The industrial wind health impact debate rages on at the Rutland (Vermont) Herald

What follows is a volley of letters to the Editor of the Rutland (Vermont) Herald, which demonstrates the intensity of the debate within communities facing industrial wind installations regarding the issues of of industrial wind and resident’s health.  If nothing else, the back and forth witnessed here should serve as evidence that this debate should, in fact, be ongoing throughout the country, well before the wind LLC shows up at your County Commissioner’s door with a smile and a lot of promises.

For the most part, the discussion of the negative health effects of industrial wind is smothered by the heavily funded wind propagandists and often supported by a compliant press.  Politicians, who should be taking a lead role asking for balanced discussion of critical issues are silent, at least until the subsidies roll in and the ribbon cutting ceremony is held, only to disappear again when the jobs do not come and the revenues promised by the wind developers do not materialize.

While they make the post a bit long, we feel it’s instructive to see the comments from readers that follow letters to the editor, so we’ve taken the liberty to post them for your convenience at the end of each letter.  One might question whether they add to the debate, but we feel some certainly do.  Others just provide for darned good entertainment.

This important exchange, begins with commentary from Dr. Stan Shapiro who recently wrote a piece in Heart Health News on the cardiac consequences of sleep deprivation.  Dr. Shapiro’s letter is titled Health effects must be studied

A recent piece I wrote in Heart Health News on the cardiac consequences of sleep deprivation has been accused of fear-mongering on wind turbines. I wish to address several of the author’s comments and correct them.

First, the work is entirely my own and does not represent an opinion nor position of Rutland Regional Medical Center. I understand that the medical center will host a balanced forum on Health Issues of Wind Turbines in the spring. Additionally, a group of Rutland area physicians have a committee to study the health impacts of wind turbines. This is laudatory, and the people of Rutland County should be proud their institution and area physicians are willing to study difficult issues that affect health.

Personally, I stand by the facts of the article. Sleep deprivation is harmful to one’s health. It imposes psychological, physiological, and health effects that have morbid consequences. I argued in the Heart Health piece that increased morbidity leads to increased risk of mortality. This is a medical axiom that is clearly supported in the cardiology literature.

Preliminary findings in Mars Hill, Maine, conclude that adults living within 1,100 meters of industrial wind turbines suffer higher incidences of chronic sleep disturbance compared to a control group 5,500 meters away. In Japan 90 percent of complaints against wind turbines have been health-related, with insomnia being among the leading concerns.

The AWEA-CANWEA that is cited by the author is said to rebut the “myths” I put forward. This paper barely addresses sleep deprivation and does not deal with the facts I advanced. This industry-financed paper did not study wind turbine health effects it merely reviewed available literature, and no where does it interview one person whose life has been turned asunder living in proximity to industrial wind turbines.

The intersection of health and renewable energy is a brand new area of medical inquiry that must be studied. To say that no further study of the issues is necessary as the AWEA-CANWEA authors did is shameful. The precautionary principlemust be applied to projects that have the potential of worsening our lives. I and others will continue to work unceasingly on issues we believe in.

I am thankful that RRMC is an institution whose culture encourages dealing with hard, complex issues in a robust and learned manner and where dissent can be embraced as one of the building blocks of further understanding and growth.RRMC is an organization with integrity. I am hopeful that my studied position on this important issue will be seen for what it is and not as a position of RRMC .


(AT Note:  We do not have access to Dr. Shapiro’s original article from Heart Health News for your review.)

Reader Comments to Dr. Shapiro’s letter:

so stupid

— Posted by None None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 5:16 am EST

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There are a few who still dispute the health affects of wind turbines on people who live close in. But you know what, it doesn’t stop the fact that people ARE suffering. We have no one to go to except Representatives like Dave Potter, Joe Baker, Peg Andrews, Bill Carris and Bob Helm. I trust these folks won’t let us down. We elect them to protect us from things like this. Don’t take Dr. Shapiro’s word for it. Don’t take my word for it. Read what Susan Wylie in Vinalhaven, Wendy Todd of Mars Hill or Hal and Judy Graham of Cohocton, NY have to say. These are REAL people who are suffering the effects that Wind Developers like Jeff Wennberg, Per White Hansen and Steve Eisenberg are telling us don’t exist. We get it….they’ve got a lot of money to lose. I suggest that we have many renewable options which will better our state’s energy portfolio. Industrial wind, with it’s many drawbacks, is not the answer to Vermont’s problems.

Check it out.


— Posted by Local Yokel on Tue, Feb 2, 2010, 10:54 pm EST

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Political debate is wonderful, grab a platitude, i.e. Sleep Deprivation is…., and plaster it on the side of anything, demand a study before any action. Precious Green Mountains, Snail Darter, Acid Rain, Shin Splints, Elbow Room, or whatever. I think the whirly super fans are laughably the worst gadget to come down the pike since electric cars. “You must have one or Hugo Chavez will own the Florida Keys”. March to Montpelier to save the Keys. YIKE!!!

— Posted by None None on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, 8:19 am EST

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Next up is this letter from Jeff Wennberg , community outreach director for Vermont Community Wind, a Charlotte-based company.  Mr. Wennberg took exception to Dr. Shapiro’s writing this letter titled “ Factual view of wind power

On behalf of Vermont Community Wind Farm I want to thank Jill Jesso-White and the Rutland Regional Medical Center for their prompt apology following the publication of an article claiming adverse health effects from wind turbines. The Medical Center clearly stated that they take no position on this and has taken the positive step of sponsoring a community forum on the subject this spring.

Wind energy opponent Stan Shapiro continues to cite the claims of health problems at Mars Hill in Maine, but fails to mention the hundreds of wind farms around the nation where no such claims are made . He misquotes the concerns raised by the World Health Organization for adverse health effects associated with sleep disturbance (not “deprivation”), but does not acknowledge the Vermont regulatory standard for wind farm noise levels.

Here is what Dr. Dora Ann Mills, director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention wrote: “In my review I found no evidence in peer-reviewed medical and public health literature of adverse health effects from the kinds of noise and vibrations heard by wind turbines other than occasional reports of annoyances, and these are mitigated or disappear with proper placement of the turbines from nearby residences.”

The World Health Organization studied night noise from all sources and stated that the ideal night noise level to avoid sleep disturbance is 30 decibels . The Vermont Public Service Board limit for wind turbine noise in the bedroom is 30 decibels , and it is measured even more stringently than WHO recommends.

Vermont Community Wind Farm welcomes a balanced and factually grounded discussion of this important issue. Readers interested in learning more about it are invited to review the following: Night Noise Guidelines for Europe, World Health Organization, 2009;; Wind Turbine Neuro-Acoustical Issues, June, 2009;; and Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects; An Expert Panel Review, AWEA, CWEA, December 2009; panel release.html.


(AT Note:  We do not have access to Jill Jesso-White and the Rutland Regional Medical Center’s apology for your review.)

Reader Comments to Mr. Wennberg’s letter:

Hell, Let’s ******** everyone. What about a tire burning plant to generate electricity? Tires are not a fossil fuel. They come from trees. We wouldn’t have to worry about all of those tires in the land fills either.

— Posted by Smart Thinking on Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 11:36 pm EST

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Hey Jeff. SHUT UP.

— Posted by No More on Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 4:29 pm EST

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Mr. Wennberg,

You have no credibility on this issue. Your company, Vermont Community Wind Farm, has trespassed on private land on several occasions, installed monitoring equipment without owners permission, and were even ordered to remove a MET tower you illegally placed in Ira, after you received approval from the Public Service Board! Even when the MET tower was being removed as per the order of the PSB, you still trespassed on private land in the process! It is also a known fact, that you would be fined by the PSB if you did not follow their recommendation for removing the illegally placed tower. It’s these instances that people question your integrity and the Wind developers as a whole. Your inclusion to the link to the American Wind Energy Association, is a joke! All you have done is just expose the man behind the curtain, in your feeble attempt to sugar coat the genuine concern the public has about large scale wind development.

Your supercilious reactions to the general public at town meetings was obvious, when presented with facts and questions that opposed yourlarge scale wind development.
It is far more “Green” to leave these ridges as they have been for millions of years. The Vermont mountains are some of the oldest on the entire planet!

The disdain you have showed the public that dare question Vermont Community Wind Farm’s attempt to destroy the landscape, in favor of an incredibly inefficient technology, is offensive to the morality and decency of ordinary people.

Another revealing fact about Wind developers, is their required to sign an ethics pledge!

You sir, represent an industry that can’t be trusted!

— Posted by p c on Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 8:32 am EST

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If you lived in Ira Jeff, you’d find out what it’s like to sleep in a room that is so quiet the sound of a timex watch left in the room will keep you from sleeping.

The other thing is this, I don’t care how many decibels the public service board says is ok. If the lungs of a bats get burst as they fly through the perimeter of a wind turbine, I know there is something extra going on that I can’t hear. Something that when combined with the DBc, is keeping people up at night. You can deny it Jeff, but it’s happening in a deer camp in Lempster, in homes on Vinalhaven, out in Cohocton, and also in Mars Hill.

Don’t go getting a big chest on us just because the RRMC issued an apology. People are suffering the effects of wind turbines whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Dr Shapiro and others are doing the right thing by putting this information out there for people to hear. Dr Shapiro has nothing to gain by lying to us. But you sure do Jeff.

— Posted by Local Yokel on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 8:42 pm EST

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If you lived in Ira Jeff, you’d find out what it’s like to sleep in a room that is so quiet the sound of a timex watch left in the room will keep you from sleeping.

The other thing is this, I don’t care how many decibels the public service board says is ok. If the lungs of a bats get burst as they fly through the perimeter of a wind turbine, I know there is something extra going on that I can’t hear. Something that when combined with the DBc, is keeping people up at night. You can deny it Jeff, but it’s happening in a deer camp in Lempster, in homes on Vinalhaven, out in Cohocton, and also in Mars Hill.

Don’t go getting a big chest on us just because the RRMC issued an apology. People are suffering the effects of wind turbines whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Dr. Shapiro is doing the right thing by putting this information out there for people to hear. He’s got nothing to gain by lying to us. But you sure do Jeff.


— Posted by Local Yokel on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 8:22 pm EST

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Will VCWF be contributing to a fund that is adequate to remove the turbines and “restore the site to it’s natural state” (my quotes, because that will be impossible) once they are no longer operable or necessary? I don’t believe so. I find it very hard to like Mr. Wennberg any more because I fear he is selling snake oil. Also, noise is in the ear of the beholder. If you subject me to noise that is intolerable to me and then tell me to get an attitude change, don’t expect a good reaction. In Vermont, it’s standard practice to propose something that will ruin some people’s lives, and then tell them to submit to mediation under which they might reach a compromise that ruins only 80 percent of their life. It’s especially galling when the benefits are so questionable. Wind makes little sense without a good storage medium for the electricity. Hydrogen is that medium. Itcan be made from water using electricity from wind and solar, and can power vehicles or be used to pump electricity into the grid at peak demand times. What we need is a farm-sized pilot project to demonstrate the concept.

— Posted by Captain Tenille on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 3:01 pm EST

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Want a solution? Everyone use less and set up individual energy systems. A windturbine in my neighbors yard along with some solar panels would be a welcome sight! Buliding 80 turbines on the ridgelines so VCWF can trade the carbon credits for profit is much less desirable.

— Posted by Andy Farmer on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 1:55 pm EST

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The sound of wind turbines, as demonstrated by Charles Gibson

— Posted by None None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 1:44 pm EST

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Solar, hydro, biomass are all viable solutions. Entergy and the wind developers are reading from the same playbook, not being truthful. Wennberg wants people to know facts about wind energy, but is denying there are health problems caused by the noise. Here links are videos where you can get facts:
Voices of Vinalhaven, Maine
Wind Turbine Noise in Canada
Life Under a Wind Plant in Pennsylvania
Voices of Tug Hill New York
Welcome to Mars Hill Maine
Wind Turbines and Health

— Posted by None None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 12:59 pm EST

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Proposing solutions isn’t a real strong suit for the forum trolls.

— Posted by Dave None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 10:08 am EST

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So, what’s your alternative energy source? Do you have one?
Something has to be done about the many negative aspects of our energy needs today and into the future.
First Question: What do you propose? If not wind, then what?
Second Question: If yours is such a great idea, why aren’t investors beating a path to our doors with your grandiose idealized new energy system?
I see far too many people complaining about solutions that are offered but those same people are unable to propose any sustainable solutions to our insatiable hunger for more energy.
Something has to be done.

— Posted by steve Nunya on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 8:38 am EST

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Hold onto your hats, this is just the beginning of the corporate blitz the wind industry is about to unleash with their 18 minute video to be mass mailed to areas in Vermont where wind turbines are proposed. The wind industry is going on the offensive nationwide and Vermont is ground zero, with the trade organization Renewable Energy Vermont producing the video for sale for $20 to developers. Read more about their planned propaganda campaign here: How sad that we need solutions to our energy needs and instead we get well-funded government hand-outs to an industry that is using our tax dollars topromulgate their version of the truth. Go visit big wind turbines on a windy day and talk to people who live around them — not on one of those “fixed” trips the wind developers organize — and see for yourself just how loud and annoying the technology is. Big wind turbines do not belong on top of Vermont’s mountains!

— Posted by None None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 8:01 am EST

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Wind turbines DO cause sleep disturbance which leads to sleep deprivation. This in turn leads to a whole host of health problems. Also for Mr Wennberg to say that no problems have been found outside of Mars Hill is disingenous at best, as most other areas have not been studied, so obviously no “claims are made” about problems at these sights, and a quick look at the internet will show problems at many other sightsworldwide. The American Wind Association would like to keep it that way too because instead of acknowledging that problems clearly occur when studied as in Mars Hill, they recommended no further studies be done. What a surprise!!! Also he fails to mention that the wind industry uses gag orders to prevent victims from talking about the noise and health problems they have experienced…if no problems, why would they do that???

And finally I do agree with the WHO guidelines, but evidence shows that the wind industry skirts these guidelines by using inaccurate modeling tounderpredict noise problems and over predicts masking by ambient noise. Once the turbines are up all those people are now stuck with noisemuch louder than predicted. There are numerous reports of turbine noise exceeding 50dB at peoples homes. The WHO report clearly states that these noise levels unequivocally cause health effects including cardiac problems.

The wind industry has shown that with all that money at stake they cannot be trusted to tell the truth. After all they are there to make money pure and simple, and people’s health problems are an inconvenience to be swept under the rug so they can continue their uninterrupted greed.

— Posted by VT Nature on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 6:32 am EST

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have you ever been within ten miles of a ski mountain making snow?, now thats noise.

— Posted by None None on Thu, Feb 4, 2010, 5:06 am EST

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Mr. Wennberg’s letter prompted this letter to the editor:  “Wennberg lacks credibility

On Feb. 1, the Herald ran a letter from Dr. Stan Shapiro clarifying a misunderstanding that an article he wrote in the Heart Health News was not meant as an endorsement by the Rutland Regional Medical Center. He cites several studies and then states, “Personally, I stand by the facts of the article.” The letter was titled, “Health effects must be studied.” On Feb. 4, Jeff Wennberg, the public relations rep for Vermont Community Wind Farm, describes Dr. Shapiro as a “wind energy opponent” and cites other studies. The Herald titled his letter, “Factual view of wind power.”

To state Mr. Wennberg’s letter as “factual” vs. Dr. Shapiro’s as an issue to be “studied” raises once again any claim the Herald might claim to objectivity. Mr. Wennberg is paid to promote his company and has shown no compunction to distortion, misstatements and even problems with the truth. Dr. Shapiro, on the other hand, doesn’t have the liberties with the truth as Mr. Wennberg.

Mr. Wennberg has a long history with questionable statements about energy. Years ago, when he was mayor of Rutland City, he assured his residents of the safety of the proposed Vicon waste-to-energy incinerator plant by stating: “With his training as a physicist [it] enabled him to study the evidence and conclude that health-related concerns were unfounded.” (New York Times, Nov. 29, 1987) Several years later the state denied an operating permit because “the plant failed to meet standards for emission of toxic substances, including dioxin ….” (Rutland Herald, March24, 1993).

As we’ve come to expect of Mr. Wennberg, anyone who opposes his ideas are obviously unlearned. The same New York Times article quotes him as saying the state “paid too much attention to the fanatical and shrill attacks by the opposition.”

More recently, the Yale Daily News (Sept. 30, 2009) in an article “Yale-backed wind plan incites controversy,” has Mr. Wennberg responding to issues of noise and illness raised by Rep. Dave Potter by exclaiming, “Wrong, wrong, and wrong. They certainly do make noise, but an awful lot of the fears people have are based on misinformation.”

When a lot of criticism developed in the follow-up blog to the article, Mr. Wennberg responded: “Once again, the misinformation machine is operating at full throttle. VCWF never proposed to build 60 turbines.” (I have VCWF’s own maps that prove otherwise.)

Mr. Wennberg’s credibility is suspect. To credit Mr. Wennberg with “factual” knowledge. knowing that behind him is the multi-billion dollar industrial wind industr, is a deep disappointment. When Mr. Wennberg devotes his obvious intellectual gifts to mislead, misinform, and, as noted above, lie, I believe it is incumbent upon the Herald to question motive to insure fairness in a reasonable attempt at objectivity.


Reader Comments to Mr. Cosgrove’s letter:

Vermontis, the Vermont Legislature is working on a bill for Sun removal..They are currently reviewing the Grandfather clause due to one Vermonter dying from skin cancer years ago from over exposure. Detractors of the bill are investigating the sun victims time spent in Florida as an agrument in support of keeping the Sun overhead. I’ll keep you posted..

— Posted by Back Nine on Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 1:33 pm EST

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The Vicon debacle is nonsense compounded with rhetoric and science fiction. The Permit to operate was denied, that is true. The balance is fantasy, there was no dioxin and no failure to meet emission standards. The rules were changed several times, due in part to the chanting of the badly misinformed, and the process was modified to meet the rules without actually running. The investors said “yes we can” and a computer program said “no you can’t”, permit denied. Dioxin(s) is or are compounds formed by burning Chlorine in a special limited set of circumstances, it is not produced by burning stuff. There is very little logic applied to public policy and it has been so for a number of years since sensationalism became the profit maker for the media. The good news is that the media is being excoriated for poor journalism. I am not a fan of making electric with fans, nor do I care for the flippant use of controversy as a substitute for logical argument. The fans are, to me, a “limited life” investment in a public utility better served by the kind of investment made when the builders of the Niagra Falls power stations conceived their plan. Obozo is lost in Washington with Leahy and Sanders biting at their detractors. We need a Panama Canal approach to creating what we need now and for the very long term. We need bigger thinkers.

— Posted by None None on Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 9:53 am EST

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Thank You Peter!!! Very well stated!! I’m anxious to attend the informational presentation Rutland Regional has promised to provide. At least Jeff’s letter did some good. It also highlighted the bias of the paper. Factual? I think not.

— Posted by Andy Farmer on Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 8:30 am EST

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Those generalizations, what about Geo-thermal Vermontitis? Small footprint, endless supply, no fish “banging their fins”, not radioactive, not noisy. That’s the ticket. Let’s focus on real solutions.

— Posted by MItch Adams on Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 8:19 am EST

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Every potential power source seems to have its detractors, usually a loud boisterous bunch. No wind power….its noisy…no nuclear power its radioactive…no coal its damaging to the air….no hydro…fish might bang their fins.

Its a good thing the SUN was grandfathered in or we would all freeze.

— Posted by * Vermontis on Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 6:03 am EST

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Allegheny Treasures is awaiting the next volley and your comments.  Stay tuned!

We make every attempt to be accurate .  Should you find errors, omissions or broken links please notify us in the comment section and we will remedy promptly.

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1 Response to The industrial wind health impact debate rages on at the Rutland (Vermont) Herald

  1. Quixote says:

    Wind Power is a Scam!

    Before anyone offers any “positive” remarks on the value of building an Industry that destroys people’s health, landscapes and homes without anything in return except higher prices for Electricity do some “research”.

    After spending a few hours reading about the sad stories of people being literally forced from their homes to save their very lives because of the vicinity of these 400 foot plus monsters you may see them for what they really are: an investment opportunity for greedy politicians and Industrialist who don’t give a “flying fig” for their citizens and neighbours quality of life!

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