Wind Farm Opponents are Hypochondriacs

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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.