The Answer My Friend

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In a reflection I wrote about a year ago, I noted that wind power has proven to have an unfavorable effect on the environment — it kills lots of birds who fly into the turbines. I facetiously referred to this phenomenon as “shredded tweet.” In a Reflection written for last month’s issue of Liberty, I noted that wind power is (as I put it sarcastically, using a show biz term) a “triple threat”: it is ugly, unreliable, and hugely expensive.

It now appears that I have been overly charitable in my assessment. A piece by Robert Bryce in The Wall Street Journal (March 1) points to another drawback of wind farms: they pose a health risk to humans. Articles are appearing in newspapers — especially rural ones — around the world, indicating that wind turbines are making it impossible for many people to sleep. Such reports have appeared in papers in many cities in Australia, Canada, England, France, and New Zealand, as well as the United States.

The turbines typically emit a deep pulsing sound that, the reports claim, causes insomnia and other ailments, such as headaches and dizziness. Put a pack of these turbines together, and the noise apparently becomes unbearable for many people within a mile or two of the wind farm. We are not thinking about one or two cases; many hundreds of complaints have been filed here and abroad about the noise pollution that wind power generates.

As a response, groups of people opposing wind power have sprung up as fast as the wind itself. Canada has about 25 anti-wind groups, the United States about a hundred, and Europe now almost 400.

Predictably, wind industry groups (such as the American Wind Energy Association) heatedly deny that there is any basis in medical science for the claim that noise pollution caused by wind turbines poses any health risk. But this issue is only now being investigated by medical doctors and other researchers.

If it turns out that epidemiological studies do establish a link, you will quickly see an interesting split in the Democratic Party coalition. The trial lawyers will start suing the hell out of the very source of power that the environmentalists are pushing to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power.

What a tantalizing thought.

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