Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

March 13, 2013

Letter to the Editor: March 13, 2013

Infrasound concern of Tipton wind farm

My wife and I moved to our Tipton County home in 2005. We chose Tipton County for lots of reasons, the main ones being the proximity to our families in Kokomo and Indianapolis, the Pastoral rural setting and good schools. Before we chose Tipton County, we did our research and liked what we found. I was extremely impressed after I read the Tipton County Master Comprehensive Plan that was adopted in 2003. It’s a 36 page document, so I will only quote some of the lines that impressed us.    

The goals and objectives were drawn primarily from public input, workshops, public officials and other sources.

The Tipton County Comprehensive Plan hereby asserts and presents to the public that this plan will seek to protect Tipton County’s agricultural heritage and lifestyle. Secondly, the plan will set high-quality development standards, which will preserve and protect property values throughout the county.

Tipton County is committed to a future of carefully planned growth and development in all forms (residential, commercial, and industrial).

It is the policy of this comprehensive plan to guide future development in Tipton County that provides for the public health, safety and general welfare of the county in an orderly and efficient manner, which is consistent with land use suitability and public needs. It is the policy of this plan to protect and conserve land values and to minimize conflicts among the land uses and to protect the unique rural landscape of our county through high-quality development standards.

We will respect our environment by requiring industry, agriculture and residential to adhere to high standards. High building and developmental standards will be required to preserve property values.

I was sold on Tipton County.

When we became aware of the wind farm interest in Tipton County, I had lots of concerns — concerns that I don’t feel have been properly addressed by Tipton County officials or juwi. I have spent hours researching the subject. There is substantial information on the subject of wind farms on the Internet about any concern you may have. One of the many concerns I have is the effect of Low Frequency (LFN) and Infrasound on the county’s environment. What really concerns me is that in a brochure I received from the juwi Company, it was not even mentioned and even more surprising is it is not addressed in the Tipton County zoning ordinance. Those sounds are the cause of many illnesses according to many studies. This is and has been a long-standing concern of land owners. Both talk about permitted sound level limits only. A quote from the juwi brochure, “The acoustic modeling analysis, inclusive of a number of conservative assumptions, demonstrates the project is adequately designed to meet the Tipton County noise Ordinance.” What?? I was shocked. How do you “demonstrate an assumption?” Why is Tipton County basing a 30-plus-year commitment to wind farms on an assumption? The turbines juwi is planning to use are installed in other locations that could be impartially studied before a commitment is made. Why are Tipton County and juwi in such a big rush? A study done in Wisconsin can be found online. Report Number 122412-1. “A cooperative measurement and analysis of low frequency and infrasound at the Shirley wind farm in brown county, Wisconsin” that was issued in late 2012. I would encourage Tipton County property owners to read this study. A quote from the study said this, “The four investigating firms are of the opinion that enough evidence and hypotheses have been given herein to classify LFN and infrasound as a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the industry. It should be addressed beyond the present practice of showing that wind turbine levels are magnitudes below the threshold of hearing at low frequencies.”

In juwi’s supporting material on property and health that was included in their application for a conditional use permit, they enclosed three studies out of the hundreds that are available. The first one has been described as “junk science” by Raymond S. Hartman (available online). The second one is a review, which is not a study. To label it a “study” is deceptive. The third one is also a panel review, not a study. More deception. Perhaps the most egregious conclusion of this review is that no more research is required. That statement implies that the science is settled, which quite simply is false. It also demonstrates a disdain for the scientific method itself.

I believe that the dangers of LFN and infrasound do not conform to the Tipton County Comprehensive Plan that provides the public health, safety and preserving and protecting property values. I would encourage the board of zoning appeals to take a step back and demand an impartial study be done on Low frequency and infrasound before committing to a 30-plus-year contract with any wind farm. The burden of proof should be on juwi Company to prove these wind farms are safe for our health. If juwi doesn’t agree to a study, then maybe there’s a reason. Are we ready to be guinea pigs for an experiment in which we suffer the possible consequences while outside developers make millions of dollars in subsidies and then leave town? I would also encourage the leaseholders to examine the facts closely. It’s been said that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Brent Snow, Tipton

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