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Wind Turbine Health Impact Study Is Junk Science

[Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel, January 2012, prepared for: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Public Health]

Junk Science: What Is It?

“Junk science is faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special interests and hidden agendas.”

General Examples

“Government regulators may use junk science to expand their regulatory authority, increase their budgets or advance the political agenda of elected officials.”

“Businesses may use junk science to bad-mouth competitors’ products, make bogus claims about their own products, or to promote political or social change that would increase sales and profits.”

“Politicians may use junk science to curry favor with special interest groups, to be politically correct or to advance their own personal political beliefs.”

Specific Real-World Examples

The Tobacco Research Institute

The “research” was Junk Science.
It was untrue, manipulated and unreliable.
The “research” caused disease and death.

Asbestos Manufacturers

The “research” was Junk Science.
It was untrue, manipulated and unreliable.

Manufacturers of DDT

The original “research” was Junk Science.
It ignored the health and environmental risks of DDT.

The Wind Turbine Health Impact Study Is Junk Science

Deval Patrick sponsored and defends the study which “found no scientific evidence or medical studies to prove that living near a wind turbine has adverse impacts on people’s health, though it acknowledged further study is needed to look at health impacts stemming from ‘annoyance’ for residents who live near turbines.” [State Capitol Briefs, Afternoon Edition, Thursday, January 19, 2012, State House News Service]

The conclusions reached by the study are utterly and profoundly dishonest.

The study is labeled a “Report of Independent Expert Panel.”

The Panel relies primarily on an inexplicably small number (4) of published research papers, out of 100s that are available.

The sizes of the wind turbines studied are quite small.

The data, models and statistical analyses in these papers are flawed, in ways explicitly noted by the Panel.

When present, the model and analysis are wrong.
The studies introduce a multiplicity of other possible factors, all of which interfere with properly analyzing and estimating the impact of the primary factor upon health – turbine noise.

The Panel mentions but ignores the findings of the most recent analysis by the authors of two of their chosen studies (the Swedish studies). This most recent study contradicts the Panel’s conclusions as follows [as noted explicitly by the Panel at page 19]:

This exclusion is unprofessional, unscientific and outright dishonest.
This is Junk Science.

The Panel identifies the preferred type of study – time-series analyses, looking at families and households before and after the industrial turbines are put into operation → “A Before-and-After Study.”

The Panel does admit to finding the following:

The Panel however concludes that there is insufficient evidence that industrial wind turbines will have any effects upon residents near the installation. It states:

Reflect closely on this language.

The Panel’s report and conclusions are JUNK SCIENCE.

What does this mean for Shelburne?

Raymond S. Hartman is a Shelburne resident, living in the Patten District: ‘I have a BA from Princeton University and a Masters and PhD from MIT. All of my degrees are in mathematical economics. I have been a member (Associate Professor) of the faculties of MIT, Boston University, and University of California, Berkeley. I have published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and contract research using statistical and mathematical models, methods, and data. I am currently President and Director of Greylock McKinnon Associates, an economic consulting firm specializing in analysis in support of litigation. Indeed, I regularly have testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office in a variety of matters, including the 1995-1996 tobacco litigation (the result of which the Commonwealth received billions of dollars in settlement from “Big Tobacco”); litigation against large drug companies for defrauding the Massachusetts Medicaid program (2008-2011); the restructuring of the electric power industry (1990s); and a variety of utility rate cases (2000s). Over the past 40 years, I have reviewed and responded to hundreds of “Expert Reports” like “The Wind Turbine Health Impact Study.”’

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