Lives destroyed by wind turbines (Ontario)

Sep 8, 2012

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“Medical issues became serious to the point of being potentially fatal”

Editor’s note: The following narrative is taken from a formal submission to Health Canada’s current study of wind turbine impacts on human health. The submission was made by Carmen Krogh on behalf of the narrator, a woman who has asked to remain anonymous. Click here to read the entire submission.

For the last four years our lives have been thrown into turmoil by unsafe industrial wind turbines that were built too close to our home.

When we first began to notice the physiological effects that the wind turbine emissions were having on our bodies, we felt as though we just needed to make the authorities aware of the issue and then there would be a good faith effort to address it and resolve it. Instead, considerable time and resources, both private and public, have been used to deny that a problem even exists. In some cases, the contention has been made that all negative effects being experienced are caused by us, and are our fault.

In good faith, we have participated in the processes of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and other authorities. There has been no recognition, no mitigation, and no resolution offered. As the wind turbines continued to operate, one as close as 400 metres away from our home, the effects of sleep disturbance compounded; our health continued to decline, and certain medical issues became serious to the point of being potentially fatal. One of the medical issues that I was experiencing was uterine blood haemorrhaging. I had lost so much blood that I found myself in the Emergency Room of the local hospital, on the brink of having a stroke. At that time, it was obvious, beyond any doubt that we could not continue to live at our home.

Since May 2010, we have been renting safe houses to stay at while we continue to maintain our home, including paying the mortgage, property taxes, hydro and insurance which totals approximately $1200 per month. The expenses for our rental house alone have totalled approximately $30,000 over the last 28 months. The financial burden has been extremely stressful. It is worsened by the fact that we are deprived of the amenities and comforts of our “home.” When the stress and the sadness become overwhelming, we remind ourselves of how lucky we are that we have been to be able to leave our home. We know that for some, this is not an option.

The following are some details regarding medical treatments received by one member of our family since the commencement of operation of industrial wind turbines near our home.  In the 42-month period between April 2009 and September 2012:

» 33 appointments with family doctor. (By comparison, throughout the 50-month period between February 2005 and April 2009, there were a total of 9 visits to family doctor.)

In addition to visiting my family physician:

» Sleep investigation at sleep disorders clinics (2)

» Investigation by specialists in otolaryngology, audiology, heart and stroke, vascular, neurology, internal medicine

» Ultrasounds, CT scans and other procedures

» Surgical procedures (3)

» Magnetic Resonance Imaging (head) (2)

» Heart monitoring

» Stress test

» Numerous EKG’s, blood work

» Emergency room visits (3)

» Other consultations

For the last four years, every action of every day has in some way been affected by this disruption to our home life. We have been forced to make life changing decisions because of the imposition of industrial wind turbines into our homes.

Our ability to make rational decisions has been precluded by the inconsistent messages and actions of authorities. We have watched as the discourse has shifted from the absolute denial that wind turbines cause harm to human health, towards the recognition that sleep disturbance and other health effects are “expected” to be experienced by a “nontrivial percentage of persons…” or “15 percent of a population exposed…” etc. We do not think it is reasonable that authorities have not taken urgent, drastic measures to address the harm that is being reported by Canadians and to prevent it from happening to others.

Much of the stress of our situation has been exacerbated by the strain on social relationships. Obviously someone who possesses no expertise on the issue is not qualified to opine on the health hazard or our health status. However, this has not prevented members of the public (including landowners participating in the wind turbine project that surrounds our home) from aggressively pushing their points of view. For example, we continuously hear statements such as:

The wind turbines are not causing harm to your health.”

“They are not going to shut the wind turbines down.”

“They should not shut the wind turbines down.”

“You should sell your house and move on.”

These are not helpful statements, and trying to find one’s place in the community is complicated by how hurtful these kinds of comments are. It is very clear to us–in fact, it cannot be denied–that the wind turbines around our home are hazardous to our health. It is not reasonable that we should be expected to be able to make decisions when what we know to be true is being denied by others who are not qualified to hold opinions.

Very early in the process we realized that the authorities were not engaged in a good faith effort to understand and mitigate the situation. We had no other recourse but to launch a civil claim against the owner/operator of the industrial wind turbines. The claims relate to negligence, nuisance, trespass, strict liability and Rylands and Fletcher. The claim seeks an injunction and damages for losses incurred.

The stress of pursuing a legal claim, in addition to the other stresses of our lives presently is overwhelming. We are aware that it is unrealistic for us to expect that we can afford to pursue the claim against a defendant who is part of a billion-dollar, industrial, energy complex that has the support of the Ontario government and others, and which cannot afford to have a precedent set in court that enjoins the operation of a wind turbine project because of its hazardous nature. It is our expectation that Canadian governments should endeavour to recognize known health hazards and take actions to protect the health of Canadians. There should be a minimum safe standard for the separation distance between an industrial wind turbine and a home. We feel that it has become increasingly clear that 400 metres is not an adequate separation distance for an industrial wind turbine from a family’s home. We do not feel that it is reasonable that we should have to have this recognized in a court; this is a matter of public policy that should have been addressed long ago.

Over the last several years we have met and communicated with many others whose lives have been impacted by the imposition of industrial wind turbines close to their homes, or close to the homes of their friends and families. These people consistently feel overwhelmed and isolated. While some may have the choice to leave, some do not. It is very discomforting to realize that there could be children who are being harmed by nearby wind turbines, where parents may not understand what is happening or are unable to take action to protect the children.

We know many people whose financial security depends on their ability to live at and use their homes. For rural residents especially there is an unquantifiable difference between “property value” and a property’s “market value.” Property value relates to our ability to enjoy and use property to live, earn income, grow food, age-in-place, and enjoy leisure time. For some, market value is irrelevant until it is necessary to sell, which to many rural residents, is never part of the plan.

In many rural communities where wind turbines have been developed, residents trace their roots back many generations. Residents are proud of their heritage and are committed to the vitality of their communities. Residents are fiercely protective of the environment and feel blessed by nature’s abundance. Like many Ontarians, we felt as though we lived in the most beautiful part of the Province.

The conversion of agricultural land to be used for industrial wind turbines changes the character of the community. The imposition of these changes without proper regard and accounting of all of the environmental effects creates significant burdens for rural residents. Across the world, the development of industrial wind turbine projects has created conflict in communities. This is not attractive to prospective buyers and the stigma is insurmountable. Though the authorities may not officially recognize it, industrial wind turbines can be hazardous to human health and can totally destroy property value. Citizens are aware of this and react accordingly.

The Ontario government consistently refers to a 550 metre “minimum” separation distance between homes and industrial wind turbines. At our house there are two wind turbines less than 550 metres away. If we were to sell we would be obliged to disclose the health effects that we experienced and attribute to the wind turbines.

Obviously the potential pool of buyers for our home is limited by these factors. Why should we be forced to sell and incur this loss of equity?

We know others who are aware or suspect that nearby wind turbines are negatively affecting their health, but who cannot afford to lose equity in their homes. They become prisoners, and are, in reality, being harmed in their own homes. And while it may be one thing when it happens to adults, it is more unacceptable if there are children involved.

  1. Comment by Karen Bessey Pease on 09/08/2012 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for posting this testimony.

    That this injustice and these injuries are allowed to continue is unconscionable. That human beings are being sacrificed while other human beings stand by—doing nothing—and others participate willingly and knowingly in causing this suffering speaks very poorly of mankind.

    Lucky for us, there are others who are standing up and speaking out—regardless of how it affects their reputations, their finances or their physical and emotional well-being. We need more brave citizens to do the right thing. We need more mad and indignant citizens to step up to the plate. This type of injustice is wrong. Period. Plain and simple. That some say a ‘few’ must be sacrificed for ‘the greater good’ is nothing short of delusional self-placation. If they were one of the ‘few,’ they’d be screaming from the mountaintops for relief and justice.

    What’s being done is unethical. ‘Industrial wind’ is not a panacea for our energy problems and it’s time the public learned the truth about its harmful impacts, unreliability and colossally high cost. And then—–immediately following that education—–they must speak up. Stand tall. Inform those in government who work for THEM that they are holding them to their oaths of office. That they are holding them liable. That they expect integrity and common sense to be brought back into play. Now. Today.

    No one—no one—whether adult or child, must be put in harm’s way. No one—private citizen or powerful corporation—has the right to destroy others’ quality of life. To do so is a criminal act and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

    It’s time to be firm. We must stand our ground and demand that those in authority who work for us—paid by us and working on our behalf—do the right thing.

    Shut ‘em down. Shut ‘em down and enact a moratorium. And then pass humane laws which protect citizens. Pass common-sense laws that encourage an energy policy that is based on science and economics and ethics. It’s the right thing o do. Time will prove it so, but there’s no time to waste. People are suffering now.

    Shut ‘em down.

    Kaz

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  2. Comment by johana on 09/08/2012 at 3:42 pm

    Many thanks to my neighbour for explaining her situation and that of her neighbour Victims of Industrial Wind turbines with such clarity.

    Since I have scraped together enough to stay for a month at a Retirement Residence, I have left my house which has 18 IWTs crammed around it within 3 km just so that my body won’t be damaged beyond repair.

    I can’t afford the internet connection for a computer at the Retirement place, so any further communication will be hit and miss – probably more misses.

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  3. Comment by Melodie Burkett on 09/08/2012 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I know this issue has stirred me to action for the past four years. Our home and 100-acre farm is adjacent to a proposed wind energy plant of 8 industrial-sized wind turbines that will be 50 stories tall! We just learned that 2 other families on our road have signed up and kept it secret. We wake each day waiting for the shoe to drop. It is horrible. We have fought tooth and nail. I have spent 4 years as an active member of our group and I continue to write letters to officials—letters which remain unanswered. I agree with you that it is shocking that the general population will not stand up and help us against this tyranny. Make no mistake, this is fascism by some kind of global New Order to redistribute wealth at the expense of our economy and our health. I too am suing a wind company and the leaseholder.

    Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms declares that we are protected by law to have peaceable enjoyment of our home. That is why the categories of commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural and rural residential came into being. I believe that people have become so complacent in this country and have forgotten the great sacrifices that have been made by our ancestors to preserve our rights and freedoms. I want to leave this province, leave this country but I do not know where to go.

    I know in my heart I will keep fighting with my pen until my dying day. I also know that at 61 years of age, I will not live long enough to see these monsters come down in 20 years. (Not that anyone would let go of the income they receive just because the 20-year contract came due after 20 years. That is another one of Big Wind’s BIG FAT LIES.)

    The letter to the editor of our local newspaper that I submitted got a lot of reaction. It was also published in another newspaper. It is here on this site: “I would prostitute myself before I would prostitute my farm.” That is what I told the leasing agent who offered me $30,000 per year if I would host 3 wind turbines on my farm. These people are thugs, crooks, criminals, carpetbaggers and snake-oil salesmen. The wind industry is comprised of parasites and bloodsuckers destroying all that is healthy and beautiful in their wake.

    I am half expecting to hear our Premier pass an edict that forbids us to utter anything negative about renewable energy. I am expecting a restraining order to be served on me. This must be what it felt like to live in 1938 Germany. God help us all. Who would have ever believed this could happen in North America? What would Churchill, Roosevelt or Eisenhower say if they were still alive to witness this?

    Think about this: At least in the United States, THE PEOPLE still have the right to bear arms. In Canada that right was taken from us. Could it be that this was the plan all along? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    In the meantime—and I mean, “mean time”—keep up the good fight and pray that truth will oust the evil.

    God Bless you all!

    Melodie Burkett

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  4. Comment by Johannes Karl Marciniak on 09/08/2012 at 10:50 pm

    Maybe the “green” fascists don’t care, as their aim is to reduce the world population below 1 billion people.

    We are going through the same experience throughout Australia.

  5. Comment by sue Hobart on 09/08/2012 at 11:22 pm

    Sounds like my life, too. We just bought a second house we can’t afford, so eventually maybe we can get through this somehow alive and more or less intact.

    GREENY GREEN Liberal Falmouth Massachusetts is as guilty as the rest of them. Yet it is up to each family to save themselves because nobody with the power gives a rat’s ass about the value of a HUMAN life!

    We can talk all we want but nobody cares, yet. I’m guessing I will be long dead before these assholes get called out once and for all. Rest assured, THEY WILL BECAUSE WE AIN’T LYING!

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  6. Comment by Sharon Eddy on 09/09/2012 at 6:20 am

    Dear Melodie,

    I am in total agreement and I live in the USA—although, we too are slowly having our rights stripped from us. I am looking for a place to live that enables the rights and freedom afforded us when my country was young and alive.

    I live near three industrial wind turbines and, for now, they are running at low levels due to testimony by over 60 people to the State of Massachusetts earlier this year. However, I have little faith in my government to protect us.

    God help us all from the greed and irresponsibility on the part of those who have no concern for their fellow man.

    Sincerely,

    Sharon Eddy

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  7. Comment by Steve on 12/16/2012 at 6:27 pm

    Here in the UK similar problems, there must be about 50 of these things within a 10 mile radius, I’ve not slept right in over a year, I sit during the day with earplugs in my ears, the constant low frequency hum/rumble from these things is disgusting. I purchased a detector for LF, and every wall in my house registers high, as do the floors. I like awake at night feeling the vibrations through my body, making me feel sick. I can’t afford to move, and I don’t know where else local would be safe. One other thing, there is also a white noise sound outside noticeable in the evenings/through the night, it’s like a constant distant traffic noise, but it doesn’t come and go lie traffic would, it’s like living at the side of a motorway, with a constant run of traffic, and I mean constant, same speeds, same distances etc.. It’s not damaging in the same way that the low frequency noise is, but it’s not natural either.

    The LFN is literally driving me insane, I can’t say 100% that it is the turbines, but it does seem to get worse every time another of these useless things pops up, and believe me, you’d be disgusted to see how Northumberland in the UK is now covered in these things. I am now on the point of madness, I honestly have thought about how I could destroy these things, which isn’t really rational, but at times my mental health is being so badly affected that it is likely I will look more into how to remove them myself.

    What else is frustrating is the lack of others complaining of the symptoms, am sure it is not just me, but it does make one wonder. I have been to see my doctor, who does not thing there is any problem with my ears. As I type this I am sitting with ear plugs in my ears, and feeling so nauseous, with one heck of a migraine. And all the while I’m paying a fortune to the electricity companies so they can subsidise the losses from these things.

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