Protecting the Health and Safety from Wind Turbines too close to peoples homes:
We have introduced a new bill (SB-71) that will allow town and county officials to enact ordinances that will protect the health and safety of their constituents when an unsafe wind energy system is proposed in their area. Please contact your Wisconsin Assembly Rep, or State Senator and ask them to support our new bill SB-71.
Our recent press releases:
The Industrial Wind Turbine issue:
Our office has been working with people who live in areas affected by Industrial Wind Turbines because of the negative health effects caused by IWT’s. I represent at least three families that have abandoned their homes because they get sick.
During the previous session my office introduced bills to protect people from the negative health effects of IWT’s by making sure that there was enough distance between these electric generators and peoples' homes. These safety measures were resisted by lefties who worship “green” energy regardless of who it hurts and those that make money off the taxpayer and electric users subsidies.
Earlier in 2012, all the Senate Democrats and Republican Dale Schultz voted to keep Public Service Commission Rule 128, the very rule that allows innocent people to be harmed by wind towers built too close to their homes. Rather than do the right thing and protect our citizens, they chose to protect wind developers and greenies, not homeowners.
We are requesting that the PSC suspend the rules and reconvene a wind siting council that is not stacked with wind interests. A fair and unbiased commission, a commission that will follow State Statutes. PSC 128 was supposed to take the harmful effects of IWT’s into account when they made their setback rules. A commission with a qualified medical expert, a commission that will actually look at the medical evidence rather than completely ignore studies that spelled out the harmful effects of wind towers that are too close to peoples' homes. In short a fair commission.
On July 11th 2012, we presented a huge stack of studies to the PSC commissioners asking them to take action to protect our citizens. On August 28th we met with each of the PSC commissioners allowing them time to read the studies that we provided for them. We reminded them that State Statutes require them to act. Their current rules don't provide reasonable protection from the health effects of noise caused by 500' tall wind turbines placed too close to thier homes. The statutes say the PSC MUST create rules that protects people from wind turbine noise, so the PSC has no choice. They must start working on new rules to replace PSC 128. It appears that they don't intend to change PSC 128, so we will be taking action to change it for them with new legislation.
Among the documents that we presented to the PSC was a Legislative Counsel Memo that shows the PSC has the authority to act to change the current rules. We also showed them a peer reviewed study from Nissenbaum, Aramini, and Hanning that says, "We conclude that IWT noise...adversely affects the health of those living nearby. The current ordinances determining setback are inadequate to protect the residents and setbacks of less than 1.5km (just under 1 mile) must be regarded as unsafe." Some critics of this study say the sample population in the study is "too small" (79 adults were studied). That's ok, because in Wisconsin, the statutes say the rules need to protect from all health effects caused by noise from IWTs.
We also told them that Australia has setback distances of 2km (1.25 Miles) for their IWT's. Australia's Planning Minister Matthew Guy says the State Government setback policy is about protecting people's health. Australia had the 2km setbacks in place since June of 2011.
There was also a pack of measurements taken from homes in Wisconsin where the people abandoned their homes because they became ill. It showed that in both homes, located over 3000 feet away from the nearest turbine, the low frequency noise coming from the IWTs was severe enough to cause illness.
These tests were repeated in December 2012, by 4 separate acousticians, and they were able to confirm the same results--that there are harmful levels of low frequency and infrasound being emitted from these Industrial Wind Turbines in Wisconsin. These results were submitted to the PSC and a non-elected PSC bureaucrat determined that the proof that the wind turbines cause infrasound isn't important enough to perform an Environmental Impact Study or perform additional testing for the upcoming proposed wind turbine projects.
In Wisconsin, the current rules only require 1250 feet (less than 1/4 mile--5 times closer than Australia thinks is safe and 4 times closer than Nissenbaum proves is dangerous) from the turbine and the nearest house! That means, IWT developers can put a 500' tall wind turbine right next to your property line, as long as your house is 1250 feet away from it. The current rules also say that local township or county zoning can't be more strict than that.
While we work on this issue, there seems to be a sense of urgency for wind developers to get more wind farms up and running. We are hearing about the same stories about members of township zoning boards being compensated to put 500' tall IWTs on their lands, then vote to approve them in the town. It's against the law for local government officials to vote on a question that gives them a direct fiscal benefit!
We are going to keep working hard on this issue. People deserve to be protected in their own homes.
Our office has an eight inch thick stack of these wind turbine health studies.
Here is my Policy Advisor with the studies.
During the meeting we were told that the PSC Commissioners were recieving a large number of letters about Wind Siting rules, as well letters that discuss permit applications for Highland Wind in St. Croix County, and the Beautiful Hills Wind Farm proposal in Mishicot. The PSC told us that letters to the Commissioners that discussed specific projects are considered "Ex Parte" communications and would be sealed until after that projects docket was closed. That would defeat the purpose of your letters.
Letters to the PSC Commissioners that do not mention specific projects, but instead discuss what the PSC should do to change their current rules, or other policy discussions can still be sent and seen by the PSC commissioners, and are not considered "Ex Parte". Those letters can be sent to:
c/o Cynthia Smith Chief Legal Counsel
Public Service Commision of Wisconsin
610 N. Whitney Way
Madison, WI 53705-2729
There are currently applications for wind siting permits pending for wind farms in the Town of Forest (St.Croix County), Town of Mishicot, and the Town of Sherman.
The Wisconsin Towns Association as well as several towns have submitted resolutions to request that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission investigate health problems from wind turbines in Wisconsin, asking them to place a moratorium on new wind farms until the studies are complete.
The Town of Mishicot has already expressed their worry about the pending IWT proposal. The Village of Mishicot should be concerned also! Mishicot High School and all of the homes closer to the turbines is within the 2000 meter setback that scientists believe is safe. The resolution asking the PSC to investigate the health problems did pass the Mishicot town board. We will let you know if we hear about any developments with this project in Mishicot.
One problem is that PSC 128 does not allow for local units of government (counties, towns, or villages) to have setbacks stricter than what PSC 128 has--even if that puts 500 foot tall wind turbines too close to Mishicot High School. The Town and Village of Mishicot is stuck with these turbines unless the PSC takes action to suspend PSC 128.
Renew Wisconsin and more recently the PSC cite the Massachusetts Wind Turbine Health Impact Study to show that Wind Turbines are safe, but they don't come to that conclusion. There were two people who had knowledge of the health effects of turbines but both of them were documented wind industry advocates. On page 2 of the study, it states that the other 5 panelists did not have any direct experience with wind turbines! That is hardly a panel of "independent experts". The panelists that could be considered "experts" could not be considered "independent"--the panelists that could be considered "independent" could not be considered "experts"!
Wind Energy Subsidies:
Some of my constituents are asking for more information about the wind energy subsidies. Try this link: PTCFacts.Info