Shirley Wind (Brown County, WI) has received global attention following the October 14, 2014 declaration by the Brown County Board of Health that Duke Energy’s eight 2.5 MW wind turbines are a human health hazard.
A special joint meeting of the Brown County Human Services Committee and Board of Health was held on September 12, 2017 at which four guest speakers gave presentations, followed by two hours of challenging and constructive questions from county officials. The speakers included:
- Herb Coussons, MD, Brown County primary care physician who has evaluated six of the numerous adversely affected Shirley Wind residents
- Robert W. Rand, ASA, INCE, who has been investigating wind turbine noise with site noise measurements for the last eight years, including at Shirley Wind and Falmouth, MA
- Robert J. McCunney, MD, who practices occupational and environmental medicine in Boston, MA
- Mark Werner, PhD, from the Wisconsin Division of Public Health
The presentations by Dr. Coussons and Robert Rand focused on the science, on their personal expertise, and on what wind turbine residents have taught us about adverse health effects resulting from wind turbine emissions. Their goal is to protect public health, including the health of residents at Shirley Wind, by sharing with county officials why they have concluded that industrial wind turbines sited in proximity to human populations can cause adverse health effects.
Neither Dr. Coussons nor Robert Rand received any compensation for speaking at this meeting, whereas, when pressed, Dr. McCunney admitted on stage that he was paid by Duke Energy (owner of Shirley Wind) to speak at this meeting. Dr. McCunney has also co-authored literature reviews in 2009 and 2014 that were each funded by the American Wind Energy Association and/or the Canadian Wind Energy Association. He has also testified on behalf of wind interests in numerous court cases or wind project permitting proceedings in the US and other countries.
The central focus of Dr. McCunney’s presentation was the Health Canada study, which he knows, or should have known, cannot be applied to Shirley Wind. Health Canada and its lead researcher, Dr. David Michaud, have made it clear in public papers and statements that:
- “... results may not be generalized to areas beyond the sample as the wind turbine locations in this study were not randomly selected”
- “... this design does not permit any conclusions to be made with respect to causality.”
- “... the results will not provide a definitive answer on their own.”
Dr. McCunney did not disclose these limitations in his presentation, potentially leaving the impression that the Health Canada study is applicable to Shirley Wind or other wind projects, which it is not.
In summary, the meeting demonstrated that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that wind turbines pose public health risks, and that it is time for Wisconsin and Brown County health authorities to formally acknowledge this, so that the discussion will move forward to correct the harm that wind turbines have caused.
Watch it at: youtu.be/2kvoZO-DEho (or below, Ed.) … and don’t miss the critically important Q & A session.BCCRWE press release