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A Mockery of Environmentalism  

It’s outrageous that any environmental organization would advocate AGAINST our local rural environments and FOR the industrial developers who are infiltrating them at alarming rates.

The (so-called) Environmental Advocates of New York are demonstrating a lack of knowledge about the wind industry and total disregard for the residents who are being asked to share the rest of their lives with dozens of gargantuan machines.

Reunion Power’s claim that “1,200-foot setbacks are restrictive” defies all common sense, yet these sentiments are echoed by wind developers everywhere in order to more easily achieve their goals within the boundaries of residential areas where industrial development has always been considered inappropriate.

Wind developers across New York State are using the inexperience of policy makers and the lack of any guiding precedent to their advantage by telling us they are the experts, and “these” are the numbers to use as our parameters.

Ironically, their machines keep growing taller while their “recommended” setbacks continue to shrink.

The only true mitigating factor with regard to proposed commercial-scale wind turbines and existing homes is adequate distance. Indeed, wind supporter and acoustic expert Dick Bowdler states that the idea of putting such massive machines so close to residents is likely to cause serious problems. When consulted, he advocates that commercial turbines never be built closer than a mile and a quarter to any occupied structure.

The French Academy of Medicine came out this year with recommendations for 1.5-kilometer setbacks based on rising health concerns in that country, and the only peer-reviewed published paper that exists on wind-turbine noise states, “at a distance of 1,500 meters (4,900 feet), tall wind turbines may in fact be up to 18 decibels noisier than the calculated values suggest. A further increase in annoyance may be expected because of the pulse-like character of the wind turbine noise, especially at high rotational speeds.”

Just this past June, a flicker study was done for Horizon Wind Energy by WIND Engineers Inc. that demonstrates flicker can still be an issue at a distance of almost 5,000 feet, and a nuisance as far away as 3,300 feet.

Earlier this year in Pubnico Point, Nova Scotia, all eight members of the d’Entremont family had to abandon their home of 23 years because several turbines within a half-mile of their residence were making the children sick and causing their Mom’s migraines to worsen, according to CBC interviews.

This is just one example of what is happening more and more often as commercial wind development proliferates without concern for the inhabitants of the local environments that are targeted.

If a wind turbine is so close as to dominate the immediate surroundings, it’s too close. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how such a distortion in the environment would degrade the quality of life for anyone directly impacted.

Transforming the normal outdoor living experience into a virtual Disney attraction will surely prove intolerable for many. All one has to do is stand 1,200 feet from an operating 400-foot industrial wind turbine and imagine sharing every day with the constant motion and intrusive presence of the massive machine, magnified if you have more than one nearby.

And if you want to sell and move away, your chance to advertise “country living at its best” is gone. You can no longer refer to your home as quiet, peaceful, serene or as having beautiful views, yet developers tell us our property values will go up, not down, with turbines nearby!

Many advocates aren’t even denying these things anymore. Their tactic now is simply to convince us these consequences are a small price to pay in the name of the environment.

And because of the strong symbolism associated with the huge structures, environmental groups like the Advocates of New York have adopted this mantra as well. Considering that most members won’t have to deal directly with the impacts themselves, it’s an easy thing for them to do.

Wind developers make up the rules as they go along. They’ve insisted that their skyscraper-sized steel monsters make good neighbors despite mounting data to the contrary, and because few question their “expert” status, their claims are often accepted at face value without further meaningful research.

The commercial wind industry is making a mockery of all environmental and renewable energy advocates who support them. They’re often ruthless in their local activities, and they will no doubt disappear long before we can hold them accountable for their indiscretions against us and against the planet.

Where, wonder, will the Advocates for New York and others like them be when society realizes the folly of it all?


This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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