Brown County appears to be digging a deeper and deeper hole for itself as more facts come to light surrounding Duke Energy’s Shirley Windpower. After an unusually long almost 3 months’ delay in satisfying a resident’s open records request, the records ultimately provided expose that former Brown County Health Officer Chua Xiong feels ill when visiting the Shirley Wind facility. In an email to her intern Carolyn Harvey she states:
“Carolyn the times I have been out there by the Wind Turbines, I get such migraine headaches. I think I should take some preventative Tylenol before I head out there.” (November 21, 2015)
Despite this admission, approximately one month later Ms. Xiong went on to make her declaration that “Currently there is insufficient scientific evidence-based research to support the relationship between wind turbines and health concerns.” She then went further in saying that this was her “final decision” and that she would only monitor the situation “on an annual basis”.
In this decision she completely ignored the real world health impact of Duke Energy’s wind turbines on Brown County families as evidenced through their sworn affidavits and their documentation of past and continued suffering, not to mention her own repeated migraines when in proximity to Duke’s turbines.
So what has happened between Ms. Xiong’s declaration and the March 18th release of the open records showing that Brown County’s Health Officer Chua Xiong suffers migraines when she is by the Shirley Wind turbines? On March 4th, Ms. Xiong submitted her resignation to County Executive Troy Streckenbach. He did not share this with County department heads until just two days before March 18th, Ms. Xiong’s last day. This date also coincides with Executive Streckenbach’s announcement of Brown County Corporation Counsel Juliana Ruenzel’s resignation.
It is high time that Brown County and its Health Director follow the lead of its own Board of Health who unanimously declared Duke’s wind turbines in Glenmore a “Human Health Hazard”. They need to recognize that residents are sick, homes have been abandoned, that outsiders (even the County’s own Health Director) feel ill while in the project area, and finally do whatever is necessary to protect the health and safety of southern Brown County residents.
Brown County does not need Shirley Wind to become its Flint, Michigan. Until the County does the right thing and takes action, families will continue to suffer, the County’s inaction will escalate their legal liability, and this issue will not go away.
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