Skip to comments.Lawsuit Alleges Wind Power A Threat To Health And Safety
Posted on 04/16/2013 5:27:31 AM PDT by MichCapCon
A group of 17 Northern Michigan residents have filed a lawsuit claiming a new Consumers Energy wind farm has been making people sick.
According to the lawsuit, the $250 million Lake Winds Energy Park wind farm, south of Ludington in Mason County, was built too close to homes. The lawsuit says residents are suffering from dizziness, sleeplessness, headaches and other physical symptoms because of the noise. The 56 turbines (some as far away as a half mile) also are causing vibrations and flickering lights in houses, the lawsuit says. Economic losses are also claimed in the suit.
The Shineldecker house has several windmills surrounding it. The lawsuit was filed April 1 in Mason County Circuit Court and claims the plaintiffs will continue to suffer harm, including physical injury, emotional stress and loss of property value if they continue to be exposed to the wind farm's operation. Monetary damages in excess of $25,000 are being sought as well as a court order for Consumers Energy to cease and desist in its activities and put an end to the problems.
Dan Bishop, director of corporate communications for Consumers Energy said the company doesn't usually comment on pending litigation, but said the company has worked to resolve complaints.
Cary Shineldecker is one of the 17 plaintiffs. He and his family have lived in their house 18 years and fully own it. At a local meeting, two months before the lawsuit was filed, he described how the turbines had been disrupting their lives.
"We've now moved our beds to the basement in a storage room," Shineldecker said. "After living in my house for 18 years, [we're sleeping] in a storage room on an air mattress so I can try to sleep . . . so my lovely wife can get up and go and try to teach second graders and be awake in the morning.
"We have been up multiple, multiple nights and cannot sleep," Shineldecker added. "I've missed work because of this. Our health is suffering."
Shineldecker also said at that meeting that four of his wife's teeth were loosened as a result of her clenching her teeth at night while low frequency vibrations from the turbines were shaking her.
Lake Winds Energy Park wind farm started in November, 2012. Shineldecker's description in February was about the initial three months of operation.
Another plaintiff, Mary Nichols, is a member of the Mason County Board of Commissioners and lives near the project. Nichols was a commissioner throughout the turbine project's approval process.
"It's unfortunate that every official charged with approving or disapproving one of these projects hasn't had the experience of living within one or close to one before deciding," Kevon Martis, director of Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition said.
IICC opposes industrial scale wind power, arguing it is a potential health hazard and provides little, if any, benefits to the environment.
Bishop, of Consumers Energy, issued the following statement about the lawsuit.
While in general we do not specifically comment on pending litigation, we make the following observations:
We have worked closely with the Mason County Planning Commission and Zoning Director to try to reasonably address permit and ordinance concerns of residents living within the Lake Winds project area to the fullest practicable extent. We will continue to do so.
While we are meeting our permit requirements, we have already taken steps to address some of these concerns. This includes expansion of the shadow flicker model to account for potential shadow flicker occurrences at a greater distance between the wind turbine and resident. As a result, we are in process of reprogramming our shadow flicker detection system to account for this new model. We expect to have all affected turbines reprogrammed by April 15, 2013.
We have said from the beginning of this process that we will meet or exceed all zoning provisions and other requirements under local, state and federal laws. We believe we are doing so today, and are planning to implement additional measures which we will announce in the near future to further help with working with all residents living within the Lake Winds project area.
In 2008, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the legislature mandated that 10 percent of the energy generated in Michigan come from alternative energy sources.
Although alternative energy sounded as though it included multiple sources, it largely means wind power. Experts have said no other alternative energy source could generate enough energy to provide a semblance of meeting the 10 percent quota.
The term semblance is used because less than one-third of wind power is actually alternative energy. In Michigan, the turbines can only be counted on to turn an average of 30 percent of the time. The other 70 percent of time, they must be backed up by energy generated by fossil fuels.
Because of the 10 percent mandate, utilities like Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are forced to find land on which to place the wind farms. To accomplish this they have to convince local governments that proposed wind farm projects will be installed in a manner that does not adversely impact residents.
"The mandate forces the utility to basically try to sell local officials on the idea of accepting a wind farm," Martis said. "Local officials, who are rarely up to speed on wind power technology, are in a poor position to question or challenge the utility's claims about the safety and advisability of the project. But where can they turn for unbiased advice? They're not likely to find it at the state level, where the bureaucracy remains saturated with wind power activists and enthusiasts."
My boy O’Mally wants to fill the Ocean off Maryland with these got damned things.
They simply are a waste of money.
The expense of erecting them offshore is usually at least double the cost of erecting them on land.
I don’t know if they’re a physical threat to anything but large birds, but one thing is for certain... they’re ugly as crap. I’ve seen them along I-65 over hundreds of square miles north of Indianapolis. They’re an aesthetic blight, as far as I’m concerned.
The answer my friend is blowining in the wind............if you are poor at cost-benefit analyisis and return on investment calculations!!
The un-natural ,repetitive shadows or light reflection flickers can cause distess to many.Ditto for the sounds.
My ex had a “medical event” after which she experienced discomfort and mild nausea if in a room with the flickering shadows from ceiling fans.She was diagnosed with an inner ear disorder.The onset was sudden.We never lived near nor even saw one of thosse giant windfarms but I bet such would have aggravated her sysptoms.
Just as some people are more annoyed or even rendered unable to sleep by the repetitive flashing of traffic lights or advertising signs.There is a local car dealer whose led sign flashes very brightly at night and is set to strobe briefly at intervals.Then there are the traffic lights that switch from cycling red/green/yellow to steadily flashing yellow or flashing red.The one that go red seem to be pulsed like a strobe .
How anyone could be expected to get a restful sleep with such light flickering is beyond me.
Hydropower is proven and economical in many areas.Solar can be economical in limited areas.Wind power is just unreliable and expensive except in very limited areas and applications.
But people who just “feel” they have the answers don’t want to be bothered with annoying facts .
BTW hydro also does something that no other power production method can do. It actually creates wealth in the form of high dollar lakefront real estate.
Windmills & solar panels are not energy efficient-they use more land & generate less energy based on wind & sun. We must use more nuclear power including Small Modular Reactors (SMR), geothermal, hydroelectric dams & tidal. We must save fossil fuels & reduce coal & natural gas use.
I see even sensible people can be deluded by the alternative energy proponents.
If you think it is hard to find good sites for wind power try finding a good geothermal site. They are harder to find than hens teeth and the few sites there are almost exclusively in National Parks. The best sights are where magma comes close to the surface like Yellow Stone National Parks. But you also need a good supply of surface water that you can pump down a well. There are not a lot of places you can find both in one place.
Pretty much all of the best places for hydo power are already taken. But if you could find a site for a hydro plant good luck getting your environmental impact statement through the EPA. The EPA (and the Interior Department) has been infiltrated thoroughly with environmental extremist.
Tidal power is about as big a myth as wind power and good sites are more difficult to find. You need consistently large tidal differences and preferably swift tides; Worse still for reliability than wind power the tide only changes twice a day.
In all reality there are no true alternatives to the power sources we are currently using. All of the alternative power sources put forward by the Green and Global warming extremist are at best nitch power source only useful to those who for some reason MUST live off the grid (in other words normal sources of power are not available). The alternative energy sources can not compete against conventional energy sources in terms of economics or reliability.
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