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Monday, August 31, 2009

Turbines' "health effects are likely self-induced and psychological"

From an article by Charles Brace in the Wisconsin State Journal:

TOWN OF BYRON — Retired mail carrier Gerry Meyer said he only sleeps two hours a night because of the constant swooshing sound and that his wife has started taking sleep medication.

His neighbor Nick Gonnering in South Byron, who lives just as close to the noise, said he finds the sound “relaxing.”

Either way, the sound of wind turbines is making more ears perk up as a bill moves forward in the Legislature that would empower the Public Service Commission to create statewide rules governing wind power and pre-empt local government control over their placement.

The rules would govern the distance between turbines and homes along with their noise and the flicker effects of shadows from their turbine blades. . . .

Connie Reich of the town of Byron in Fond du Lac County said she felt like she had no say in the wind project near her home. But, she said developer Invenergy does give $500 every December to her and other people in the community and that residents with turbines on their land get paid significantly more.

“If I had a choice, I’d rather have a turbine than a subdivision,” Reich said.

Byron resident Gerry Meyer said the noise has led to sleep loss and, as a result, high blood pressure.

“This wind factory has completely taken away our quality of life. We can rarely go outside without being stressed by the various sounds,” Meyer said in an e-mail.

Timothy Allen, professor of botany and environmental studies at UW-Madison and an expert on renewable energy, said any health effects are likely self-induced and psychological.

“I think it’s people who don’t want their skyline messed up,” Allen said.

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