Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I am in support of H.2048, which I asked my state Representative Sarah Peake to write and I worked with her office on the bill.
I am CEO of a health care consulting and quality improvement company that has a national reach, formed in 1979. One of our core competencies is developing educational programs to help health care professionals and patients. Within the first 10 hours of researching wind turbines I found ample scientific evidence to conclude that wind turbines cause serious health problems for some people living nearby. I was shocked to find this information and delved into the topic with great care to follow up every lead with facts. Unfortunately the truth is contrary to widely held assumptions. In the past over 3 years I have devoted most of my time as a volunteer working on this topic. What is happening is just so wrong. I created a map recently to show that in at least 21 communities throughout our Commonwealth people are suffering physically from wind turbines located too close to their homes.
This legislation is modeled after the very successful Lyme Commission bill. There are many similarities between the history of our understanding of Lyme Disease and the health impacts of wind turbines. In the early days of Lyme Disease, many health care professionals told people who reported adverse health symptoms, that ‘it was all in their heads’ and recommended psychiatric help. This perhaps was a response due to lack of information. It is the same situation faced today by many people who live in the proximity of wind turbines.
A commission to study the very real health impacts of wind turbines could make great advances. Since the spring of 2010 when the people in Falmouth started to experience health problems, I and others started to call for an honest study of the people living near wind turbines and experiencing health problems they did not have prior to the construction of the turbines. Please see the letter to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) dated June 2, 2010. I and other people working in the health care sector on the Cape and Islands as well as others signed this letter. I and my late husband have been in communication with DPH and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) on a regular basis since.
To date there has been no study. People who have filed numerous health complaints with their local boards, some over many years, are still suffering. It is extremely important that the health, safety and well being of the citizens in MA are first and foremost and not trumped by any political agenda.
MassDEP has betrayed the public trust and the work of their panel regarding health impacts is shameless propaganda to advance a political agenda. Their panel findings are harming people in MA and around the world. Regardless of the numerous communications sent, phone conversations, and meetings attended with MassDEP and DPH, promises and commitments were not kept. Simply put, the panel was not independent, it met in secret, no member of the public could testify or attend meetings, no minutes were kept that we know of, they did not even bother to conduct a site visit to Falmouth which was part of the scope of the panel, and when I requested information about the proceedings of the panel through the freedom of information act, I was told in writing that it would cost $18,824.01 or more to receive redacted files. During the comment period prior to the panel’s deliberation, I spent three months full time working to provide materials for the panel to review. I and others compiled over 200 documents, many of which are peer-reviewed scientific articles. After 6 months of public records requests following the release of the panel findings, MassDEP admitted that they received the CD with the documents, but the panel never was given the CD or the documents provided.
My husband and I have personally conducted interviews with over 200 people in 15 countries around the world regarding this topic. What we found is that the symptoms are the same all over the globe and people get worse over time. It is a dose response. Even in France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and other places where we hear everyone loves wind turbines, there are many people who are sick. I am here today to tell you that there are clusters of people living too close to wind turbines all over the world who are sick and are experiencing the same symptoms as the people in MA. These people are working hard to have the wind turbines near them stopped and working so that no new turbines are constructed.
No one is stepping up to the plate to help the people who are seriously impacted. Is there simply is no humanity? Is it because, to quote a high level official of my regional planning agency, this is “greed masquerading as environmentalism” and it is OK to hide behind this cloak of rationalization like the emperor with no clothes.
My husband often said that we live in the greatest democracy on the face of this planet. When citizens see that something is wrong, they can stand up and speak out, and try to right the wrong. This is a country where minorities have rights, the people who are sick have rights. As he would have said, this is a Profiles in Courage moment for you to do the right thing. I urge you to move this bill for a vote and work hard to pass this legislation. It is high time for the people who are sick and tired to heal.
Thank you for your time today.
Presented July 9, 2013.