Horizon, sponsor of the proposed Alabama Ledge Wind Farm, held an open meeting on March 17 at the Alabama Town Hall to respond to environmental concerns raised by the impact of industrial wind turbines. Surprisingly, their collective effect upon local residents’ health was unexplored. Therefore, this overview will attempt to summarize a recent inquiry into the impact of wind turbines upon persons and animals.
Preston G. Ribnick and Lilli-Ann Green, from Wellfleet (Cape Cod), Mass., own a medical consulting agency, advising hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. They have spent almost a year trying to understand the complexities of wind energy. Two foci of their attention have been the wind farms in Falmouth, Mass., and Vinalhaven, Maine. Early this year, Ribnick and Green were the guests of Sarah Laurie, M.D., of Waubra, Australia. Dr. Laurie and her medical colleagues have been compiling files on dozens of persons whose health has been seriously compromised by the Waubra Wind Farm. Ribnick and Green interviewed a sample of the patients.
Waubra, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Melbourne, is primarily an agricultural community of growers who raise livestock – cattle, poultry and sheep – as well as a variety of crops. It isn’t uncommon for farms to have been in families for two or more generations, and like much of Australia, drought conditions have prevailed for nearly a decade. Wind turbines seemed like a godsend; a stable source of rental income to accompany the precarious economy.
The Waubra Wind Farm is an installation of 128 turbines in as many miles; one turbine to one mile. After the industrial wind turbine complex was up and running in 2009, dozens of previously healthy persons reported serious health issues with themselves and their animals. Here are some common complaints. They are not age-specific. They occur in children as well as in mature adults.
People – dangerously high rates in blood pressure, racing heartbeats, stroke, heart attack, sleep disturbance, involuntary neurological “upper lip quiver,” ringing in ears, inability to concentrate, severe headache, eye pain, and dizziness.
Animals – chickens laying eggs without shells, nearly one-half of the lambs expiring shortly after birth, disoriented sheep, dogs as well as birds displaying extremely agitated and abnormal behavior, and the virtual disappearance of bats.
Conditions inside of homes were worse than those outside, because houses vibrated. As a result, some people have left hearth and home and now consider themselves to be “industrial refugees.” How far away were these physiological complaints reported? Up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) distance from the wind turbine installations. By inference, these data should raise our local concern for those residents in Genesee, and nearby counties, who live well beyond the proposed sites for turbine installations in the town of Alabama.
The results of Ribnick, Green and Laurie’s work is widely available. A hard copy of the article upon which this summary is based is at the circulation desk of the Haxton Memorial Library in Oakfield. Anyone opting for an electronic link, as well as additional scientific information, place contact me.
Sally Ross, Ph.D., lives in Oakfield.
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