“Courtney” (Australia)

Jan 4, 2012

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“Farm Girl,” with appreciation to the artist

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Samantha Stepnell (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia)

We recently signed up our 16-year-old daughter, Courtney, for a 4-year farming apprenticeship. As she works long hours, she is now exposed to the same damaging environment as Carl and I.

Courtney’s physical symptoms are now becoming obvious. Ear pressure, nausea, headaches and dizziness. This is her life, this is the career she has chosen and is so good at.

Since the day Acciona’s Waubra Wind Farm (Victoria, Australia) began operations, members of my family have experienced various symptoms, including excruciatingly painful ear pressure, severe headaches, severe nausea to the point of being unable to keep food down, profuse nose bleeds, disabling dizziness, chronic and severe sleep disturbance, severe depression, and worrying chest pains.

These symptoms occur only when we are home and the turbines are operating. Our doctor advised us to move from our home, which we have done, which has partially improved the situation. But our farm is our workplace, and we now travel back there to work, and still get many of the symptoms when we are out there, and the turbines are operating.

It has completely changed our lives, the way we run our business.  We are now cut off from our old way of life. As soon as we are ten kilometers from the area where the turbines are operating, our symptoms disappear.

We are no longer able to employ anyone at our farm with confidence that our workplace is a safe environment. This is a huge concern for us as we do not know what position we would be in if one of our employees became ill as a direct result of exposure to turbines too close to our property. (We employ a casual farm hand, who is normally quite healthy. He now experiences frequent headaches, ear pressure and hypertension.)

We have recently signed up our sixteen year old daughter, Courtney, for a four year farming apprenticeship. As she works long hours, she is now exposed to the same damaging environment as Carl and I.

Courtney’s physical symptoms are now becoming obvious. Ear pressure, nausea, headaches and dizziness. This is her life, this is the career she has chosen and is so good at. The serious and damaging health effects wind turbines cause is a huge concern, even a threat to the industry, firstly on our farm but anywhere these wind energy facilities are operating or where permits have been granted.

Waubra is a very poorly planned development with no obvious guidelines to protect landholders from unintended consequences. We are collateral damage.

Are we not supposed to be encouraging young people to have a career in the rural industry? As parents to Courtney, do we not have a duty of care to protect her health and well-being?

In the mad rush of governments to produce clean, green energy, they have ignored the plight of their constituents, and abdicated their duty of care to protect human health.

We hold the federal and state and local Ggovernments, both elected representatives and public servants, directly responsible for the extremely difficult situation we have been placed in, and the ongoing damage being done to our family’s health.

Over a period of two and a half years, I have made numerous complaints about all this to state and federal Members of Parliament, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health, the Pyrenees Shire and Acciona Energy—to no avail.

  1. Comment by sue Hobart on 01/04/2012 at 10:59 am

    Tears, yet again…. God help us!

  2. Comment by B Ashbee on 01/04/2012 at 4:54 pm

    The Brindley family of Goderich, Ontario, had children who were formally educated to take over the family farm when the Brindleys retired. The daughters moved out and the Brindleys, after years of illness and pleas for help, have left and moved to another province. No one helped them. Every MPP and Minister/Ministry in Ontario knew about them.

    They had to get rid of their livestock and held out as long as they could, trying to get someone in authority to help them.

    It is beyond words what our negligent governments, in collusion with wind developers, are doing to the backbone of our communities. Ripping families and neighbours apart. Damaged for life.

    Editor’s note: I still remember taking the phone call from the Brindley’s daughter, years ago. Her anguish and terror were palpable. For a time we corresponded. Then—she disappeared.

  3. Comment by Andreas Marciniak on 01/05/2012 at 1:33 am

    I feel very sorry for you and your family!

    Here in Waterloo, So. Australia, we know what you have to put up with! I have family members who are sick from wind turbines.

    I have a brother-in-law from Adelaide who sometimes cames with me to check on my home (I don’t live in it any more). On our last trip we stayed overnight. Between 1:30 and 2 am he wanted to go back to Adelaide—he got so ill with headache, tinnitus, and chest pains. From never being sure of what we have been telling him to firsthand experiences, he is now a believer. And maybe Sue (Hobart) would like to find out how bad it can be? I’m sure she will get her tears, and it should be, “God Help us!”

    Kind regards,

    Andreas Marciniak

    Editor’s note: Mr. Marciniak is well aware of Sue Hobart (Falmouth, MA) and her misery over living next to an industrial wind turbine. In the sentence, above, he is actually commiserating with Mrs. Hobart.

  4. Comment by Andreas Marciniak on 01/05/2012 at 8:46 pm

    I’m sorry if I came across the wrong way! (Sometimes I get so hot under the collar that I mix up my words and, as the Editor pointed out, I was in fact commiserating with Mrs. Hobart.) My family and I know how bad things can be with turbines.

    Again, I apologize.

    Kind regards,

    Andreas Marciniak

    Editor’s note: Not to worry, Andreas! Everyone knows what you meant. We all stumble over our own writing, at times. Me too! Fact is, you have turned yourself into a fabulous campaigner, and I always value the information you pass along to me. Not infrequently, it winds up as a posting on this site—thanks to you!

  5. Comment by David Formby on 01/05/2012 at 8:51 pm

    In Keyneton, So, Australia, we are about to be overwhelmed with the dreaded turbines. Since the passage of a Development Policy Amendment, our state government is now hell-bent on plastering these infernal machines wherever the developers fancy.

    It has been made easier for the developers in the name of attracting their billions of dollars to our state, however the silly thing is that it is “our money” that is being invested in an industry that is not financially viable and is ripping the countryside apart.

    We have a deep empathy with the Stepnells and all the others who have had their lives turned upside down by wind turbines, and to that end many of us are taking our fight to our capital city, Adelaide, to object strongly to the “conveniency changes” to the state planning regulations.

    Four o’clock pm on the 17th January will see us on the steps of Parliament, telling all who will listen that the turbine nonsense should stop. Then, at 7pm, we will be telling the Planninig Committee how wrong they are and, in my own case, likening their actions to a crime against humanity.

    We feel your pain.

    David Formby, Keyneton, Australia

  6. Comment by Wanda on 01/08/2012 at 10:07 am

    My husband and I still live in Waterloo, Australia. I know what you are going through. We put everything we had into the house we bought in Waterloo, so that we could be debt free. Both of us are severely affected by the turbines, and now we are stuck here. We can’t sell and we can’t afford to move.

    We will be on the steps of Parliament House on the 17th of January.

    Regards,

    Wanda & Shane

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