$5 million lawsuit over Wind Turbine Syndrome (Oregon)

Aug 15, 2013



Houston Chronicle (8/11/13)

IONE, Ore. (AP) — A year ago, Dan Williams moved from his home near Ione’s Willow Creek wind farm to Walterville, Ore. He said he couldn’t take the noise of whipping turbine blades any longer.

“It’s hard to explain it to people unless you experience it,” Williams said. “There’s the actual noise that wakes you, but there’s also the infrasound you can’t hear but your body feels. The best I can describe it is like a train or an airplane coming and going.”

Williams filed a lawsuit Friday against Invenergy, the Illinois-based company behind the wind farm, for non-economic losses up to $5 million, as well as economic losses — mostly related to property value depreciation — for $170,000.

Since Invenergy began construction on the 50 wind turbines at Willow Creek in 2008, it has fought in the courts over noise compliance.

First, the fight was over the actual noise limits. Invenergy said the Morrow County noise limit of 50 dBa was acceptable, Williams and a few neighbors argued that the wind farm had to comply with the state limit of 36 dBa.

Although neither enforced it, both the county and the state upheld the 36 dBa limit in seven different court findings.

“I’m extremely disappointed that county and state of Oregon both agree that there’s violations but won’t do anything about them,” Williams said.

After a 2009 noise study conducted on Williams’ property by Invenergy showed turbine noise levels reaching 42 dBa, the wind company embarked on an effort to comply with the noise levels through methods such as triggering turbine shut-downs at certain noise levels. Williams is also claiming the current technology takes too long to shut down after the noise limits are reached.

In the complaint filed Friday, Williams claims “emotional distress, deteriorating physical and emotional health, dizziness, inability to sleep, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, difficulty thinking, irritation and lethargy” as a result of the turbines’ noise and flickering glare.

In a statement issued Friday, Invenergy said it wasn’t aware of any alleged health impacts to Williams until he filed the lawsuit and would “vigorously defend” itself against his claims.

“Notwithstanding the non-specific nature of these claims, it’s important to reiterate that numerous rigorous studies … have found no evidence to support a link between adverse health effects and sound emitted from wind turbines,” the company stated.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a noise level of 40 dBA is equal to a running stream or refrigerator humming, 30 dBa is a whisper and 50 to 60 dBa is a quiet office.

But Williams’ attorney, Jim McClandish, who did not want to talk specifically about the case, argued new research shows low-frequency wind turbine noise could be dangerous. While “wind turbine syndrome” was once pure speculation, recent studies show the low-frequency infrasound can cause symptoms such as the dizziness and nausea Williams said he experienced.

“The reverberation at low frequencies affects people’s inner ears. It impacts their ability to sleep, their concentration,” McClandish said.

The lawsuit is expected to take at least a year to make its way through the courts. Williams still owns his Ione home. He said even though he has left the property, he has no plans to stand down.

“What other option do I have?” Williams said. “I was there first. This was forced upon me. I’m a human being with strong convictions.”

  1. Comment by Melodie Burkett on 08/17/2013 at 8:34 am

    If only everyone would sue at the same time and make the world listen! Good for you Dan Williams! We will be rooting for your success.

    Ontario, Canada

  2. Comment by Jerry L. Punch, PhD on 08/17/2013 at 11:17 am

    I note that the company spokesperson has stated that “…it’s important to reiterate that numerous rigorous studies . . . have found no evidence to support a link between adverse health effects and sound emitted from wind turbines.” Really? If the spokesperson is saying that numerous rigorous studies have failed to establish a link between adverse health effects and sound from wind turbines, it might well be the first instance of a company representative admitting publicly that the numerous studies of the relationship between wind turbine noise and health were “rigorous.” The wind industry has persisted in its claim that existing studies are not credible precisely because they lack scientific rigor.

    In fact, there is an increasingly robust scientific literature documenting the adverse health effects of wind turbine noise on humans. And a recent emphasis on earlier studies of the effects on humans of infrasound from other sound sources, noise-related Sick-Building Syndrome, and motion sickness—which help to explain some of the more recent findings—is causing the wind industry’s claim to lose its luster.

    On the other hand, if the spokesperson is suggesting that numerous rigorous studies have shown definitively that there is no link between adverse health effects and sound from wind turbines, I challenge the company to make public a list of bibliographic references that document those “numerous rigorous studies.”

    It appears to me that Mr. Williams is simply pursuing justice, and he should be respected for that. Others have begun to join him, and as their collective voice grows louder the wind industry hopefully will be forced to take notice and to react appropriately.

  3. Comment by Itasca Small on 08/17/2013 at 11:06 pm

    I hope and pray Dan Williams prevails against the Wind Monster Scourge!

    And, I hope Attorney McClandish rapidly gets-up-to-speed on the available facts that explain not only the now apparent vestibular structural disruption proven by Dr. Nina Pierpont to be at the root of WTS, but that also take the science beyond to the many symptoms caused by IWTs. And, critically, tie-in the overall pathophysiological stress caused by the broad spectrum of sound waves generated and propagated by wind turbines, with the destructive adrenal reaction that attempts to compensate for that stress.

    I hope Attorney McClandish learns the long-term adverse effects and is able to argue the case from a position of understanding and righteous indignation, as he faces the injustice running rampant thus far in America, and in every nation in which the Wind Monster Scourge is destroying human and animal lives across-the-globe.

    Believe me, if I could find an attorney who understands the State and National Constitutions and the true meaning and purpose of the “police powers” inherent in our Right to Protection from those who would trample our Freedom to exercise our God-given Right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness [in the form of all private property], I would sue in an instant! Well, I would if that attorney would also take my case on a fair contingency basis, considering that I don’t have the funds to hire him (or, her).

    The very “laws” our local governments are wrongly citing to force this destruction upon us, are the very ones that should be standing as impregnable walls in our defense – protecting us from the Scourge! The elected officials of those local governments are complicit in aiding and abetting the damage they are “PERMITTING” by their Special Use Permits, to be inflicted upon us! I don’t care if the States and the federal government are intimidating them with renewables mandates, etc., and bribing them with enticing temporary boosts to some of the local economy, and taxes – that are actually much lower than they would be if the developers were not given huge tax breaks! THEY HAVE THE POWER TO “JUST SAY, NO!!!” It is high time the Esaus of local government said no to selling OUR BIRTHRIGHT for a mess of pottage to fill their own gullets!!!

    I truly hope and pray for success in the court cases that have been brought by and against the Valiant Warriors who STAND TALL in the VANGUARD against the Wind Juggernaut steamrolling across the Face of Planet Earth.

    Itasca Small
    Wind Energy Refugee,
    nearly killed, and forced from my home by the close-minded radical environmentalists, Iberdrola, Navajo County, the State of Arizona, and the United States of America!

  4. Comment by sue hobart on 08/26/2013 at 8:25 pm

    I would be very interested in seeing the results of those “numerous vigorous studies…” Along with their testing locations, subjects and medical results of this so called testing.

    Also interested in the names and qualifications of the medical doctors that performed those studies. On who where and how many nights and days were these tests done?

    Was it 365 days? Was it in a turbine suspected location? Were the doctors on hand to monitor the brain waves and sleep levels and physical variations on human subjects in turbine effected areas????

    WERE THEY? First question… what numerous studies? Welcome to start in my home ..Its empty and its buzzy as hell!

    Good luck my friend and if I can help in any way you just say so… I would even come testify as to my own experiences… You go for it !!!! I will probably be next…It’s all in cheque …let’s call em out on it all .. bout time!

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