A week after he proposed forming a task force to study possible health effects related to the Shirley Wind Farm, a Brown County lawmaker reversed field on Wednesday and withdrew the proposal.
“I don’t think that anything that can be said will get us any closer” to answers about whether the eight wind turbines can be blamed for health problems reported by people living near them, Green Bay Supervisor Erik Hoyer said. He spoke at a meeting of the County’s Board’s Human Service Committee. Seven days earlier, he had called for the formation of a group of “scientists, physicians, citizens and supervisors” to resolve the years-long fight over whether the turbines are making some of their neighbors sick.
The idea, however, might not be completely dead.
Committee Chairman Patrick Evans said after the meeting that he plans to ask the full Board of Supervisors in March to form the committee anyway, saying symptoms reported by some people living in Glenmore and Morrison are too significant to ignore. He said he didn’t know what size group he would propose or who might be on it, but said the appointments would be his responsibility as Human Services chairman.
The task force, he said, “was a great idea.”
Some people in Glenmore and Morrison claim the wind farm, which went on-line in 2010, been causing sleep disturbances, vertigo and other issues. Others, including wind farm-owner Duke Energy Renewables, insist there is no causal link between the turbines and reported illnesses.
Lawmakers on Wednesday heard from people on both sides of the issue.
“The massive weight of evidence is on the site that there are” links between turbines and health problems, said Jim Vanden Boogart, president of the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy.
But Marty Adams, a sanitarian for the county Health Department, said lawmakers who continue to link health problems to the turbines are only tempting a lawsuit.
“Fifty percent of the people who die die from heart disease,” he said. “How many people die from wind turbines? Zero.”
The county Board of Health declared in 2014 that low-frequency noise from the windmills presents a potential health hazard, but Health Director Chua Xiong in December said insufficient evidence exists to confirm that finding.
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