Public Health and Safety - UPC Cohocton Wind Farm

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Wind Turbines Hazard To Your Health

Public Health and Safety placed at risk by UPC Cohocton Wind Farm

The more you know the greater your outrage! Government has an intrinsic duty to protect the public health and safety of citizens. Local jurisdictions, especially on the town and county levels are supposed to have the closest empathy for their neighbors and residents. The theory that planning committees and town boards administer according to their solemn responsibility is not a given. Blatant and conscious disregard to fulfill their public oath is no further away then the caviler and heavy hand on the Town of Cohocton as it pushes a man made disaster.

UPC, the developer of the Cohocton Wind Power project, operates under a shell of corporate shields. Acting under Canandaigua Power Partners 1 and 2, LLC – the two phase project has been introduced to circumvent the impact of a single plan. Just how many more ventures are ready to be unveiled and are being kept from public scrutiny? What is the purpose of conducting business under a stealth shield of disinformation and disingenuous dealings? Part of the answer rests in the severe adverse health effects to residents that live in proximity to the 2.0 MW wind turbines. Listen to the real life experience of the horror and medical consequences of being located too near to these health hazards. The testimonials on Save Upstate New York speaks volumes and goes directly to the reason why meaningful set backs are so necessary to protect households, families and children.

Examine closely the scientific research of noted scientist Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD.
Industrial wind turbines produce significant amounts of audible and low-frequency noise. Dr. Oguz A. Soysal, Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Physics and Engineering at Frostburg State University in Maryland, measured sound levels over half a mile away from the Meyersdale, PA, 20-turbine wind farm. Typical audible (A-weighted) dB (decibel) levels were in the 50-60 range, and audible plus low-frequency (C-weighted) dB were in the 65-70 range. 65-70 dB is the loudness of a washing machine, vacuum cleaner, or hair dryer. A difference of 10 dB between A and C weighting represents a significant amount of low-frequency sound by World Health Organization standards.

The noise produced by wind turbines has a thumping, pulsing character, especially at night, when it is more audible. The noise is louder at night because of the contrast between the still, cool air at ground level and the steady stream of wind at the level of the turbine hubs. This nighttime noise travels a long distance. It has been documented to be disturbing to residents 1.2 miles away from wind turbines in regular rolling terrain, and 1.5 miles away in Appalachian valleys.

If these facts don’t trigger your anxiety level, you won’t find any relief from the medical data with a long standing experience of the health problems from wind turbines:

Dr. Amanda Harry, a British physician, found (near a 16-turbine installation in 2003) that 13 out of 14 people surveyed reported an increase in headaches, and 10 reported sleep problems and anxiety. Other symptoms included migraine, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, stress, and depression.

Noise itself can induce dizziness and loss of balance in people with a previous history of noise-induced hearing loss, since, when people damage their hearing through too much exposure to loud (e.g., machine) noise, the balance organs in the inner ear may also be damaged. This is known as the Tullio phenomenon.

Still need more evidence? Consider these peer review conclusions. Balaban, CD, and Thayer, JF. 2001. Neurological bases for balance-anxiety links. Journal of Anxiety Disorders 15:53-79, wrote:
Dizziness (specifically, vertigo) and anxiety are neurologically linked phenomena. Hence the anxiety and depression seen in association with other symptoms near wind installations are not a neurotic response to symptoms, but rather a neurologically linked response to the balance disturbances people experience from shadow flicker or low-frequency noise. Sleep deprivation, by the way, also causes anxiety and depression.
More troublesome concerns of living within the harmful effects of wind turbines are demonstrated by Sataloff, J, et al. 1987. Tinnitus and vertigo in healthy senior citizens without a history of noise exposure. American Journal of Otolaryngology 8:87-89.
Older people, who often sleep less soundly, are more likely to have their sleep disturbed by turbine noise. They may also suffer more disturbances in equilibrium near turbines because of age-related problems with the function of the inner ear (e.g., dizziness and tinnitus: ringing in the ears) or from the nerves or parts of the brain receiving signals from the inner ear. It is noteworthy that among healthy people age 57 to 91, 5% have chronic dizziness, and 24% tinnitus.
Dr. Nina Pierpont presents additional health dangers.
When turning with the sun behind them, turbine blades cast moving shadows across the landscape and houses, described as a strobe effect within houses, which can be difficult to block out. Some people lose their balance or become nauseated from seeing the movement. As with car or sea sickness, this is because the three organs of position perception (the inner ear, eyes, and stretch receptors in muscles and joints) are not agreeing with each other: the eyes say there is movement, while the ears and stretch receptors do not. People with a personal or family history of migraine, or migraine-associated phenomena such as car sickness or vertigo, are more susceptible to these effects. The strobe effect can also provoke seizures in people with epilepsy.
What is the overwhelming public interest that takes precedent over the health and safety of the 150 residents that are being condemned to a life of chronic ill health? The rational solution is to demand proper set backs. Remember that the size of turbines in the Cohocton UPC project are 33% bigger than those slated for the adjacent Town of Prattsburgh. The noise levels in the UPC impact study are based upon 1.5 MW turbines. Reasonable and objective public officials would acknowledge the flaws in the UPC DEIS report. Where is the legitimate oversight when a township refuses to protect the health of resident taxpayers?

The common sense solution is to ensure the fundamental rights and protection for all citizens from government approved complicity in harming the health of residents. Irresponsible conduct and negligence bears substantial liability for the municipality, developer and all lessors under contract because they are knowingly placing this neighbors health at risk.

Setbacks of 1.5 – 2.0 miles from such wind turbines is the prudent and moral requirement. The fall out from such reckless public policy will touch other area townships. The conscience of the Cohocton community seems to have been lost. Some have sold their souls for a few pieces of silver. The real and true price of this UPC project will be paid for decades to come. No one can turn a blind eye to the willful harm to neighbors and accept such injustice in silence. Immediate action to increase the setback limits from 1,500 feet to a distance which will ensure that each surrounding household does not jeopardize their health is imperative and the duty of government on all levels. Show you outrage, write and place your objections into the legal record. Contact the Town of Cohocton and demand meaningful modification to the UPC project. Save our Finger Lakes region, full details on Cohocton Wind Watch.

James Hall – May 7, 2006

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