The Truth about the Anti-Wind Movement: A Tiny, Paranoid, Disinformed, Koch-Funded Fringe
May 22, 2013
I’ve pointed out in the past that efforts to slow down the adoption of Renewable Energy are coordinated and enabled by Koch and Fossil Funded groups like Americans for Prosperity. They rely on the same media manipulation that has given us everything from Weapons of Mass Destruction to the “Romney Landslide”, to Climate denial, to Kenyan birth certificates – and, they’ve even succeeded to some degree in poisoning the mainstream media dialogue.
But all lies must all eventually crash on the rocks of reality. Despite a nationwide windbagger mobilization and disinformation campaign that drew far more attention than the issue deserved, on tuesday, Massachusetts voters who live near wind turbines gave resounding approval to keeping them in operation.
Voters in Falmouth on Cape Cod decided Tuesday to keep the town’s two wind turbines, despite complaints about noise and health problems.
Voters were asked to decide on a plan to remove the two, 400-foot-tall turbines. They voted against the plan by a 2-1 margin, according to the Cape Cod Times. The vote was 6,001 against removal and 2,940 in favor of the plan, the newspaper said.
Both turbines are located at the town’s wastewater treatment facility. The first turbine began running in 2010.
Since the turbines’ installation, about 40 households in the neighborhood have complained about headaches, vertigo, sleep interruption and other problems.
After the initial complaints, the town tried curtailing the operation during extremely strong winds and also tried shutting them off at night. But some residents persisted in a campaign to take them down.
Proponents said support for the turbines and the renewable energy and revenues they produce is silent but strong.
Wind Wise-Massachusetts, which opposed the turbines, said the group was disappointed, but said the vote drew attention to ‘‘the negative impact of wind turbines on the lives of families living near them,’’
I’ve pointed out that in Europe, as in America, people that live close to and know wind turbines best support them overwhelmingly. A recent poll in Iowa, the state which gets almost 25 percent of its electricity from wind, gave 81 percent support to more wind power. Efforts to blame all manner of vapors, demonic possession, bad juju, and even herpes, on wind turbines – continue to be trumped by pesky reality.
…there is no evidence for a causal link between wind turbines and the reported health effects. On the other hand, there is significant evidence that these are symptoms could be a result of the “nocebo effect,” a phenomenon whereby people experience negative health effects from the mere suggestion that something could be harmful:
- As NPR noted, a study published in Health Psychology found that people who were given information designed to provoke “low expectations that exposure to infrasound causes specified symptoms” experienced “no symptomatic changes.” On the other hand, people in the high expectations groupreported ”significant increase in symptoms” whether they were exposed to sham infrasound or real infrasound.
- Public health professor Simon Chapman found in a not yet peer-reviewed paper that “only five of the 49 wind farms in Australia have ever drawn complaints, and that all five had been targets of anti-wind activism. He also points out that, although wind turbines have been operating in Australia since 1993, over 80 percent of complaints arose after 2009, when anti-wind groups first began emphasizing the potential health hazards of wind turbines,” according to NPR.* Chapman further noted in an email to Media Matters, “turbines have been running in Denmark, Holland, Germany, Spain and parts of France for many years and all this is unheard of — my public health colleagues from those nations look at me blankly when I ask about it.”
- As comedian Stephen Colbert mentioned in a satire of “wind turbine syndrome,” people have attributed everything from “weight gain” to “weight loss” to “herpes” to it, according to Chapman’s research.
- The Environmental Health review concluded: “Given that annoyance appears to be more strongly related to visual cues and attitude than to noise itself, self reported health effects of people living near wind turbines are more likely attributed to physical manifestation from an annoyed state than from infrasound. This hypothesis is supported by the peer-reviewed literature pertaining to environmental stressors and health.”
Meanwhile, more polling news that politicians and journalists should pay attention to.
Wide majorities of likely Illinois voters believe it is important that the state maintain its commitment to increase its use of renewable power and support legislation that would achieve this goal by fixing the state’s broken renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law, according to a Zogby survey released today.
The survey, conducted for Clean Energy Trust (CET) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), found an overwhelming majority (86.5 percent) of likely Illinois voters believe it is very important or somewhat important that Illinois ”continue to get an increasing amount of its energy from secure and clean power sources.” Renewable energy companies have invested more than $5 billion in Illinois power projects in the last few years.
Specifically, the survey found that:
- 86.5 percent of likely voters also believe it is very or somewhat important to ”maintain policies to bring renewable energy to Illinois;” 55 percent called it ”very important.”
- 76.7 percent of respondents said they are either strongly or somewhat in favor of legislation (SB 103) to ensure Illinois ”continues to increase its use of renewable power.” Only 8.2 percent are opposed.
- 66.4 percent said they would either be much more or somewhat more likely to vote for their state representative or senator in the next election if they supported this legislation, while only 9 percent reported they were less likely to vote for that person.
- 79.6 percent prefer that at least one quarter of the state’s electricity ”come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar” with more than 61 percent wanting the state’s renewable energy requirement doubled to at least half of the state’s electricity.
- A large majority of Americans (87%) say the president and the Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a “very high” (26%), “high” (32%), or medium priority (28%). Few say it should be a low priority (12%).
- Moreover, most Americans (70%) say global warming should be a “very high” (16%), “high” (26%), or “medium priority” (29%) for the president and Congress. Three in ten (28%) say it should be a low priority.
- Six in ten Americans (59%) say the U.S. should reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions regardless of what other countries do. Relatively few (10%) say the U.S. should reduce its emissions only if other industrialized and/or developing countries do – and only 6 percent of Americans say the U.S. should not reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
- Americans say that corporations and industry (70%), citizens themselves (63%), the U.S. Congress (57%), and the President (52%) should be doing more to address global warming.