence should not be construed to suggest that torture did not occur, since such acts of violence against persons frequently leave no marks or permanent scars.”

For those who are willing to face their own conscience, there may be a glimmer of hope in Stanley Milgram’s otherwise bleak findings. In some of his later experiments, Milgram tried to determine how conformity would affect the obedience of the experimental subjects. He found that when at least two others in the room refused to comply with authority, only about 10% of the experimental subjects were willing to continue torturing. For those who have the courage to defy authority, it seems that disobedience can be contagious, and raising your voice loudly, publicly, and repeatedly against indiscriminant torture and injustice can truly make a difference.

About the author: Curt Devlin currently lives in Fairhaven, Massachusetts U.S.A. He was formerly a Teaching Fellow in the Philosophy Department at Tulane University. His opposition to the irresponsible use of wind energy began in 2007, when a wind project was proposed for the undisturbed and ecologically sensitive salt marshes surrounding a quite estuary in the Little Bay area of Fairhaven—an area which is bordered by densely populated neighborhoods. Although this project was defeated, construction began clandestinely on Veteran’s Day in November of 2011. Since then, Devlin been an outspoken critic of the wind industry and its proponents. He has written numerous articles and editorials on this and related topics. He has been a guest speaker at the Fairhaven Wind Forum in 2012, where he criticized the irresponsible siting of turbines in residential neighborhoods across Massachusetts and around the world. In 2013, he spoke on the fundamental human right to be free of unwarranted experimentation at the Falmouth Human Rights Conference in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Professionally, Devlin works as a software architect focused on the development of health science solutions for the detection and treatment of cancer and the improvement of human health.

Wind Pushers and their Cronies Will Do Anything to Cover Up the Truth!

NHMRC Fails Science 101 in Continued Wind Farm Health Cover Up

warwick-anderson

 

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council has long since disqualified itself as a body fit, willing, or even able to investigate and report on the known and obvious consequences to human health and well-being caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

From the get go, it’s been infiltrated by wind industry consultants, such as Norm Broner and wind industry advocates like Liz Hanna, who continue to direct traffic at, what is supposed to be, an independent medical research body, designed to protect public health at enormous taxpayer expense (see our post here).

A few weeks back, the NHMRC pumped out another politically inspired piece of propaganda, asserting that there was “no consistent evidence” of wind farms causing adverse health effects.

The inclusion of the weasel word “consistent” in the NHMRC’s puffy press piece is telling; and it’s a theme we’ll return to a moment, when we revisit the concept of basic science, in the general, and hypothesis testing, in the particular.

But first to a recent performance by the NHMRC’s chair, Warwick Anderson before the Senate Estimates Committee.

Community Affairs Legislation Committee – 25/02/2015 – Estimates – HEALTH PORTFOLIO – National Health and Medical Research Council

****

****

Senator MADIGAN: Thank you, gentlemen. I note that the NHMRC was aware of Steven Cooper’s research at Cape Bridgewater commissioned by Pacific Hydro. Given the endorsement of Mr Cooper’s acoustic investigation by senior acousticians internationally, such as Dr Paul Schomer and Dr George Hessler, both of whom worked for the wind industry, I would like to know what your acoustic expert Dr Norm Broner thought of Mr Cooper’s report.

Prof. Anderson: Thank you to the chair and Senator McLucas for those very kind words. It is actually a great privilege to be able to serve the people of Australia in this job and, I hope, use the taxpayers’ money as effectively as possible, so thank you.

Senator Madigan, thank you for your question. Specifically on Dr Broner’s membership of the reference group, the reference group has finished its work now, so I am not sure whether I can specifically answer your question. I could ask Dr Broner, I suppose. We are of course aware of that particular study. We are not aware that it has been published in peer review papers at this moment.

I suppose the general point is that, when we do rigorous scientific analysis of the literature, we try and take all the literature into account. Of course, any individual piece of research will have its own place and its own finding, but I am sure you will understand that one piece does not wipe out previous pieces of research. Of course, we are pleased to see that more research is being done in this topic as time goes by, but, with us and our expert reference committee and so on, we always have to have a line at some stage and make the conclusions at that time.

Senator MADIGAN: I am aware that the NHMRC insist on strict confidentiality clauses in their contracts with some parties involved in this process, such as Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen, who refused to sign such an agreement. How does this requirement help ensure transparency and accountability to the Australian people and robust and open scientific debate in such a difficult area?

Prof. Anderson: We have many committees on many topics from ethics through to science, health advice and public health advice. We always ask people to sign confidentiality so that other members of the committee can engage in robust conversation with confidence that their views will not be represented or perhaps misrepresented externally. So there would be nothing unique about that particular matter, and certainly we are aware of Professor Hansen’s work.

Senator MADIGAN: I have been advised that the NHMRC is refusing to make the independent expert peer reviewers’ reports public, despite indicating to some of the peer reviewers that it would do so. Could the NHMRC make all expert peer review reports public immediately? If you will not do so, could you please explain to the committee why you are refusing to do so and how that is open and transparent?

Prof. Anderson: To make a person’s opinion available, we have to ask them whether they consent to that. We are in the process of doing that. I believe – although I am subject to correction – that the reports are already in the public domain, and there have been some questions around the individual ownership of those. That is a matter of privacy for those people, but we are, right at the moment – in fact, I gather, quite close to – getting permission, with those who do consent, to make it available. I think things are moving along there.

Senator MADIGAN: Why were the public comments made by key spokespeople for the NHMRC – you and Professor Armstrong – prioritising research for residents in homes within 1.5 kilometres of wind turbines, when Mr Cooper’s acoustic survey included one home which is unliveable at 1.6 kilometres because of the infrasound from Pacific Hydro’s wind turbines, and also when Professor Colin Hansen has measured excessive levels of low-frequency noise out to 8.7 kilometres, in the case of Waterloo, which would cause sleep disturbance at that distance?

Prof. Anderson: Quite a lot of research was accessed that has been done on noise and distance as part of the report. You have mentioned a couple of studies, but there are quite a lot of others documented in our report as so-called parallel evidence. The overwhelming bulk of the evidence shows that, up to 500 metres, there are indeed effects on health of noise at the level that wind turbines do. From 500 to 1,500, the evidence is that there probably are, although they are probably modest. And the bulk of evidence shows that, after 1,500 metres, although some people may indeed individually attribute their sleep to the wind turbine noise, the likelihood is low. I want to assure you that the research we are going to call for is not going to restrict people from any of those conclusions. We will be looking for the very best research we can.

Senator MADIGAN: Miss Mary Morris’s research at Waterloo demonstrated that rural residents were reporting impacts on their sleep out to 10 kilometres at Waterloo, which is consistent with Professor Hansen’s acoustic data. Miss Morris’s research was one of the very few studies included by the NHMRC in its very selective literature review. Why is this acoustic and population survey information out to 10 kilometres being ignored by the NHMRC, which has a responsibility to adopt a precautionary approach in order to protect the health of the public?

Prof. Anderson: With respect, Senator, we did not ignore it. If you look at our documentation, it has been taken into account. What it did not do was fulfil the criteria we set up at the beginning. This is the way you properly do systematic reviews. You set the criteria at the beginning, and then you look at the evidence. What the group found was really only seven studies, 13 publications, that fell within the criteria of adequate scientific validity and relevance to health, because not all the studies were relevant to health. But, having said that, nothing else was ignored. The committee went over thousands of submissions from all sorts of bodies. There were two calls in the public for submissions, and the committee looked at all of that. So I would not accept your suggestion that those studies were ignored.

****

****

Senator DI NATALE: Let me also go to the statements made earlier by colleagues. I want to thank you for your many years of great service. It is with a bit of a heavy heart that I have to finish on this note, and I think we both know where this is going to go.

Prof. Anderson: You flagged it in the press.

Senator DI NATALE: I wanted you to be prepared! I am going to ask about the statement made by the NHMRC which says:

After careful consideration and deliberation of the body of evidence, NHMRC concludes that there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects …

However, the statement then also says:

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 farms, particularly within 1500 metres, is warranted.

Let me go firstly to some concerns expressed by some of the people who were involved in helping to formulate those findings. Did the NHMRC receive correspondence from any of the New South Wales Director of Health Protection, Jeremy McAnulty; Wayne Smith, the director of the Environmental Health Branch at New South Wales Health; or Rosemary Lester, the Chief Health Officer of Victoria? If so, can you tell me what the content of those emails was?

Prof. Anderson: I am not aware of the first names, so I would have to take that on notice. Wayne Smith of course was a member of the reference group, not a member of council. The reference group delivered a signed off version to the NHMRC – our information paper – which was released at the time. I am assuming that Professor Smith had agreed to that document. I am aware that, since then, he has had some disagreement with the wording, but it is not the reference group that agrees to the wording; it is the CEO of the NHMRC on the advice of the council. I have been around academics a long time. Hardly any of them ever agree about anything. I respect different views that people might have had, but we did get formal advice, agreed in the information paper, from a committee that included Professor Smith. That is that issue.

As you would be aware, the chief medical officers of all the states and territories and of the Commonwealth are members of council. In the usual way, when members of council are sent something to discuss, they often discuss it inside their department. I do not know if those conversations went in, but of course the Department of Health have a different view to us, because they might be involved in state regulations. We are not involved in that at all. We just try to make comments on the basis of the evidence and the conversation that occurs at council. There certainly were some comments back from a couple of the chief medical officers when we were finalising this, including from Dr Lester. But, at the end of the day, Dr Lester and the other CHOs and CMOs signed off and agreed with the statement.

Senator DI NATALE: What was the basis of their concerns?

Prof. Anderson: You had better ask them. My understanding of it was that, for some reason, they disagreed with us mentioning that there was community concern. I do not understand that. You are about to have a third Senate committee on windfarms. I would have thought that the Senate would not go to three committees unless it – the Senate—recognised this community concern around it. I have been terribly aware, because we have been involved in all three of these Senate committees, of the many comments that have been made about this area. So I do not resile at all from the position that, when you are a body that advises in public health, you base it on two things – the science primarily and then the second thing is the community concern. On the science, the expert committee said, ‘The science is not good; there is not much of it and it is all poor quality’. If you get that from a scientific body, what are you going to do, dismiss it? Then, as I said, the second thing is the community concern, particularly as exemplified by the Senate itself.

Senator DI NATALE: There are so many things that I would like to go to there, but we will go to a couple of them. The basis of their concern, as far as I understand it, was that any recommendation from you to suggest that there may be a link has the potential to cause harm.

Prof. Anderson: Yes, and –

Senator DI NATALE: Do you accept that?

Prof. Anderson: I think there is harm both ways.

Senator DI NATALE: No, specifically about a recommendation to suggest there may be a link when there is no evidence to suggest there is one – that such a recommendation has the potential to cause harm.

Prof. Anderson: I am sorry; I do not agree with your comment that there is no evidence there is a link. That is what I am saying. The evidence is not strong enough to say that, especially on the annoyance side, the social-cultural side and the implications of that. So I do not accept the premise on which you are asking me the question, with respect.

Senator DI NATALE: Okay, so annoyance. On the basis of annoyance, are we going to recommend having studies done into people who live next to busy motorways because they are annoying, or tall buildings?

Prof. Anderson: Many such studies have been done.

Senator DI NATALE: Are you suggesting that we do that on the basis of annoyance?

Prof. Anderson: We are going to call for research. If the research community, which I guess is where you are coming from, feel that this is not worth studying then we will not get applications that are worth doing.

Senator DI NATALE: You are offering money to do research, in a pretty fiscally constrained environment.

Prof. Anderson: We are also going to peer-review it at our usual high quality, and we are not going to spend that money, let me tell you, unless there is high-quality research. But can I come back. Put yourself – sorry, I should not say that. If you were in my place –

Senator DI NATALE: I know exactly what I would do if I were in your place, and it would not have been to make those recommendations. It would have been consistent with the advice from Rosemary Lester and the other chief health officers.

Prof. Anderson: It was not the other chief health officers, with respect again.

Senator DI NATALE: With one of the chief health officers

Prof. Anderson: There are two that expressed some concern and then eventually agreed with the statement.

Senator DI NATALE: I have the email, and the email was very clear about their concerns.

Prof. Anderson: If you like, we can share with you the final comments by both those chief medical officers.

Senator DI NATALE: How much are we talking about in terms of the amount that is going to come from the NHMRC budget? Is it half a million?

Prof. Anderson: We will, hopefully, release it soon; we are just going through the last bureaucratic processes. May I interpolate that you are talking about the statement. The council signed off 100 per cent on the targeted call for research, and that happened before.

Senator DI NATALE: Surprise, surprise!

Prof. Anderson: The council members are not going to get any benefit out of that. So the call will be up to $2.5 million over five years.

Senator DI NATALE: Is that additional money? Is that new money?

Prof. Anderson: No, that is part of our –

Senator DI NATALE: From the existing money?

Prof. Anderson: That is part of the Medical Research Endowment Account.

Senator DI NATALE: So that is money that would have gone to cancer research or diabetes research or ischemic heart disease research or research for eye disease or research for –

Prof. Anderson: Or a fellowship or a partnership project. But that will be $5 million over five years when our total expenditure –

Senator DI NATALE: Sorry, $2½ million?

Prof. Anderson: Sorry, $2.5 million – $500,000 a year – while, according to our forward estimates, we will spend about $4¼ billion on cancer and diabetes in those –

Senator DI NATALE: Yes, but it is still $2½ million not going into any of those areas and being diverted into an area that is highly questionable.

Prof. Anderson: Yes. It is out of a small group that we keep for targeted calls for research which are driven by the council and the principal committees of the NHMRC.

Senator DI NATALE: I suppose getting to this –

CHAIR: This will have to be the last question.

Senator DI NATALE: I actually have a few questions here, and I made it really clear. You said we would have half an hour for this. We convened at quarter past –

CHAIR: Sorry, Senator Di Natale. I did not say. I said we would have about 20 minutes and we would have about 25 minutes left. Senator McLucas says she will come if there is time. So, if she is going to yield her time, we have till 25 to, if we are still cooperating. If you want to keep going, we will not get to –

Senator DI NATALE: Till when, sorry?

CHAIR: Till 25 to. We were initially going to go till half past, but we are going to –

Senator DI NATALE: I have been waiting all day for these.

CHAIR: Senator Di Natale, you have had no shortage of opportunities to ask questions. I said I would split the time roughly evenly. You have had more time than Senator Madigan had, so I am not sure what part of that is not fair.

Mr Bowles: I have my sports people, who have been waiting all night.

Senator DI NATALE: There is $2½ million going towards questionable research.

CHAIR: There is a lot of money in sport as well.

Senator DI NATALE: What is the macro policy environment that dictated this decision? What is the macro policy environment? Samantha Robertson, who is the executive director of evidence, advice and governance, said that, when making this decision, they took into consideration ‘the macro policy environment’.

Prof. Anderson: I do not think I should be held responsible for what some of my staff said. It is what I said previously: we have spent a lot of time at the NHMRC working with Senate select committees over that period of time. I may be wrong, but I thought it was disrespectful to the Senate to think that that amount of focus on this issue – and I know there are different views around the Senate – but the fact that there have been three or will be three Senate select committees meant that as a responsible –

Senator DI NATALE: But aren’t you a scientific body? Don’t you make your decision on the basis of science, and not on the basis of some whim of parliamentarians, who might have an axe to grind. I thought that was the whole point of the NHMRC: you are at arm’s length from government.

CHAIR: So a decision of the Senate is now a whim when the Greens don’t agree with it?

Senator DI NATALE: This is the whole point of the NHMRC.

Prof. Anderson: It was available –

Senator DI NATALE: That is right. It is a Senate committee. You are a scientific body –

CHAIR: It was a majority of the Senate; it was not a whim of some. It was not a couple of Greens getting together –

Mr Bowles: We have heard different views tonight. I think that is a little unfair on Professor Anderson.

Senator DI NATALE: You either think science is a thing that exists or it does not. You are a scientific organisation and you are saying you are making a decision on the basis of what the Senate has decided. That is a disconnect.

Prof. Anderson: With respect, I do not think I said that. What I said was that as a scientific body an expert group gave us a report that said, ‘We are going to make conclusions on this but there is not much research and it is poor.’ The scientific committee also said, ‘Here is what needs to be done in research.’ It is in the reports in the public domain and I could read it out. Think about the situation where an expert group you have set up gives you a report and says, ‘There is not the evidence here and it needs a lot more work, and here is the research that needs to be done.’ That is the main thing –

Senator DI NATALE: Based on the macro policy environment.

Prof. Anderson: Please, I have not said that. I made the decision –

Senator DI NATALE: Your staff members said it. The executive director for evidence, advice and government has said that we are making this decision on the basis of the macro policy environment. The report says that ‘we are going to make the decision on the basis of community concern’. You are a scientific body. I do not understand how –

Prof. Anderson: You seem to be implying that we have made all the decisions on community concerns. I am saying that we made almost the majority of the decisions on the scientific feedback we got – that evidence is not very good. I think there is another issue here that I will put to the committee. With a lot of new technology – and I assume this is the sort of new technology that is supported by some people here – health issues often arise, and health issues can sometimes be used to try to stop a new technology. So, surely if you are a supporter of the new technology you want the best evidence there is so that if such ideas come up they can be brushed aside. We commission the best research in Australia. That is an issue. It is not the issue that we decided, but it is an issue others have put to us.

Senator DI NATALE: It is an argument to persist indefinitely with this sort of research, because you can continue to maintain this argument that we do not have strong evidence in this area, so we are going to continue researching the area.

Hansard 25/02/2015

Before we get to Warwick Anderson’s efforts to deflect, downplay and otherwise diminish the seriousness of the harm caused to wind farm victims in Australia and, indeed, around the world, we can’t help but notice the shrill and rampant hypocrisy dished up by so-called “Green”, Richard “Die Nasty”.

richard-di-natale

 

When he sneers about neighbours’ health complaints being the result of “annoyance”, he’s engaged in a deliberately misleading use of that term.

In acoustics, and in the context of industrial noise sources, the term “annoyance” does not involve emotional responses – ie “antipathy” to the “look” of wind turbines – a fallacious argument on which the nonsense “nocebo” theory is based. And it’s most certainly got nothing to do with whether people like the look of “tall buildings”, as he squeals.

In the NASA research done during the 1980s into health effects caused by wind turbine noise, the “annoyance” being reported by neighbours was defined to include numerous physiological responses, which were described as “sensations”. These “sensations”, which they felt rather than heard, were sensations of “pressure”, “a sense of uneasiness”, “booming or thumping pulsations”. These sensations were at their worst in the bedrooms where they were trying to sleep (see our post here).

Sleep deprivation – defined by the WHO as in itself an adverse health effect – is the most common of the adverse health effects caused by turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our post here): it too is included in the term “annoyance”.

But, quite apart from misusing, abusing and otherwise giving our mother tongue a desperate flogging, there is Die Nasty’s hysterical hypocrisy, as he attempts to assert that the Greens are (suddenly) paragons of fiscal rectitude.

As part of their political pact with Labor, the Greens demanded that the previous government set up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, to dole out $10 billion to “renewable” scams; including hundreds of $millions in high-risk loans to wind power outfits. Loans – using money borrowed at taxpayers’ expense, and taxpayers’ risk – to outfits like Pacific Hydro, that runs non-compliant wind farms, and which is losing money hand over fist – a situation that arose because commercial lenders rightly consider wind power outfits to be toxic lending bets (seeour post here).

The unrecoverable costs (ie losses) that the CEFC has and will incur, at taxpayers’ expense, will run into hundreds of $millions, which makes the piddling $2½ million earmarked by the NHMRC for wind turbine health research look like chump change.

Throwing other people’s money around has never really troubled the Greens – indeed, when it comes to chipping into the Commonwealth’s pot, a few of them have trouble stumping up with their share of the tax burden at all, and are happy to leave the revenue side of the government’s coffers to everybody else.

South Australian Green, Tammy Franks couldn’t be bothered with paying her tax for over a decade, and eventually got whacked with $14,000 in fines and court costs for failing to play the game the Greens expect of everyone else (see this article).

No, Die Nasty’s sneering little rant is just an extension of his wind industry paymasters’ instructions (see our post here): to prevent any further study being carried out by the NHMRC, or anybody else for that matter, into the harm known to be caused by giant fans to human health and well-being.

The shills that front the Greens, and the wind industry that pays them, work in lockstep when it comes to preventing multidisciplinary, independent health studies.

When faced with the prospect of further studies along the lines of Steven Cooper’s ground breaking Cape Bridgewater study being carried out in Australia, wind industry spruikers, the Clean Energy Council ranted that it “would not support further research” into Cooper’s findings; findings which linked the “sensations” felt by residents to low-frequency noise below the threshold of hearing (ie infrasound); and at levels well below those considered to be a problem for humans (see our posts here andhere).

Die Nasty’s disingenuous wailing is simply “set-piece” stuff drawn from the same hypocrite’s handbook.

You see, his “argument” – and that of his wind industry paymasters – is fairly easily tested: if wind turbine noise and vibration doesn’t cause health effects (like sleep deprivation, say) then the industry should welcome a full-blown study, along the lines of what Steven Cooper did at Cape Bridgewater (with medicos involved to look at the physiological effects in detail; and matched controls to support the findings).

That way it could clear its name as the cause of untold human misery; and, having been found innocent of that charge, could then simply focus on defrauding power consumers and taxpayers of $billions in subsidies; leaving tens of thousands of households no longer able to afford power at all, as the inevitable result (see our posts here and here).

But, actions belie words, most every time.

Big tobacco did it, the asbestos industry did it and the wind industry has taken to it like a duck to water: lie, cover up the facts and when the facts get out – run and hide (see our post here).

Now, to the NHMRC, and its pitched battle with the fundamentals of science.

STT has already covered the manner in which the NHMRC rejected high quality, peer-reviewed and published work done by Prof Colin Hansen and his team from the University of Adelaide at Waterloo because it was “too late”. While Prof Anderson says the NHMRC “is aware” of that work, and the work done by Steven Cooper, it has steadfastly chosen to ignore it. Precisely as it continues to ignore a decade’s worth of top level research performed by NASA in the 1980s, the substance of which has been confirmed by the work done by Prof Hansen and Steven Cooper, as well as America’s top acoustic experts at Shirley, Wisconsin (see our post here).

But it’s this little statement, in response to Senator Madigan’s reference to Steven Cooper’s study, that’s attracted STT’s attention:

Prof Anderson: I simply suppose the general point is that, when we do rigorous scientific analysis of the literature, we try and take all the literature into account. Of course, any individual piece of research will have its own place and its own finding, but I am sure you will understand that one piece does not wipe out previous pieces of research. Of course, we are pleased to see that more research is being done in this topic as time goes by, but, with us and our expert reference committee and so on, we always have to have a line at some stage and make the conclusions at that time.

Any true scientist worth his salt will recognise the highlighted statement for what it is: utter scientific bunkum.

In science, ONE piece of research, ONE piece of evidence, indeed, ONE sliver of data, will most certainly, absolutely and forever wipe out EVERY piece of research that ever existed up to that point in time.

That’s precisely how (real) science has worked since we began the organised and disciplined investigation into human and natural affairs, that we call “science”, around 300 years ago.

Which brings us to “falsifiability” and hypothesis testing; the central tool in dealing with scientific theory.

In our earlier post on the results from Cape Bridgewater we set out the basics as follows.

In science, some hypothesis directed at a particular relationship is put forward; evidence is gathered in relation to that hypothesis; and then that evidence is thrown firmly against the hypothesis, in an effort to disprove it. What Karl Popper called “falsifiability”, which he defined as the essential feature of science; summed up by Wikipedia as:

Falsifiability or refutability of a statement, hypothesis, or theory is an inherent possibility to prove it to be false. A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an observation or an argument which proves the statement in question to be false. In this sense, falsify is synonymous with nullify, meaning not “to commit fraud” but “show to be false”. Some philosophers argue that science must be falsifiable.

For example, by the problem of induction, no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization, such as “all swans are white”, yet it is logically possible to falsify it by observing a single black swan. Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.

The black swan example is routinely used to help explain “hypothesis testing”; as to which, the stats boys tell us that:

A statistical hypothesis is an assumption about a population parameter. This assumption may or may not be true. Hypothesis testing refers to the formal procedures used by statisticians to accept or reject statistical hypotheses.

Statistical Hypotheses

The best way to determine whether a statistical hypothesis is true would be to examine the entire population. Since that is often impractical, researchers typically examine a random sample from the population. If sample data are not consistent with the statistical hypothesis, the hypothesis is rejected.

There are two types of statistical hypotheses.

  • Null hypothesis. The null hypothesis, denoted by H0, is usually the hypothesis that sample observations result purely from chance.
  • Alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis, denoted by H1 or Ha, is the hypothesis that sample observations are influenced by some non-random cause.

Can We Accept the Null Hypothesis?

Some researchers say that a hypothesis test can have one of two outcomes: you accept the null hypothesis or you reject the null hypothesis. Many statisticians, however, take issue with the notion of “accepting the null hypothesis.” Instead, they say: you reject the null hypothesis or you fail to reject the null hypothesis.

Why the distinction between “acceptance” and “failure to reject?” Acceptance implies that the null hypothesis is true. Failure to reject implies that the data are not sufficiently persuasive for us to prefer the alternative hypothesis over the null hypothesis.

The process of hypothesis testing, starts with stating the hypotheses:

This involves stating the null and alternative hypotheses. The hypotheses are stated in such a way that they are mutually exclusive. That is, if one is true, the other must be false. (for more detail and examples, see the link here)

The white swan example is picked up in this analysis of the same point:

Although the null hypothesis cannot be proven true, it can be proven false. This is because science and hypothesis testing are based on the logic of falsification. If someone claims that all swans are white, confirmatory evidence (in the form of lots of white swans) cannot prove the assertion to be true. However, contradictory evidence (in the form of a single black swan) makes it clear that the claim is invalid.

The observation of one black swan is sufficient to falsify the claim that all swans are white. That single black swan proves that the claim is wrong. (for more detail and examples, see the link here)

Albert-Einstein-genius

 

From its press releases, public statements and the guff pitched up before the Senate, the NHMRC’s null hypothesis reduces to this:

All humans are safe from wind turbine generated noise and vibration.

The alternative hypothesis, is the mutually exclusive statement that:

Not all humans are safe from wind turbine generated noise and vibration.

That set of statements is, in scientific terms, precisely the same as the white swan/black swan example, used to describe and illustrate hypothesis testing above.

And it’s precisely what occurred at Cape Bridgewater, with Steven Cooper’s study, and the very point that America’s top acoustic experts, Dr Paul Schomer and George Hessler were making with their observation, in relation to the data gathered by Cooper, that:

This study proves that there are other pathways that affect some people, at least 6. The windfarm operator simply cannot say there are no known effects and no known people affected. One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of just one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none. It only takes one example to prove that a broad assertion is not true, and that is the case here.

In science, all it takes is a single observation and the null hypothesis (here, the NHMRC’s continued public assertion that “all humans are safe from wind turbine generated noise and vibration”) must simply be rejected: it is no longer valid.

Moreover, the alternative hypothesis – being the mutually exclusive statement that: “not all humans are safe from wind turbine generated noise and vibration” cannot be rejected: the null hypothesis, having been rightly rejected, leaves the alternative hypothesis standing.

swan

 

With half-a-dozen “black swans” popping up in Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study, the NHMRC, and its mates in the wind industry, as Schomer and Hessler put it: “cannot say there are no known effects and no known people affected”.

So, with a few basic scientific principles in mind, quite to the contrary of Prof Anderson’s line “that one piece [of research] does not wipe out previous pieces of research“, that’s precisely what scientific endeavour does; indeed, anything less is not science at all. It’s simply advocacy for a cause.

And that is exactly what the NHMRC’s well-rehearsed mantra on the adverse health effects caused by wind farms is all about, a position that jumps out of this rather curious statement:

Prof Anderson: … With a lot of new technology – and I assume this is the sort of new technology that is supported by some people here – health issues often arise, and health issues can sometimes be used to try to stop a new technology. So, surely if you are a supporter of the new technology you want the best evidence there is so that if such ideas come up they can be brushed aside.

Hmmm.

STT’s not sure that a “scientific” research organisation – paid for by taxpayers, and charged with looking after the health and well-being of Australian citizens – is meant to be looking at the evidence of “health issues” caused by wind turbines, simply because that evidence might be used to “stop a new technology”.

But we’re pretty confident that the NHMRC isn’t paid for by us to generate the “best evidence” it can muster, in order that adverse health effects related to that “new technology” can simply be “brushed aside”.

The NHMRC has shown itself, time and time again, to be nothing more than a group of wind industry apologists and advocates – that defers to the “expertise” of a tobacco advertising guru, who calls wind farm victims “wind farm wing nuts” (see our post here). It’s been infiltrated, co-opted and corrupted by an industry which exhibits a callous disregard for human health and well-being (see our post here); and which does everything in its power to prevent any proper investigation into the harm known to be caused by its uncontrolled operations (see our post here).

Those unfortunates forced to live with turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound can only look on in disgust and dismay.

Those of our political betters in Canberra who fail to take on the cronyism and institutional corruption within the NHMRC, should hang their heads in shame.

Ashamed head-in-hands

 

Wind Industry Feels Justified in the Slaughter of Wildlife!

Rampant Wind Farm Bat Slaughter: Yet Another “Inconvenient” Truth for the Wind Industry

dead bats1

 

Wind farms are certified bird and bat slaughterhouses, where millions are clobbered, sliced and diced every year (see our post here): wanton avian destruction which is entirely unnecessary and wholly unjustified.

STT has covered the wind industry’s bat slaughter cover up a couple of times – pointing to the mounting piles of bat carcasses left rotting around wind farms as furry, lifeless and ‘inconvenient’ facts of the kind that send eco-fascists into “spin-mode” and their greentard acolytes into a state of enviro-confusion:

Now, here’s yet another take on the pointless and entirely unjustified slaughter of critters that, once upon a time, the reasonable environmentalist would have died in a ditch to save.

Growing “Swept Area” Of Annihilation … Study Points To Wind Turbines’ Barotraumatic Mayhem Of Bats
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
2 March 2015

As wind turbines increase in size and scale, so do their deadliness to wildlife and hazards to human health.

Today’s modern wind turbines now soar to heights of up to over 200 meters, can have outputs of well over 5 MW, and blade tip speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour, thus making them especially lethal to avian wildlife, and hazardous for human health through infrasound.

bat-barotrauma

Source: academia.eu, Erin F. Baerwald et al.

21,000 square meters of “swept area” of annihilation

To give an idea of their scale, Danish company Vestas, for example, offers an 8-MW offshore turbine with a total height of 220 meters that is equipped with a monster rotor diameter of 164 meters. The result: horrendous blade speeds and pressure gradients. Flying wildlife stand no chance. Worse is the growing size of the hazardous swept area.

Vestas boasts that its V164-8.0 MW® turbine has a swept area of more than 21,000 square meters, which is “equivalent to almost three footballpitches“. Vestas bellows: “When it comes to profitability, the bigger the swept area the bigger the revenue.”

Unfortunately for birds and other wildlife it is also: The bigger the swept area, also the bigger the wildlife annihilation area. But wildlife be damned.

Huge number of fatalities

Wildlife fatalities from wind turbines are poorly documented and mostly unknown. Estimates are on the low side and thought to be much higher, as the industry attempts to play down their real danger.

Birds, bats and other animals can be killed by turbines in any one of three ways:

  1. through loss of their habitat due to the disruption of a vast installation area,
  2. direct impact with high speed moving blades (birds) and
  3. from barotrauma, where bats are the primary victims.

The most sinister of the three is barotrauma, which is a common way bats are killed by wind turbines.

An article published at academia.edu by Erin F. Baerwald et al of the University of Calgary confirms the violent deaths that bats suffer from wind turbines. Bats do not even need to come into contact with the moving blades. It is enough for them to be close to the end of a moving blade to become victims of barotrauma. As the turbine’s blade slices by at 300 km/hr, the negative pressure in the blade’s wake causes the air in the bats’ lungs to expand and incur lethal injury.

Barotrauma typically occurs when an organism is exposed to a significantchange in ambient pressure, such as when a scuba diver, a free-diver or an airplane passenger ascends or descends, or during uncontrolled decompression of a pressure vessel.

The academia.edu article writes:

The decompression hypothesis proposes bats are killed by barotrauma caused by rapid pressure reduction near movingturbine blades [1,4,5]. Barotrauma involves tissue damage to air-containing structures caused by rapid or excessive pressure change;pulmonary barotrauma is lung damage due to expansion of air in the lungs that is not accommodated by exhalation.”

Moving turbine blades create zones of low pressure as the air flows over them. Animals entering these sudden low pressure zones may suffer barotrauma; academia.edu article writes:

Pressure differences as small as 4.4 kPa are lethal to Norway rats Rattus norvegicus) [6]. The greatest pressure differential at wind turbines occurs in the blade tip vortices which, as with airplanewings, are shed downwind from the tips of the moving blades [7]. The pressure drop in the vortex increases with tip speed, which in modern turbines turning at top speed varies from 55 to 80 m/s. This results in pressure drops in the range of 5–10 kPa (P. Moriarty, personal communication), levels sufficient to cause serious damage to various mammals [6].” […]

Even if echolocation allows bats to detect and avoid turbine blades, they may be incapacitated or killed by internal injuries caused by rapid pressure reductions they cannot detect.”

188 dead bats examined

Baerwald and her team examined 188 dead bats killed by a wind turbine facility in southwestern Alberta:

Of 188 bats killed at turbines the previous night, 87 had no external injury that would have been fatal, for example broken wings or lacerations (Table 1). Of 75 fresh bats we necropsied in the field, 32 had obvious external injuries, but 69 had haemorrhaging in the thoracic and/or abdominal cavities (Table 1). Twenty-six (34%) individuals had internal haemorrhaging and external injuries, whereas 43 (57%) had internal haemorrhaging but no external injuries. Only six (8%) bats had an external injury but no internal haemorrhaging.

Among 18 carcasses examined with a dissecting microscope, ten had traumatic injuries. Eleven bats had a haemothorax, seven of which could not be explained by a traumatic event. Ten bats had small bullae — air-filled bubbles caused by rupture of alveolar walls — visible on the lung surface (Figure 1A). All 17 bats examined histologically had lesions in the lungs consistent with barotrauma (Table 1), with pulmonary haemorrhage, congestion, edema, lung collapse and bullae being present in various proportions (Figure 1). In 15 (88%), the main lesion was pulmonary haemorrhage, which in most cases was most severe around the bronchi and large vessels.”

In summary, the wind turbines are extremely lethal to wildlife on a scale so horrendous and embarrassing that it is being kept out of the public’s eye. What’s worse is that these turbines, and the growing swept areas of annihilation they bring with them, have been installed by the thousands and plans are being made to install many thousands more – many in natural areas. Wildlife will have no chance.

This is all endorsed by Greenpeace and the WWF.
No Tricks Zone

bat

Aussie Wind Turbine Hosts to tell the Truth About Useless Wind Turbines!

Turbine Hosts Line Up to Tip a Bucket on Wind Power Outfits, as Senate Submissions Deadline Extended to 23 March 2015

John Madigan

The Australian Senate is about to rip into the greatest fraud of all time, with a Select Committee Inquiry into wind farms. Chaired by Victorian Senator, John Madigan, and set to kick off in March, it will operate under wide-ranging terms of reference, as its brief says:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee onWind Turbines be established to inquire into and report on the application of regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines by 24 June 2015, with particular reference to:

(a) the effect on household power prices, particularly households which receive no benefit from rooftop solar panels, and the merits of consumer subsidies for operators;

(b) how effective the Clean Energy Regulator is in performing its legislative responsibilities and whether there is a need to broaden those responsibilities;

(c) the role and capacity of the National Health and MedicalResearch Council in providing guidance to state and territory authorities;

(d) the implementation of planning processes in relation to wind farms, including the level of information available to prospective wind farm hosts;

(e) the adequacy of monitoring and compliance governance of wind farms;

(f) the application and integrity of national wind farm guidelines;

(g) the effect that wind towers have on fauna and aerial operations around turbines, including firefighting and crop management;

(h) the energy and emission input and output equations from whole-of-life operation of wind turbines; and

(i) any related matter.

Last week, the deadline for submissions to the Inquiry was extended to 23 March 2015 (for more information see Parliament’s website here).

So, if you’re still working on your submissions, take your time to polish them up; if you have already submitted, but have something to add, drop in a supplementary submission; and, if you haven’t started, then there’s no time like the present to get cracking.

For some inspiration see our posts here:

Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge

Pacific Hydro’s “Monumental Own Goal”: Or How Steven Cooper’s Wind Farm Study Helps Sink the Wind Industry

Steven Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Study the Beginning of the End for the Wind Industry

More Wind Turbine Terror: Blades Thrown to the Four-Winds in Ireland

“Unscheduled” Wind Farm Shut-Down Shows Low-Frequency Noise Impact at Waterloo, SA

BUSHFIRE RED ALERT: Wind Power Really Is Setting the World on FIRE

Victoria’s Wind Rush sees 34,000 Households Chopped from the Power Grid

Why Intermittent Wind Power Increases CO2 Emissions in the Electricity Sector

As to the Inquiry, term of reference 1(d) opens the door to an issue that the wind industry dreads most, and works its hardest to suppress.

Since STT popped up this little post – Unwilling Turbine Hosts Set to Revolt, as NSW Planning Minister – Pru Goward – Slams Spanish Fan Plans at Yass – the number of very angry turbine hosts (ie, those farmers contracted with wind power outfits to permit them to spear giant fans all over their properties) presenting themselves to the Senators sitting on the Inquiry, is growing by the day.

Their fast-filling ranks include those with turbines which have been operating (in some cases, for many years), as well as those desperately hoping to avoid that prospect altogether.

STT hears that these people – many from New South Wales, South Australia, as well as Victoria – have had, as Australians say “a gutful” of the deception, thuggery and bullying dished out by the goons employed by wind power outfits, such as Infigen (see our post here) and RATCH (see our posts here and here and here). No surprises there.

After years of being shunned by former friends and neighbours for introducing turbines into their communities (or signing up for that to happen in future), many turbine hosts are keen to wind the clock back and make amends. Community division, angry former friends and hostile neighbours are just one aspect of what’s encouraging actual and potential turbine hosts to speak to the Senators involved in the Inquiry. For a taste of what real farmers, from real communities, think about wind farms, check out this cracking little video:

****

****

One of the constant threats made by wind power outfits, is that if their actual or potential turbine hosts were to utter so much as a “peep” about the company’s malfeasance and misconduct, they will be breaching the Draconian confidentiality provisions of their contracts.

These threats have, until now, fuelled fears by turbine hosts that have usually prevented them from speaking to anyone; let alone in a public forum, such as a Senate Inquiry.

Fortunately, there can be no right of action for a breach of confidentiality agreements against anybody giving evidence (whether in the form of documents or oral evidence) to their Parliament. Indeed, it’s been that way since 1688. In relation to a previous Senate Inquiry into wind farms and confidentiality agreements, the Clerk of the Senate, Rosemary Laing gave this advice:

I understand that there have been inquiries from potential witnesses who have signed confidentiality agreements with the wind farm operators and who are concerned to establish whether their evidence to the committee would be protected by parliamentary privilege.

The short answer to this question is yes. Section 16 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 reasserts the application of Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688 to parliamentary proceedings and then goes on to explain what those proceedings include. Article 9 provides that the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place outside Parliament. The effect of this protection is that no action can be taken against any person on the basis of proceedings in Parliament and their participation in such proceedings is immune from suit in any court or tribunal. Examples are protected proceedings under section 16(2) of the Privileges Act include:

  • the giving of evidence to a committee, and the evidence so given;
  • the presentation or submission of a document to a committee; and
  • the preparation of a document for the purposes of or incidental to the transacting of any such business.

If a person who is covered by a confidentiality provision in an agreement gave evidence to a parliamentary committee about the contents of that agreement, they could not be sued for breaching the confidentiality agreement. Furthermore, if they were subject to any penalty, threat or intimidation as a consequence of their having given evidence to a committee, Privilege Resolution 1(18) provides that a committee must enquire into the circumstances, ascertain the facts and, if those facts disclosed that a person may have been improperly influenced or subject to or threatened with penalty or injury in respect of the evidence, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate. The Senate may then deal with the matter as a potential contempt which may attract penalties including fines and imprisonment. The action may also be prosecuted as an offence under section 12 of the Privileges Act.

The full advice is available here.

So, for those farmers keen to help put things right in this fine Country of ours, you can feel assured that your Senators will protect you. Not only are you completely free to tell your Parliament about how you have been mistreated, lied to etc; if you face any further thuggery, threats or bullying (whether from lawyers or otherwise), those dishing it out will be squarely in the gun for prosecution for contempt of Parliament.

If you have any questions then STT suggests that you speak direct to the offices of Senators John Madigan, Chris Back, or David Leyonhjelm, whose friendly staff will happily guide you through the process. To contact their offices direct call: (03) 5331 2321 (for Senator Madigan); (089) 414 7288 (for Senator Back); and (02) 9719 1078 (for Senator Leyonhjelm).

No-one has to put up with the wind industry’s lies, treachery and deceit. Last time we looked, Australia was a place where people could speak openly and freely to anyone they liked; our elected representatives included.

For turbine hosts (actual and potential), this Inquiry may be the first and last time you will be able to speak openly in public; and with complete immunity.

As a disgruntled host, you will, however, not only be keen to tip a bucket on just how rotten this industry is, you will also be looking to extricate yourself from contracts that will well and truly outlive you; and continue to vex your children and grandchildren, for a generation or more.

Contracts will be set aside in precisely the circumstances in which you were misled by the developer into entering your contract in the first place.

A representation of a material fact made by a party offering a contract to another party in order to induce them to enter into that contract, which has that effect, and is a false statement, is a misrepresentation. To be actionable, the misrepresentation need only to have induced the contract and does not have to be a central or even important inducement.

Under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act (now see Chapter 2, Part 2-1 of the Australian Consumer Law) contracts will be set aside for misleading and deceptive conduct. This includes the situation where a person offering a contract makes representations (which are untrue at the time they are made) to the other party, which are relied on, and induce that party to enter a contract.

Under both the common law and the TPA and ACL the failure to disclose important facts will amount to a misrepresentation and/or misleading conduct; especially where the facts, if disclosed, would have resulted in a reasonable person in your position refusing to enter the contract being offered. And even more so, where you have asked specific questions about important facts and the developer has said nothing: eg, “are wind turbines noisy?”; or simply lied, by answering “no”. (click here for a discussion of what amounts to misleading and decepetive conduct by silence).

Pursuing your lawful right to have your contract set aside for misrepresentation and/or misleading and deceptive conduct will require some competent legal advice from hard-hitting commercial lawyers, with litigation experience; and, perhaps, a trip to a court of competent jurisdiction.

As to actions against developers pursued by turbine hosts, see our post here.

For friends and neighbours of turbine hosts, this is an opportunity to help people who were duped by a pack of lying hounds into entering contracts which will last for 75 years; destroy everybody’s ability to live in, use and enjoy their homes for miles around – including the hosts and their families; and, under which, the turbine hosts receive a piddling $10,000-$15,000 a year, for a turbine that will receive upwards of $800,000 a year in REC subsidies, alone (see our post here).

As the nervous preacher (always in fear of an actual response) says at weddings, “speak now, or forever hold your peace”.

speak now or forever hold your peace

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

 

 

Steven Cooper has Windweasels on the Run! Truth is the Windpusher’s Enemy!

A stampede to the exits

08bryce_1-popupby Harvey Wrightman
In the 6 years and 6 Environmental Review Tribunal appeals we have been appellants to, there has been a bagful of issues connected with wind projects and how they are “imposed” upon ordinary working communities without theexpress consent of the communities –  in newspeak, that would be “social license.”  Yet the one issue that drew us to actively oppose wind projects (health effect), remains at the top of the list and all other issues really come as a result of the harm to health that occurs, picking its victims at random, that one cannot say, “It won’t affect me.”

So the recent study done by acoustician Steven Cooper for Pacific Hydro has set a bomb off  amongst the….umm, the wind wankers – an all inclusive category for the acousticians, $800/hour lawyers, PR people, the smirking engineers and administrators of the MOECC and the ERT, the clueless politicians, the sleepy investment bankers.

But success leads to outrageous behaviour. Pac Hydro was assured by its “experts”  that nothing would be found; so, acting the bit of the good, green corporate citizen it agreed to have Cooper do the study, and agreed to provide the operational co-operation that is essential to producing accurate data. Curiously they refused to have the study submitted to a professional journal for peer review – perhaps an afterthought – what if he does find something??? No matter, peer review can be done by, well, peers in the field. And so two of the most respected names in the American acoustical community, Paul Schomer and George Hessler, have published their review of Cooper’s study. Hessler has done numerous noise assessments for wind companies. Schomer is Standards Director Acoustical Society of America.

None of what is published will come as a surprise to the many individuals I encountered who experienced the same sensations resulting in the same symptomatic responses and the entirely rational response of fleeing the scene. Now your observations have been validated by two of the most prominent acousticians in the US.  With an ethical obligation to protect the public, one awaits the stampede of engineers to the exits. Some have already done so.

The Results of an Acoustic Testing Program, Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm
Prepared for Energy Pacific by Steve Cooper, The Acoustic Group
A Review of this Study and Where It Is Leading

Paul D. Schomer, Ph.D., P.E.; Schomer and Associates, Inc.; Standards Director, Acoustical Society of America
George Hessler, Hessler Associates, Inc.
10 February 2015

Recently Cooper has completed a first of its kind test regarding the acoustical emissions of wind turbines. His is the first study of effects on people that includes a cooperating windfarm operator in conjunction with a researcher that does not work exclusively for windfarms. This study makes three very simple points:

  1. There is at least one non-visual, non-audible pathway for wind turbine emissions to reach, enter, and affect some people
  2. This is a longitudinal study wherein the subjects record in a diary regularly as a function of time the level of the effects they are experiencing at that time
  3. This periodic recording allows for responses as the wind-turbine power changes up and down, changes not known by the subject

The results are presented in a 218 page report augmented by 22 appendices spread over 6 volumes so that every single detail in the study has been documented for all to see and examine. The methods and results are totally transparent. The 22 appendices and the main text exhaustively document everything involved with this study.

Six subjects, 3 couples from different homes are the participants in this study. They do not represent the average resident in the vicinity of a wind farm. Rather, they are self-selected as being particularly sensitive and susceptible to wind farm acoustic emissions, so much so that one couple has abandoned their house. Cooper finds that these six subjects are able to sense attributes of the wind turbine emissions without there being an audible or visual stimulus present. More specifically, he finds that the subject responses correlate with the wind turbine power being generated but not with either the sound or vibration.

Although the very nature of a longitudinal study provides for a finding of cause and effect, some will undoubtedly argue that a correlation does not show cause and effect. In this case they must postulate some other thing like an unknown “force” that simultaneously causes the wind turbine power being generated and symptoms such as nausea, vertigo, and headaches to change up and down together. But that is the kind of “creative” logic it takes to say that this correlation does not represent cause-and-effect. So, rather than making such groundless arguments, perhaps something like an “expert statistical analysis” can be expected “proving” this is not a “valid sample” of the public at large, or proving the study does not do something else it was neverintended to do.

So it is important to sort out what, by design, this study was intended to do and does do, and what, by design, it was not intended to do and does not do. This study is not in any way a sample of the general population nor is it in any way a sample of the general population in the vicinity of windfarms. According to Cooper’s report, this study was intended to address the issue of complaints from residents in the vicinity of Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm. Pacific Hydro requested the conduct of an acoustic study at 3 residential properties to ascertain any identifiable noise impacts of the wind farm operations or certain wind conditions that could relate to the complaints that had been received. The study was to incorporate three houses that are located between 650 m and 1600 m from the nearest turbine. This research represents a case study at 3 houses, each with one couple, 6 people. This is one sample, and only one sample, of a small group of people who are all self-selected as being very or extremely sensitive to wind turbine acoustic emissions. A similar group could be assembled elsewhere such as in Shirley Wisconsin, USA or Ontario Canada.

This study finds that these 6 people sense the operation of the turbine(s) via other pathways than hearing or seeing, and that the adverse reactions to the operations of the wind turbine(s) correlates directly with the power output of the wind turbine{s} and fairly large changes in power output.

Attempts may be made to obviscate (sic) these simple points with such arguments as it cannot be proved that infra-sound is the cause of the discomfort. But that again is a specious argument. The important point here is that something is coming from the wind turbines to affect these people and that something increases or decreases as the power output of the turbine increases or decreases. Denying infra-sound as the agent accomplishes nothing. It really does not matter what the pathway is, whether it is infra-sound or some new form of rays or electro-magnetic field coming off the turbine blades. If the turbines are the cause, then the windfarm is responsible and needs to fix it. Anyone who truly doubts the results should want to replicate this study using independent[1] acoustical consultants at some other wind farm, such as Shirley Wisconsin, USA, where there are residents who are self-selected as being very or extremely sensitive to wind turbine acoustic emissions.[2]

Some may ask, this is only 6 people, why is it so important? The answer is that up until now windfarm operators have said there are no known cause and effect relations between windfarm emissions and the response of people living in the vicinity of the windfarm other than those related to visual and/or audible stimuli, and these lead to some flicker which is treated, and “some annoyance with noise.” This study proves that there are other pathways that affect some people, at least 6. The windfarm operator simply cannot say there are no known effects and no known people affected. One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of just one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none. It only takes one example to prove that a broad assertion is not true, and that is the case here. Windfarms will be in the position where they must say: “We may affect some people.” And regulators charged with protecting the health and welfare of the citizenry will not be able to say they know of no adverse effects. Rather, if they choose to support the windfarm, they will do so knowing that they may not be protecting the health and welfare of all the citizenry.

[1] Independent Consultants are those who have worked for both industry and communities, and or have espoused the need for research to sort out the issues of people reacting to non-audible non-visual stimuli.

[2] Cooper’s test shows cause and effect for at least one non-visual, no-audible pathway to affect people. If one only wanted to test for the ability to sense the turning on of wind turbines, and not replicate the cause and effect portion of Cooper’s study, this reduced test could be accomplished in one to two months with a cooperative windfarm where there are residents who are self-selected as being very or extremely sensitive to wind turbine acoustic emissions and who also assert that they have this sensing ability. This study, a subset of the full Cooper tests, would only prove, again, that non-visual, non-auditory pathways exist by which wind turbine emissions may affect the body and “signal” the brain.

Paul D. Schomer, Ph.D., P.E.; and George Hessler


 

Irrefutable Proof, That Wind Turbine Noise Can Affect Our Health!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/unseen-unheard-wind-farms-a-blow-to-health/story-e6frg8y6-1227219122344

 

Unseen, unheard wind farms

a blow to health

Graham Lloyd

Environment Editor

Sydney

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 review of a study by Steven Cooper of residents living near Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm was undertaken by Paul Schomer, standards director of the Acoustical Society of America.

Dr Schomer’s research has been used to define the dose response and acoustic criteria for road traffic, rail traffic, aircraft traffic and shooting.

As a result of the Cooper research, Dr Schomer said wind farm developers should now say “We may affect some people”.

He said regulators charged with protecting health and welfare “will not be able to say they know of no adverse effects”.

Pacific Hydro has said previously it did accept the Cooper research had established a cause-and-effect link, a claim that was not made in the report.

The National Health and Medical Research Council this week said there was no consistent evidence wind farms caused ­adverse health effects and further research was needed.

The NHMRC did not review the Cooper research.

Dr Schomer said the Cooper work had shown clearly there was “at least one non-visual, non-­audible pathway for wind turbine emissions to reach, enter and ­affect some people”.

The six people from three households involved in the study had recorded the timing and level of effects they were ­experiencing.

Their notes had shown that impacts corresponded with wind turbine power changes. The subjects did not know what was happening with the wind turbines when they recorded their notes.

“This study finds these six people sense the operation of the turbine(s) via other pathways than hearing or seeing, and that the adverse reactions to the operations of the wind turbine(s) correlates directly with the power output of the wind turbine(s),” he said.

“The important point here is that something is coming from the wind turbines to affect these people and that something increases or decreases as the power output of the turbine increases or decreases.

“It really does not matter what the pathway is, whether it is infra-sound or some new form of rays or electromagnetic field coming off the turbine blade. If the turbines are the cause, the wind farm is responsible and needs to fix it.”

Dr Schomer said criticism that only a small number of people were involved in the study was not relevant. “One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none.”

The peer review was co-signed by George Hessler, the president and principal consultant for US acoustics specialist Hessler Associates.

 

Wind Turbines Killing a Very High number of bats!

BAT DEATHS PROMPT CHANGE AT WIND FARM

A White Pine County wind farm that sells power to NV Energy has been forced to change operations after its massive turbines killed triple the number of bats allowed under an agreement with federal regulators.

The 152-megawatt Spring Valley Wind Energy project about 260 miles northeast of Las Vegas killed an estimated 566 bats in 2013, so its operator agreed to change when the windmills kick on in hopes of reducing the number of deaths.

In June, the wind farm’s 66 turbines — each standing up to 425 feet tall — were adjusted on nights with high bat activity so they would only start turning when sustained winds reach about 11 mph instead of the usual “cut-in” speed of about 7 mph.

The move was designed to reduce the number bats killed in collisions with the spinning blades because “when it gets too windy, the bats aren’t flying as much,” said Paul Podborny, a field manager with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s office in Ely.

Podborny is scheduled to meet next week with Spring Valley Wind representatives to review whether the new operating protocols are working. If bats continue to die in unacceptably high numbers, additional measures might include increasing the number of nights the higher cut-in speeds are used, increasing the cut-in speed even more or shutting down the turbines altogether on nights when a lot of bats are active, he said.

Matt Dallas, spokesman for San Francisco-based Pattern Energy, which owns the wind farm, said the turbine speed adjustment results in a small reduction in power output, “but we are willing to accept this in order to reduce our environmental impact.”

In an email, Pattern’s director of environmental compliance, Rene Braud, said the vast majority of the bats were Mexican free-tail bats, “a very common and abundant species” that migrates by the millions through the Spring Valley each year and is not protected under federal law.

“The project has had no impact at all on any threatened or endangered bat species,” Braud said.

To environmentalists, though, the higher-than-expected bat deaths prove what they have said all along.

Rob Mrowka, senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity in Nevada, put it this way: “The Spring Valley Wind project is an important component of a renewable energy portfolio placed in absolutely the wrong location.”

CAVE OF CONCERN

The $225 million project went online in August 2012 as the first utility-scale wind farm in Nevada. It features 66 turbines scattered across more than 7,600 acres of federal land at the heart of the vast Spring Valley, which runs north-south for about 110 miles between the Schell Creek and Snake mountain ranges in eastern Nevada.

The facility was designed to generate enough electricity to supply about 40,000 homes, with NV Energy as its only customer for the first 20 years of operation. It drew stiff opposition from environmentalists.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project sued to block construction in January 2011, accusing the BLM of skirting environmental regulations to fast-track the project. Settlement talks began after a federal judge refused to stop work to allow more study of the impact on bats and sage grouse, and the resulting agreement spelled out what Pattern must do to track and curb bird and bat mortality. It also set limits on the number of deaths allowed each year: 178 birds and 169 bats.

“To me, it was a compromise to both protect the bats and allow renewable energy to still be produced,” Mrowka said. “It is highly unlikely that without the agreement and without the vigilance by the conservation groups that any action would have been taken to protect the bats.”

Biologists think as many as 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost in Rose Cave, about five miles from the wind farm, on their southern migration to Central America from late July through early October.

Laser beams at the cavern’s mouth track the bats as they come and go. At peak times in August as many as 2,000 bats per minute leave Rose Cave.

Research suggests bats easily can navigate around stationary wind turbines, but not even echo-location will save some of them when the blades are turning.

Each of the 262-foot towers in Spring Valley holds a rotor the diameter of a football field. When one of its three blades is pointed straight up the structure stands taller than Planet Hollywood Resort on the Strip. Though the blades appear to spin slowly, their tips can reach 170 mph, churning the air into tornado-like swirls. Even a close call can be deadly for a bird or bat because sudden changes in barometric pressure cause their insides to explode.

FEWER BIRDS THAN BATS

While bat deaths at Spring Valley Wind were well above the mitigation threshold in 2013, bird deaths were well below it. The operation reported just 40 bird fatalities last year, though one in particular garnered widespread attention. A golden eagle was killed there in February, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and stoking national debate over the environmental trade-offs associated with the sort of large-scale green energy projects championed by the Obama administration in the face of climate change.

The Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the federal government’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and flaws in the regulatory framework.

In December, the Interior Department exempted wind farms from penalties associated with bald and golden eagle deaths for up to 30 years, provided companies obtain permits and make efforts to avoid killing protected birds.

The 30-year rule replaced an earlier version of the so-called “incidental take permit” implemented in 2009 to cover eagle deaths for up to five years. Wind energy developers argued the shorter-term permits created uncertainty that chilled investment in their projects. And since administration officials showed little appetite to penalize wind farms for killing eagles, no company ever bothered to get one of the five-year permits.

No other eagle deaths have been reported by Spring Valley Wind, but Podborny said even one more would be cause for concern and possible mitigation measures. Though bird deaths in general do not appear to be a problem at the facility, he said, “We still have to look at what species are being killed.”

Pattern Energy officials said they have been working with federal regulators since the eagle death. The company formally applied for a 30-year eagle take permit earlier this year. They expect the permitting process to last into 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrea

Wind Pushers are Allowed to Slaughter Birds, With Impunity!

Bye Bye Birdie
Does the government give green-energy firms a free pass on bird deaths?

Death from Above: A wind-power tower (Dreamstime)
 
Two former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators tell National Review Online that the federal government acted with a bias, giving renewable-energy companies a pass on unlawful bird deaths while rigorously prosecuting traditional energy companies for the same infractions.

“If birds were electrocuted or in oil pits, we prosecuted those companies,” says Tim Eicher, a special agent who handled cases involving migratory birds, eagles, and endangered species until his retirement three years ago. But the Fish and Wildlife Service “has drunk the Kool-Aid on global warming,” Eicher tells NRO. When it comes to wind- and solar-energy companies, “the end, to them, justifies the means: They’re saving the planet, and if eagles die in the process, so be it.”

 

Dominic Domenici, a former Fish and Wildlife Service investigator who worked with Eicher in Wyoming, says the bias is obvious because, when unlawful bird deaths occur, the federal government “prosecutes everything except for wind and solar — and they give [those renewable companies] permits” for bird-killing. That bias, Domenici says, is “top-down” within the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“They have chosen to do everything they can to make wind energy look perfect,” Domenici says. He adds: “I think they just want an alternative energy so badly that they’re prepared to turn a blind eye on all the bad parts of it. And it may be the best thing in the world, and it may be the answer — but they still need to enforce the laws to put the incentives [against bird-killing in place].”

Potential bias in the enforcement and prosecution of bird deaths has piqued the interest of the House Natural Resources Committee, which in March subpoenaed the case files for all Obama-administration investigations conducted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

But to date, the Fish and Wildlife Service has not provided all of the records, says the committee’s press rep, Michael Tadeo.

“Our subpoena has not been fully complied with,” Tadeo says. “The documents we have received have been heavily redacted, and the administration continues to stonewall us on this issue.”

Republican Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota congressman who’s on the Natural Resources Committee, tells NRO: “The Obama administration is clearly not just biased but hard-biased against fossil-fuel development, and it is willing to selectively enforce federal laws and rules to favor what they consider to be clean energy. It’s certainly not played out any clearer than it is with [the administration’s] enforcement of things like the Migratory Bird Act. . . . It’s a clear-cut bias. I think it’s hypocrisy at its worst. On one hand, they want to be environmentally clean. On the other, they don’t care how many birds they kill doing it.”

But Mike Daulton, vice president of government relations at the Audubon Society, says he’s skeptical of claims or suspicions of bias on the part of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“I think it’s a stretch to say that the law is being applied more to oil or gas, or that it’s being disproportionately applied,” Daulton tells NRO. “This is looking for an excuse to attack the administration. In the past, [the Migratory Bird Treaty Act] has been applied in very narrow circumstances. The application of the law to wind could be broader. . . . I’ve heard that there are cases in the pipeline at the Department of Interior and Justice.”

But Bob Johns, director of public relations at the American Bird Conservancy, says, “The numbers don’t lie — and those numbers say that the wind- and the solar-energy industries have not been held to the same standards that other industries have.”

Johns noted that the Altamont Energy wind farms in California, for example, kill between 70 and 80 golden eagles a year — and have never been prosecuted. He adds that he’s not aware of any prosecutions against solar companies.

Testifying to the House committee in March, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service said the agency was investigating 17 incidents at wind farms, along with 21 at oil and gas sites. It’s unclear whether any investigations have occurred at solar-energy sites, even as reports emerge that California’s Ivanpah solar plant alone may be responsible for up to 28,000 bird deaths annually.