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Wind farm opponents reject study; Say DEP study ignores evidence

State officials are inviting the public to comment on a study that evaluates the health impact of wind turbines. This Wind Turbine Impact Study says there is no scientific evidence linking wind turbines to negative health effects. This finding has many people across the state divided.

Eleanor Tillinghast president of the group Green Berkshires, is among those who believe the report is not reliable. “The report that was issued by DEP is junk science. It ignored all the anecdotal testimony of people who live not just here in Massachusetts, but all around the world,” Tillinghast said.

Wind Action Committee member Emily Rochon, however, says that the report’s findings are very sound. “We’re very proud of the DEP and the DPH, taking this proactive step to actually add some science into this very emotional debate,” Rochon said.

Green energy advocates like Rochon are seizing the opportunity that the report is providing them. “Harnessing wind energy resources will allow us to actually shut down coal plants, like Holyoke, and help alleviate some of the public health pressures that the energy generation in that part of the state is having on local residents,” she said.

But people who live near wind turbines say that the study cherry-picks through the scientific literature and ignores what they experience daily. They agree, however, that wind energy is good energy, so long as it’s not in the backyard of someone who doesn’t want it. “Wind energy has its place,” said Neil Anderson, who lives near a Falmouth wind farm. “Not a quarter a mile from people’s houses.”

Wind Action Committee member Michael Green says that not every community presented with a wind farm proposal has been against it. “There’s plenty of communities and throughout the state of Massachusetts that have opened to wind energy with open arms, specifically here in Boston, the community of Hull,” Green said.

Two more public meetings are scheduled this month on Cape Cod and in the Berkshires. Following that, the state will decide whether to accept the findings of the study or not.