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Falmouth turbine foes reject state study

FALMOUTH – Residents who say the Wind 1 turbine is detrimental to their health shared their reactions Monday night about the state-commissioned study that rebuffed many of their claims.

The Wind 1 turbine was shut down in November after residents reported they were suffering from sleep deprivation, depression and tinnitus among other health problems.

Kathryn Elder told the board of health she was among those residents who experienced problems with the turbine.

“It has nothing to do with carbon footprints. It has nothing to do with how much money has been spent in investments. It has to do with our basic rights and freedom,” she said. “If we can’t uphold our basic right to get a good night’s sleep in this country, something is wrong.”

The turbine has been a source of controversy in Falmouth for more than a year now, with the latest study adding an additional source of debate.

The study, commissioned by the state and conducted by multiple medical experts based in Massachusetts, found no evidence that noise and shadow flicker from wind turbines directly harm people living near the machines.

The study did, however, mention it was possible that noise from some turbines can disrupt sleep.

Board member George Heufelder told residents that he has visited the turbines, stood under them and tried to get a sense of what the experience was like. The hang-up has always been in finding a definitive and scientific way of proving all of the claims were definitely linked to the turbines via sampling and what would come next from the board.

“I’m sorry and I apologize to everyone out there – but making a decision that has such implications without knowing for sure, and I know there are 20 people in this room that know something for sure, but I’m sorry, we don’t know,” he said.

Annie Hart Cool told the board that it is on the cusp of a tremendous opportunity – to stop the adverse effects caused by the turbines before hindsight could show differently. And the turnout of people, she said, was proof of the problem.

“My mom, she used to have these little sayings,” she said. “If one person calls you a horse – their opinion. Two people, it’s a conspiracy, but if three people call you a horse, god, well you have to buy a saddle. There are more than three people here, there’s a lot of unhealthy things going on around those turbines.”

The state is accepting public comments about the turbine study over the next 60 days and has several public hearings scheduled in February. There is one scheduled at Bourne High School from 5 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 16.