This man’s family can’t sleep (Ubly, Michigan)
May 29, 2010
This man’s family often can’t sleep. They get nauseous, they get headaches, and they’ve been forced to rent an apartment in town. They and their neighbors are suing the wind company.
Click on yellow triangle, below.
The following is quoted from a newspaper article describing the terms of the lawsuit. It’s worth reading—Editor.
Count I: Private nuisance
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they have property rights and privileges with respect to the use and enjoyment of their property, and the defendants interfered with those rights by creating, through the operation of the wind farm, “significant and material intrusions upon the plaintiffs’ property.”
Intrusions detailed in the lawsuit include:
• Low frequency noise and subaudible infrasound and/or impulse noise created by and emitted from the wind turbines, which range as close as 1,100 and 1,700 feet away from each plaintiff’s home.
• Sustained and highly disturbing audible noise created by the wind turbines.
• Amplitude modulation in both audible and sub-audible frequency ranges emitted from the turbines.
• A flicker/strobe light effect that covers the plaintiffs’ properties when sunlight passes through the rotating turbine blades.
The lawsuit states the interference and invasions caused by the conduct of the wind energy companies was either intentional and unreasonable, or unintentional and negligent conduct.
“The intrusions caused by the turbines in the wind farm cause plaintiffs actual physical discomforts and would cause such physical discomfort to a person of ordinary sensibilities,” the lawsuit states.
Physical harm and negative health effects listed in the lawsuit included: Inability to sleep and repeated awakening during sleep, headaches, dizziness, stress and tension, extreme fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, nausea, and other physiological and cognitive effects.
The lawsuit notes the symptoms experienced by David and Marilyn Peplinski’s family forced them to rent an apartment away from the wind farm in order to avoid the adverse health effects.
“Despite the conditions caused by the continued operation of the wind farm and the resulting health conditions suffered by the plaintiffs, John Deere, John Deere Renewables and Michigan Wind I continue to operate and/or profit from the wind farm,” the lawsuit states.
Count II: Public nuisance
“Based on the aforementioned allegations, the actions of (the defendants) constitute an unreasonable interference with a common right enjoyed by the general public, including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states. “Said actions resulted in the existence or creation of a dangerous condition to plaintiffs and other members of the general public and further resulted in significant harm to plaintiffs.”
In the portion of the lawsuit alleging the local wind park is a public nuisance, the lawsuit states the plaintiffs suffered harm and personal injuries different from the harm suffered by the general public, specifically, the increased harm to their health and well being that resulted from the close proximity of the turbines to their primary residences.
“The actions of (the defendants) further created a nuisance in fact, which was either intentional or negligent, by causing a hazardous or dangerous situation,” the lawsuit states.
Count III: Negligent design of wind farm
The lawsuit claims the wind companies had a duty to use reasonable care in the design and construction of the wind farm, specifically in relation to selecting turbine locations.
That duty was breached by the defendants, the lawsuit claims, because the companies ignored available data regarding the probability of negative health effects associated with placing the turbines in close proximity to the plaintiffs’ homes.
Also, the lawsuit references a noise assessment included in the project’s site plan review application that estimated only audible noise levels within the dBA range, and did not consider low frequency noise or impulse noise.
The lawsuit cites portions of the noise assessment stating, “in general, it is undesirable for any home, particularly that of a non-participant, to be on or inside a 45 dBA contour,” and “the probability of complaints from any project opponent exposed to this project noise level would be extremely high.”
Turbine noise measured at four of the plaintiffs’ homes ranged from 45 to 51 dBA, according to results from a noise study paid for by John Deere last fall that are included in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the wind companies “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” sited the wind turbines in a way that increased the negative health effects and other damages. Other allegations state the wind companies negligently, carelessly and recklessly failed to construct the turbines at a safe distance from the plaintiffs’ residences, and to exercise reasonable care to prevent an unsafe condition and unreasonable risk of harm.
Count IV: Negligent misrepresentation
The lawsuit claims the wind companies made false representations in board of commissioner and planning commissioner meetings and public hearings when company representatives said the wind farm’s operations would not result in a noise nuisance or cause adverse health effects to adjacent landowners.
“(The defendants) were negligent in making these misrepresentations because, as the parties seeking approval to construct a wind turbine farm in Huron County, they had a duty to use reasonable care to provide Huron County and its citizens with both accurate and complete information,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs claim the wind companies provided inaccurate and/or incomplete information about the audible turbine noise levels, and no information about low frequency noise, infrasound and/or impulse noise emitted from the turbines.
Huron County relied on the information from the wind companies when approving the project, the lawsuit states.
“(The defendants) should have known that the information it supplied to Huron County would directly impact the residents of Huron County, including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit adds.