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« Hard Work, by Fantasia and Voss | Main | Crashing the Gate, by Armstrong & Moulitsas »


Gone With the Wind?

By Jacinta Faber
April 1, 2007

"The sounds were the soft 'whoosh' of the blades as they rotated in the wind, and the gentle humming of the machinery...nothing more than a lullaby, a sound that might lull you to sleep", reads an excerpt from Darrel Miller's recent column (Hays Daily News, 1 April 2007).

Wind generated electrical power is clean. Why then are we fighting it?

"The sounds were the soft 'whoosh' of the blades as they rotated in the wind, and the gentle humming of the machinery...nothing more than a lullaby, a sound that might lull you to sleep", reads an excerpt from Darrel Miller's recent column (Hays Daily News, 1 April 2007), "The answer, my friend, is blowin...? ," all bucolic and fuzzy. This is reminiscent of a scene out of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind," with Miss Scarlett mooning about her beloved Tara, silhouetted by a blazing sunset unaware of the fire lurking ahead. Certainly Mr. Miller was not describing the 130 turbine industrial wind operation that is planned to be sited less than one-half mile from my home. I have just finished reading a 137 page document entitled "Noise Radiation from Wind Turbines Installed Near Homes: Effects On Health," by Frey and Hadden, published in February 2007. You may find this document at www.windturbinenoisehealthhumanrights.com. The personal testimonies of home owners near industrial wind operations were anything but sweet and chirpy.

The wind proposal was brought to my attention about four weeks ago when I received a call from Krista Jo Gordon, a representative of CPV Wind Hays LLC. As a proponent of clean renewable energy, my initial reaction was positive. As a family we have taken significant steps in conserving energy in our home and understand the importance of combating global warming. I did, however, ask Krista Jo about the noise the turbines might produce. She stated that we probably would not hear them. Now Krista Jo may be naive or prone to telling half truths, but any good wind sales person worth her weight in wind would know that that there is more then one type of hearing.

Krista Jo's statement strongly conflicts with the latest data on noise and wind operations. France has had a great deal of experience with wind operations. So much so that the French National Academy of Medicine issued a report in 2006 on health related problems and wind operations. Their report concluded:

The harmful effects of sound related wind turbines are insufficiently assessed... People living near the towers, the heights of which vary from 10 to 100 meters [our towers will be slightly over 122 meters] sometimes complain of functional disturbances similar to those of chronic sound trauma. The sounds emitted by the blades being low frequency, which travel easily and vary according to the wind... constitutes a permanent risk for the people exposed to them.

The final recommendation of the Academy was to halt all wind turbine construction closer than one mile from residences until all studies are completed. Further into the document it discusses appropriate set-backs (the distance between a tower and a residence) according to varying topography. For the hilly area around Yocemento, an appropriate set-back would be 2-3 miles. At the present, the zoning committee has established set-backs of 1000 feet, which are woefully short of the distance needed to protect the citizens of Ellis County. Just as our County Commissioners would not recommend the reintroduction of asbestos to insulate school buildings, it would be a genuine shame if they were to ignore all the data available today concerning the appropriate location of an industrial wind farm. Will my family's health as well as the health of other families in this area soon be gone with the wind? Citizens of Ellis County and the world, speak up!

Jacinta Faber


Comments (1)

Very good essay....

I've read where sound engineers are now recommending setbacks for wind turbines of at least two miles from residential property. The best location, imo, is southwest KS on cultivated land where they welcome them.

peg

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