Wind Farm Opponents are Hypochondriacs

Photo via ThinkStock.

In November, our associate editor Casey Lyons wrote about the suffering residents of Falmouth. In 2010, the Cape Cod town had installed a pair of wind turbines to help meet the state goal of powering 80,000 homes with renewable energy. Since then, neighbors have complained that the turbines were driving them crazy, causing vertigo, migraines, difficulty sleeping, and the scary phenomenon of “shadow flicker.” Lyons conclusion: Since the town was pulling in $11 million annually — revenue it clearly didn’t want to give up — the neighbors would probably be forced to move.

Turns out the turbines weren’t causing any health effects. Yesterday, a state panel comprised of the departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health released a report showing that there was no evidence that the turbine was causing illness. The study conceded that it was possible that the noise could potentially disrupt some people’s sleep — and warned of the dangers of ice being flung by the turbine’s blades — but that was all. No vertigo, no migraines, and no shadow flicker (thank God!).

Rather, it seems, the neighbors are suffering from a classic illness: NIMBYism. For the unacquainted: Not In My Back Yard.

  • MJ

    I don’t think those Cape residents are hypochondriacs; I think they’re liars.

  • earthwise

    It ought to be mandated that anyone reporting on the health effects of living near industrial wind turbines have to live close to one for a year before they give their opinions.

    If that were the case, their words would have more credibility. So many of these studies are all based on literature without any connection to actuality, that it makes me wonder exactly who is paying for the studies.

  • jo

    REALITY CHECK: The study conceded that it was possible that the noise could potentially disrupt some people’s sleep — and warned of the dangers of ice being flung by the turbine’s blades — but that was all
    MY COMMENT…that is not true at al, this article represents spin!!!l…as to there ‘WAS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE”…meaning one way or the other is the same as saying the public deserves some answers…very sad given the Falmouth experience that it is obvious ignoring anectodal evidence is tolerated by our state officials…

  • jo

    liar liar pants on fire! how dare you use a pejorative term (NIMBY) to define those that urge the responsible siting of wind turbines and those, such as the Falmouth residents, that they are simply “hysterical” clearly you have no understanding of the residents who looked forward to the turbines…until they felt the impacts…good lord man get a grip…

  • Mary

    I am appalled at how uneducated and ill informed you are to write an article like this. I agree with Earthwise and Jo and only hope that you have to live next door to a wind turbine for atleast a year before you get to speak out publicly in such an atrocious and infantile manner.

  • Mary

    This article represents the very worst kind of journalism there is in this country. This is pure garbage reporting.

  • Rosa Goldman

    This is a remarkable conclusion from a “study” that did not interview, let alone examine, a single person claiming to suffer ill effects from nearby wind turbines.


    A article this far off the truth does not even deserve a response.
    Those of us living next to these machines (all around the world including Falmouth) know all too well the devastating consequences. I will put my 18 months of experience as a wind turbine abutter against any so-called scientific “EXPERT” panel who sat in their quiet offices and came up with their cherry-picked literature review.
    The MA SSDEP/DPH biased panel is an example of government at its worst. Meanwhile
    the beleaguered victims continue to suffer while our DEP and DPH are worthless entities.
    One of my severely affected neighbors has labeled the “EXPERT” report “GREEN PUKE”.
    SO TRUE.

  • Mark J Cool

    Assuming scientific evidence ( to date) indicates that noise has no other health effects than “annoyance,” the question then – if the annoyance level imposed adversely impacts the quality & amount of a restful night’s sleep, then current evidence would indicate current noise level guidance regarding windmills is not adaquite.

  • Shelly Lowenthal

    Patrick has no facts straight. Doesn’t anyone on the staff check his work? One could only wish the town was pulling in $11M per year as the town could then buy out every resident within a mile – the cost was $11M and the town could collect less than $800K if it ran the turbines loud enough to shake every house in the neighborhood.

    I think Patrick should join the experiment and set his alarm clock every hour – let’s see if he doesn’t develop vertigo and migraines. He obviously has never experienced shadow flicker – we don’t want to live our lives in a discotheque with strobes running – try reading the morning newspaper like that!

    There is so much research written in the last few years that the panel chose to ignore. This panel was asked to support the wind industry and it obliged. One would hope that a journalist would have his own mind and do his own fact checking – he would see that the Falmouth complaints are repeated around the world.

  • Mary

    How can you continue to reprint this garbage article? Do you just like to piss people off or what?

  • Ben

    Wind Farms or Coal Fire Power Plants? Which of the two do you think causes more ill affects and damage to the environment? The answer is obvious but I don’t hear anyone complaining about the latter.