Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 17, 2013

Letters to the Editor: March 17, 2013


Wind farm not worth the risk to county

An international company Juwi’s has proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm Project, which comprises a cluster of 94 industrial wind turbines in Prairie and Liberty Townships in Tipton. Concern led me, as a physician, to do online research on health hazards that arise from industrial wind turbines.

In Europe, industrial wind turbines have been used for decades, and a number of health studies have been done. There has been growing evidence in Europe as well as in the U. S. that a considerable amount of low-frequency noise (infrasound) emitted by the commercial wind turbines causes undesirable effects on the human body. The symptoms of what is referred to as “wind turbine syndrome” include headaches, ear pain, ringing in the ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, uncomfortable internal pulsation, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression. These effects may appear immediately and may resolve upon getting out of range of turbines.

As opposed to smaller wind turbines, these nearly 500-feet-tall industrial-size wind turbines have large turning blades (almost 160 feet) which cause significant pulsating air pressure changes in the surrounding area. The epidemiological studies have shown that people who live within 1.4 to 2.0 km (0.9 to 1¼ miles) from turbines are at risk for developing adverse health effects.

The problem with infrasound is that it can be carried over a distance and it is transmitted through the structural walls. Pulsating internal organ sensation can be intermittent and variable in magnitude, so the human body cannot get use to it. Pulsations are often strong enough to cause frequent nighttime awakenings. Ear pressure/pain may be similar to what is experienced on airplanes. The effect is ongoing, day and night, and it is physically and psychologically stressful.

Studies to date have not defined at what distance from the wind turbines potential adverse health effects will become negligible. A significant number of people in the community who live near these may be exposed to potential health hazards.

We are changing something “green” and “natural” (wind) into something not green (ever-fluctuating, pulsing air pressure field).

Industrial wind energy production is a new type of environmental pollution that is sweeping our country in the name of “green energy.”

Our community should not give up our valuable environment and should not expose ourselves to unnecessary health hazards for a monetary compensation. What good is the money if no one wants to or can live here because the industrial wind turbines have taken over our land? We have many ways to enrich our community, but this is not one of them.

Mika Fujii, M.D., Kokomo

 

Where are the U.S. businesses in all this?

The saga of Tipton County tax abatements continues. A few years back, Cerberus Capital Management — headed by Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States — brought the German company Daimler/Benz/Chrysler to Tipton and started the Getrag Transmission Plant. The Tipton County government’s get rich plan was to give tax abatements in exchange for 1,200 jobs. The results were that many local businesses went unpaid or went bankrupt. Then Cerberus and Daimler went on their merry way. They were no worse off than before they came. The transmission plant went unfinished with the lights left on.

Next, the Abound solar company from Colorado was offered another Tipton County government tax abatement plan and everyone was going to profit from 1,000 new jobs. The only results I saw were the lights remained burning in the plant 24/7, probably on solar energy.

Now, the third round of tax abatements has been offered in exchange for a new get rich plan for Tipton County’s pocketbook and 50 or so area farmers. Ironically, juwi Wind LLC is from Germany and has an American headquarters in, you guessed it, Colorado. Also, it’s good to note, the first lease signers of property in Prairie Township were landowning companies from Colorado and Kansas. They must have invested here because they had the desire to help the citizens of Tipton County. Did I forget to mention there is a promise of eight new jobs?

It would appear that foreign companies and the businessmen in Colorado have Tipton County on their radar. And I am sure they partnered with the Tipton County officials with the welfare of Tipton County’s citizens in mind.

From all I have read about the latest get-rich scheme, it appears the only people that might benefit from the wind are the health care professionals treating wind turbine syndrome and perhaps the local bankers counting all of Tipton government’s money.

There is also a recently announced fourth recipient of Tipton tax abatements in exchange for 850 jobs. The transmission plant now has a new Italian owner, Fiat. Perhaps they can succeed where others have failed. One other Italian company currently runs the state’s lottery system, so maybe the Italian business trend will be promising.

I guess my biggest question is where are all the American businesses? Why aren’t they investing in Tipton County? Why didn’t Tipton County give tax abatements to the area’s farmers long ago. Maybe some of that tax money would have been spent here instead of in a foreign country.

How long will it be before the governor of Indiana comes up north for another picture-taking visit? Perhaps this time he can have his picture taken with a German company’s officials under a wind turbine.

Russell Turk, Sharpsville