Wind Turbine Syndrome prompts state lawmakers to propose 2-year “wind farm” moratorium (Idaho)

Mar 20, 2011


Editor’s note:  A postscript to the following article:  On Tuesday, March 22, 2011, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee voted 11 to 8 against the moratorium.

“House committee considering moratorium on wind turbine construction”

—Mitch Coffman, (3/18/11)

The [Idaho] House State Affairs Committee got an earful on the issue of wind turbines during a hearing Friday. House Bill 265 proposes a two-year moratorium for those projects not already approved. Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls, introduced the bill. Simpson believes that wind energy isn’t a viable resource compared to others and costs more as well.

Testimony on the bill was split fairly evenly with those against the bill falling into two categories: businesses and those with business relationships with them, and farmers/ranchers looking for some supplemental income.

Suzanne Leta Liou, a representative for RES Americas and an opponent of the bill, said this bill would jeopardize her company’s wind turbine project in Twin Falls County and others like it. “This bill overrides local authority and local control,” adding, “Idaho is a place where we want to do business. To be honest, if this bill was to move forward we would question the decision to be in Idaho.”

Scott Vanevenhoven, a member of Idahoans for Responsible Wind Energy and a proponent for the moratorium, believes proper ordinances and guidelines are not in place for local governments to make tough decisions. “These guidelines we currently have are insufficient. We should take this two-year pause and research everything,” he said. Vanevenhoven believes it’s a state issue and the state should therefore take a more active role in providing rules and regulations for building wind turbines. “The state has given incentives for people to use, so clearly it’s a state issue,” adding, “Idaho’s wind development is radically higher than other states. Is this really a desirable thing for Idaho?”

Errol Jones, a member of the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commission, who is also for the moratorium, said at one time as a member of the board he was in favor of wind farms, but now says people need to really sit back and think about the consequences of building them. He also is in favor of some state oversight, not takeover, of the building process. “There is a definite learning curve. The state should take a good look at this process and what the counties have done.” He also had a list of things he thinks the state can help with during this process including statewide guidelines for placing windmills, getting the fish and game department involved early, and having a longer timetable for county boards and commissions to study the issue and make sure it’s a good decision.

Dr. Louis Morales, also a proponent of the bill, discussed health concerns with wind turbine farms. He believes wind turbines are a substantial health risk and should be looked at closely. “We need to sit down and look at these ordinances. This moratorium gives us the timetable to do this. These turbines give off a low frequency sound that causes what is known as Wind Turbine Syndrome. It’s an inner ear problem resulting in vertigo, headaches, stress, migraines, and sometimes tachycardia.”

Rep Lynn Luker, R-Boise, asked Dr. Morales if studies focused on the distance from a turbine and what the harmful distance is. Morales explained that Wind Turbine Syndrome can happen when a person is within about 1.3 miles of a turbine. “To be safe,” he said, “it’s best to not live much closer than 1.25 miles.”

According to testimony, many of the homes in southern Idaho located near wind turbine farms are within ¾ mile to a mile away from wind turbines.

The committee was unable to hear all of the testimony Friday. It will resume testimony Monday morning at 7:45.

  1. Comment by Bob (Ontario, Canada) on 03/20/2011 at 1:24 pm

    Sanity is emerging!

    However 1.25 miles will NOT be an adequate set-back.

    Our research is suggesting that with larger turbines (2.5 MW) and wind farms, a set-back of over 3 miles may be necessary.

    Editor’s note: The writer is a distinguished clinician, a member of a research group that has been studying WTS for several years.

  2. Comment by Colette McLean (Ontario, Canada) on 03/20/2011 at 3:41 pm

    I still don’t get why there is so much focus on proper setbacks, when LFN and infrasound can travel for dozens of miles. It’s going to take years of study to determine at what distances people are being affected. In the meantime, people are being treated as guinea pigs and forced to live with debilitating conditions until such time they must move away, no longer able to live in the homes. Problem solved!

    By talking about proper setbacks, this gives credence to a form of electrical generation that is a scam being perpetuated by a handful of “entrepeneurs” who stand to made very large sums of money subsidized by our own governments.

  3. Comment by John Gilbert on 03/21/2011 at 5:14 pm

    Dear folks,

    While preaching to the choir (which is okay), please become editors at Wikipedia, and help fix this crap.

    While trying to educate the public, always remember to slam home the maxim: “the tried and true formula for change is MARCHES, DEMONSTRATIONS and ACTIONS.” It worked for Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It will work for the leaders of anti-wind groups. Please discard your bussinessmans’ baggage, and start talking to students and young people NOW.

    I have been telling you that for over two years, trust me because:
    I was the inaugural Chief Organizer (1969) “Metro Tenants Association” (Toronto) inactive. (In the late 60’s I was elected the chief organizer for the MTA. 2000 tenants demonstrated at Queen’s Park. I worked hard with others to get the 1971 “Landlord Tenants Act,” as a result of managing the door-to-door outside work, building the “MTA” membership from scratch. I know that one person with a popular issue can put a statute on the books easier than the politicians who won’t.) Mel Watkins of “The Waffle” and “Praxis Institute for Social Change” gave free rent at (until torched by the right wing) 474 Brunswick Ave, Toronto to the 3 most prominent Ontario activist groups—“Metro Tenants Association,” “Stop Spadina Expressway” and “The Just Society.” (The only other position I ever held—Chair, Social Action Committee, First Unitarian Church, Toronto—where a torching of the church was attempted a week after a Palestinian came to speak.)

    Editor’s reply: Many people have tried to correct Wikipedia’s shameful handling of wind energy and, more specifically, Wind Turbine Syndrome. It’s been a fruitless and frustrating exercise. Wikipedia always defaults to “wind energy is marvelous” and “WTS is horseshit.”

    Some years back it was revealed that one of the founders of Wiki was an born again Chicken Little about global warming. This guy was using his position as Wiki Wizard of Oz to censor submissions on renewable energy, etc. It seems that WTS got the Chicken Little treatment courtesy of him.

    I had heard that he was censored by his colleagues at Wiki. Whether he was or not, Wiki continues to tell the world that WTS is horseshit.

  4. Comment by Andreas Marcinaik on 03/24/2011 at 8:20 am

    Hi! I live in South Australia, in the town Waterloo. We have 37 turbines on a ridge, about 2.5 to 3km away—and I consider 15km to be too close!

    My brother left his house because we are too close, and has moved 10km away. He tells me it’s still too close.

    I think a stop should be put in place until more research and studying into WTS has been done.

The comments are closed.