Blamed for Mysterious Illness
Sue Hobart, a bridal florist from Massachusetts, couldn't understand why she suddenly developed headaches, ringing in her ears, insomnia and dizziness to the point of falling "flat on my face" in the driveway.
"I thought I was just getting older and tired," said the 57-year-old from Falmouth.
Months earlier, in the summer of 2010, three wind turbines had been erected in her town, one of which runs around the clock, 1,600 feet from her home.
"I didn't put anything to the turbines -- we heard it and didn't like the thump, thump, thump and didn't like seeing them, but we didn't put it together," she told ABCNews.com.
Hobart said her headaches only got worse, but at Christmas, when she went to San Diego, they disappeared. And she said the same thing happened on an overnight trip to Keene, N.H.
"Sometimes at night, especially in the winter, I wake up with a fluttering in the chest and think, 'What the hell is that,' and the only place it happens is at my house," she said. "That's how you know. When you go away, it doesn't happen."
Hobart and dozens of others in this small Cape Cod town have filed lawsuits, claiming that three 400 feet tall, 1.63 megawatt turbines were responsible for an array of symptoms. A fourth, much smaller turbine, receives fewer complaints.
The wind turbines have blown up a political storm in Falmouth that has resonated throughout the wind energy industry. Are these plaintiffs just "whiners," or do they have a legitimate illness?
In 2011, a doctor at Harvard Medical School diagnosed Hobart with wind turbine syndrome, which is not recognized by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The name was coined by Nina Pierpont, a John Hopkins University-trained pediatrician, whose husband is an anti-wind activist, criticizing the economics and physics of wind power. Pierpont, who lives in upstate New York, calls wind turbine syndrome the green energy industry's "dirty little secret." She self-published "Wind Turbine Syndrome" in 2009, including case studies of people who lived within 1.25 miles of these "spinning giants" who reportedly got sick.
But her wind-turbine research has been criticized for improper peer review and for its methodology...
Hobart and her husband, Edward, filed a nuisance claim last Feb. 5 in Barnstable Superior Court against Notus Clean Energy and its owner, Dan Webb. According to the Hobarts' lawyer, Democrat State Rep. Brian Mannal, they are seeking between $150,000 and $300,000 in damages for loss of value of their home, and for medical bills.
They filed an earlier nuisance complaint against the town in July 2012, but the judge granted the defendants' motion to dismiss on Dec. 3, 2012.
"The heart of the issue is that they have been pushed off their land," said Mannal. "They have erected these enormous industrial-scale turbines -- larger than a 747 -- in close proximity to residences. They have had to leave their house because they couldn't live there anymore."
Mannal, who took on the Hobarts' suit before running for public office, said he "had a feeling about this case since it first came to me that this is one of the most important things I will do in my professional life. These are people who have been put upon and are suffering under this thing with no avenue for escape.
"This is an industry that has pushed to make wind happen, and I am not against that, but you do it responsibly," Mannal said. "It goes all day and night. My initial take was that [she] was being a hypochondriac, but I went to their house two years ago with a little skepticism and within 10 minutes of being in the house, I could feel it and hear it...It acts like a drum and pounds on the house."
In its answer to the court on May 20, Webb's attorney, Michael J. O'Neill, denied all of Hobart's allegations, saying that Notus' application for an operating permit was "subject to rigorous review" by Falmouth's Zoning Board of Appeals. O'Neill also said that Notus had submitted a "thorough noise assessment by a qualified consultant in support of its application," and that the wind turbine project had complied with all applicable standards and regulations. "Scientific research and studies have shown that wind turbines such as Notus' do not cause a nuisance or adverse health effects," said O'Neill in the court filing.
Webb did not comment on the Hobarts' lawsuit but defended wind energy in an email to ABCNews.com, saying that its wind turbine generates approximately 5 million kWh of electricity annually.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 10/21/2013
Editor's Note: Imagine that. Putting an industrial size prop adjacent to a person's home might not be the thing to do...
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