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Further comments on the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Study — Muddying the waters  

Credit:  Paul Schomer and George Hessler, 20 February 2015 ~~

The Cooper report on the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm is well-documented and states exactly what it does, but, as predicted, there are those who seek to obfuscate what the report is with specious arguments.

On 10 February 2015 George Hessler and I warned that rather than making patently groundless arguments, something like an “expert statistical analysis” could be expected “proving” this was not a “valid sample” of the public at large, or proving the study did not do something else it was never intended to do. Now we see the assertion that this was a “medical study” and that Steven Cooper, George and I are not qualified to make medical judgements. And of course we are not medical researchers, but it is the predicate that is wrong. This is not a medical study, and these are not medical conclusions. As predicted, this study is being made to be something that is not.

To explain this we offer the following analogy. Part of the condition of being a human is we get gas. And certainly many if not most have observed the cause-and-effect relation between eating beans and a certain aromatic condition. We ask each reader to reflect on this. Does it take a medical researcher to tell you that eating beans causes gas in some people? Certainly not. The medical research may say why or how the gas is produced in the body. But anyone can make the simple observation of the relation between eating beans and the aromatic condition, cause-and-effect, literally the input to and the output from the system.

The Cooper study is a variation of how one “discovers” the relationship: beans in–gas out. Cooper examines three possible inputs: sound level of the receivers (six subjects), the vibration levels at the receivers, and the power output of nearby turbines. Cooper’s outputs are the periodic observations by each subject as to the degree by which they feel they are being affected by wind turbines, specifically at the time they are giving these observations. The cause and effect is found between the input, the turbine power, and the outputs, subject’s judgements as to the degree they are being affected at the time. As with the beans in–gas out example, the processes inside the body are not explained; nothing “medical” is dealt with. Just the inputs to and the outputs from the body are dealt with. The result is as the wind turbines affect these 6 subjects and that the greater the turbine power, the greater the degree of effect. And, of course, the subjects had no knowledge as to the power output of any of the wind turbines

The results are that there is a cause and effect relationship between turbine power output and subject response, and, at the same time there is no correlation between subject response and either sound level or vibration level. These results show that there is a non-visual, non-audible pathway by which wind turbine emissions can cause some specific effects in some people. These results say nothing about the nature of these effects. Nothing internal to the body is discussed. We again reiterate to government and to wind farm operators, if you don’t believe the results, replicate the study using clearly independent consultants [1].

Some may ask, this is only 6 people, why is it so important? The answer is that up until now windfarm operators have said there are no known cause and effect relations between windfarm emissions and the response of people living in the vicinity of the windfarm other than those related to visual and/or audible stimuli, and these lead to some flicker which is treated, and “some annoyance with noise.” This study proves that there are other pathways that affect some people, at least 6. The windfarm operator simply cannot say there are no known effects and no known people affected. One person affected is a lot more than none; the existence of just one cause-and-effect pathway is a lot more than none. It only takes one example to prove that a broad assertion is not true, and that is the case here. Windfarms will be in the position where they must say: “We may affect some people.” And regulators charged with protecting the health and welfare of the citizenry will not be able to say they know of no adverse effects. Rather, if they choose to support the windfarm, they will do so knowing that they may not be protecting the health and welfare of all the citizenry.

Paul D. Schomer, Ph.D., P.E.
Schomer and Associates, Inc.; Standards Director, Acoustical Society of America
George Hessler, Hessler Associates, Inc.

20 February 2015


[1] Cooper’s test shows cause and effect for at least one non-visual, non-audible pathway to affect people. If one only wanted to test for the ability to sense the turning on of wind turbines, and not replicate the cause and effect portion of Cooper’s study, this reduced test could be accomplished in one to two months with a cooperative windfarm where there are residents who are self-selected as being very or extremely sensitive to wind turbine acoustic emissions and who also assert that they have this sensing ability. This study, a subset of the full Cooper tests, would only prove, again, that non-visual, non-auditory pathways exist by which wind turbine emissions may affect the body and “signal” the brain.

Source:  Paul Schomer and George Hessler, 20 February 2015

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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