Green energy companies are proposing to build more wind farms in Western Massachusetts – and folks from Brimfield who don’t want them in their backyards say they’re worried they can cause a whole host of health problems.
Brimfield residents testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health Tuesday, asking lawmakers to set up an independent commission to evaluate whether wind turbines can cause health problems.
“All of the international data is showing that turbines can affect people up to a mile and a quarter away, so we’re concerned about the effect for people across the state,” said Dale LaBonte of Brimfield, MA.
They said homeowners in the Berkshires and the Cape who live by wind turbines complain that they cause headaches, sleeplessness, and heart problems.
“The noise is part of it,” said Carol Platenik, who also lives in Brimfield. “[Wind turbines] can break down, they can catch fire, the flames can damage the wildlife, damage the grass. Oil is in those things. Oil can go into the ground and damage groundwater.”
A key reason for the state’s push toward wind energy is Governor Deval Patrick’s goal to get 800,000 homes powered by wind turbines by 2020.
Representative Todd Smola (R-Palmer) warns that the effects wind farms have on host communities hasn’t been properly studied by independent experts or professionals. As a result, he’s filed a bill to make that happen.
“Let’s do the homework, do the research and know what we’re getting in to,” said Smola. “What we shouldn’t be doing is having this knee-jerk reaction of bringing on a technology that we’re not 100% familiar with in terms of what the negative impacts are.”
Earlier this year First Wind, an independent energy company, backed out of a proposed deal to build a wind farm in Brimfield after facing vocal disapproval from local residents.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding