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‘The silence is gone’: Iowans search for solution regarding noise from wind turbines

GREENFIELD, Iowa – While continuing the conversation over a public outcry southwest of Des Moines, KCCI’s Tommie Clark speaks to people who believe wind turbines are hurting their health and others who don’t agree with that claim.

“You get up every day. You go to work with it every day. I mean the silence is gone, and it’s forever gone. Yeah, it’s gone,” said Tanya and Mike Lamb, of Greenfield.

The Lambs live 500 feet down from a wind turbine and can’t forget the seven surrounding their property.

“It’s so loud and it hurts my ears that I mean we can’t sit outside,” Tanya Lamb said.

Inside their Greenfield home a grassroots effort is growing. Community members have come together to search for a solution.

“People will pay dearly for what’s happening,” said Dr. W. Ben Johnson, a cardiologist.

Johnson hears Tanya Lamb’s concern. He’s coming at the issue from a landowner and medical professional perspective.

“My concern has been around environmental noise and how it can adversely affect health,” Johnson said. “Wind is another form of environmental noise.”

Iowa State University graduate professor James McCalley, an expert in wind energy, said the wind turbines do not affect health.

“Not with sufficient setback,” McCalley said. “I don’t see that wind turbines pose a significant health impact in any way, as long as noise and shadow flicker are addressed.”

Johnson said while the issue is obvious to him, others may not understand.

“We just need to have an epiphany of understanding what the dimensions are. What don’t people get? They don’t see it as a real threat because they aren’t burned out villages and piles of bodies,” Johnson said. “There are people who are quietly saying, ‘I can’t handle this,’ so they pack up and leave. They sell their farm at a loss.”

The Lambs said there simply needs to be more regulations and dialogue between those putting up the turbines and the people living underneath them.

“Nobody knows until they live around them,” Tanya and Mike Lamb said. “You don’t know. You might think you know. You might think it’s good and it may be good around certain places, but not around somebody’s home.”