Once again, the proponent of the Bodangora Industrial Wind complex and its supporters are desperately trying to convince everyone that all is well with turbines and we have nothing to fear from them as a result of the NHMRC review last month.
Had they actually taken the time to read the document and understand what it means, they may not have been so quick to loudly trill that all was well. But, these people are desperate, will grasp at any straw and spin it any way they can.
For Mr Boland to claim in the Wellington Times on February 26 that, “the revelations were consistent with his company’s research and commitment” means he either didn’t read the NHMRC document or if he did, he didn’t understand it.
Or maybe he was hoping that with a little spin (OK, a lot of spin), we would all be mesmerised and swallow the wind industry line.
The NHMRC document was put together so badly, that the conclusions reached by the NHMRC have left it open to criticism that the processes undertaken in reaching those conclusions have been compromised.
To the extent that experts used by the NHMRC have been “outed” as having actually pocketed a pile of cash while working for their wind industry clients.
Dr Norm Broner works for Sinclair Knight Merz, which is a consulting firm used very extensively by the wind industry. He is on the NHMRC review panel.
As Senator Madigan (VIC) suggested during the Community Affairs Legislation Committee on February 26, hardly an independent review when, “the only acoustician on the panel was someone who has officially undisclosed ties with the wind industry”.
The response from the NHMRC was to first of all claim that they were not aware of the association of the acoustician and then to claim that the conflict of interest was “placed in the public domain”.
As if that somehow made the conflict acceptable.
Succinctly put again by Senator Madigan when he asked, “Why are the conflicts even there when the NHMRC is supposedly independent?”
Conflicts aside, if you read the report, it becomes abundantly clear that the reason the NHMRC did not find a reliable and consistent link between IWT’s and adverse health effects was because they did not trust the quality of the research.
Understandable when you realise that only seven studies worldwide were sufficiently rigorous to comply with the NHMRC standards of robustness.
Only one of those was of Australian origin. Even so, the fact remains that there was some evidence that IWT’s could have adverse health effects on humans and this was recognised by the NHMRC.
It is quite apparent to anyone following this review that the NHMRC has serious reservations as to the lack of reliable and independent research into IWT’s and health effects, with the CEO of the NHMRC (Professor Warwick Anderson) saying, “the quality of existing evidence is poor, further research of the highest standard is warranted”.
When Senator Di Natalie (VIC) tried to summarise the NHMRC’s review by concluding that the study showed there “is no evidence that a discrete condition known as wind turbine syndrome exists”, he was quickly shot down by Professor Anderson.
Senator Natalie went further and asked if it would be a fair statement.
The NHMRC response was a flat “no”. Professor Anderson continued by saying that there was, “no reliable or consistent evidence at this time”.
Back to the Wellington Times of February 26, and the claim made by Mr Leigh Ewbank from Friends of the Earth that the “review shows once again that windfarms are clean and safe” appear to be starting to unravel with the NHMRC calling for more research.
The findings are now not consistent with previous research as claimed by Mr Ewbank which might have something to do with the recognition by the NHMRC that there is some evidence to the contrary.
His (Mr Ewbank’s) final comment was, “this is the final straw for anti-wind groups such as the Waubra Foundation”.
May I put him and the other desperate wind supporters on notice.
The Bodangora Wind Turbine Awareness Group along with the Waubra Foundation and many others around the world are only just getting started.
It was once said by Emile Zola (who was a French writer), “if you shut up the truth and bury it underground, it will but grow and gather itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way”.
For the wind industry, that day is rapidly approaching and for those in the community counting their dollars from hosting wind turbines, one final recommendation, don’t count very high.