When I first heard about industrial wind turbines trying to be slipped into coastal North Carolina, I remember thinking: Everyone in every state that is being threatened and fighting this issue with their own town councils and state officials should band together and file a federal class-action lawsuit and bring the issue to a halt.
To do this would mean we would have to have a specific number sign on as part of the class from each area (state) being threatened. This would allow us to get the action into federal court and ask for a moratorium on erecting any industrial-size wind turbines anywhere in the United States until such time as it can be proven they are beneficial to the people and not just developers who have been allowed tax credits and write-offs for up to 25 years.
We should have specific outlines with regard to every danger they present – land values, health issues, etc. Such a lawsuit could ask for strict guidelines to be put in place nationwide.
This could be done by the residents of Carteret County in a federal action of their own, but I simply feel it would be to everyone’s benefit to include those from every state, thereby including the assistance of everyone involved. Doing it this way also would mean the expense of attorneys could be shared. Additionally, nationwide action would bring national publicity to the issue.
I’m not an attorney, but I am well aware that a federal class-action lawsuit could stop what is endangering many of us. It would take the action into federal courts for a decision rather than leaving it with state and local elected officials. So far, each community is fighting local battles to little avail and with only limited resources. Once federal guidelines are established, it would no longer be up to state legislatures or county boards.
I took such an action in the ’60s against the Portsmouth, Va., public schools, the superintendent of schools, the school board, the Virginia Department of Education and the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Health, Education and Welfare had cut off federal funds to schools in Portsmouth, Va., because the schools refused to give HEW access to the files of all children in special-education classes. My son was one of those children, and I knew that to allow his file be turned over to HEW to enter medical information into its data system could conceivably have ruined his life, as well as the lives of the thousands of learning- disabled children nationwide.
I was able to get the participation of the number of parents necessary to file the class-action suit in federal court in Norfolk, Va. I was the only witness to testify for the group, and the federal judge agreed 100 percent that the information in the file was private and confidential and should not be turned over to HEW.
We were allowed to outline exactly what HEW was allowed to have access to, and HEW was ordered to reinstate the federal funding to the school system. This was the beginning of the Federal Privacy Act with which we’re all familiar.
The same principles apply with regard to dangers presented by the wind turbine industry in our country. Turbines literally are threatening the people along our coastal and mountain areas throughout the United States. It has been proven they are a danger to our health and property; therefore, the federal court should be asked to intervene and protect us.
This one action could stop each affected person or locality from having to fight individually, and would establish the strict regulations needed for this dangerous industry nationwide.
I feel this choice of action needs to be presented to everyone concerned. If we don’t take action soon, it will be too late. There is victory in numbers, and I believe if this information is made available to those fighting the issue, we will have the numbers necessary to win the battle.
Hilda E. Davis, Beaufort
25 May 2008
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