Noise law proposed near wind turbines; Brown Co. health board seeks to hire consultant to draft ordinance
The Brown County Board of Health is considering drafting a low-frequency noise ordinance amid complaints of health problems for residents living near the Shirley Wind Farm in southern Brown County.
Testing was conducted in December to find if low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines at the site in Glenmore was responsible for the residents’ health complaints. Scientists did not find a correlation but recommended further testing at the site.
The Board of Health wants to hire Rick James, an acoustician, to consult and assist in drafting an ordinance and will ask for funds to cover his fees. The board will ask committees of Brown County supervisors for the dollars, not to exceed $4,000. James previously assisted Calumet County officials in creating a low-frequency noise ordinance.
Approximately 50 individuals living near the farm submitted affidavits to the Public Service Commission, listing health effects, including ear infections, heart palpitations, muscle and joint pain, malaise and other symptoms.
The move is celebrated by Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, a citizens advocacy group fighting operations at the Shirley Wind Farm.
Steve Deslauriers, the group’s spokesperson said he is “very thankful” for the board of health’s move.
“It would be a good ordinance because it would protect citizens from all low-frequency noise, not just (noise) generated by turbines,” Deslauriers said. “This counters all the propaganda (from the wind industry).”
Clean Wisconsin, the group that conducted the study and advocates for clean energy, said the board of health’s move is “premature.”
“Testing found nothing (harmful) at the Shirley Wind Farm,” said Katie Nekola, Clean Wisconsin’s general counsel. “An ordinance would be jumping the gun. This would be a big mistake … a real mistake.”
Duke Energy, which operates the Shirley Wind Farm maintains that the project provides safe, clean and reliable energy in compliance of laws and ordinances.
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