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WI lawmaker’s bill gives property owners right to sue wind turbine operators

By   /   April 16, 2013  /   9 Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — A state lawmaker who has stood at the forefront in the fight in what he asserts to be the real and present dangers of wind turbines on Tuesday plans to introduce a bill giving harmed property owners living next to the massive towers the right to sue for damages.

Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, says his bill would enable anyone who is harmed by 500-foot industrial wind turbines the ability to sue the wind tower owner as well as the owner of the land on which the tower is located. Plaintiffs would be able to seek damages for the loss of property value, cost of moving, medical expenses, pain and suffering, attorney fees, and any other loss as a result of the industrial wind turbine that is “too close to their home or property,” the senator noted in a statement.

The legislation would apply whether or not the wind tower was legally sited, Lasee said.

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Wind turbines continue to generate controversy in Wisconsin. Sen. Frank Lasee is pushing a bill that would give property owners the right to sue wind turbine operators for damages.

This bill makes it easier for families that have been hurt by 500(-foot) industrial wind turbines to receive compensation for their losses,” Lasee said in the release. “It is unconscionable for a family that has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their home that they have lived in for years to be forced to move because an industrial wind tower is built nearby, or wish that they could move and just can’t afford it.”

Lasee, who has sought a moratorium wind turbine construction, stresses studies that show the dangers to those who reside nearby the renewable-energy producers.

The senator’s latest bills would appear to be written in defense of people like Sue and Darryl Ashley, who, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette, moved their family out of their Glenmore home in 2011 to free their then-16-year-old daughter from the constant headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation they claim were caused by the nearby Shirley Wind Project wind turbines.

But the Public Service Commission’s Wind Siting Council in 2010 concluded the “scientific evidence does not support a conclusion that wind turbines cause adverse health outcomes.”

There were 11 commercial wind farms with 634 megawatts of operating capacity in Wisconsin in 2012, mostly in eastern Wisconsin.

The Energy Center of Wisconsin, an independent nonprofit that “seeks solutions to energy challenges through innovative research and education,” notes a modern wind turbine will produce about 50 decibels of noise at a distance of about 300-600 feet.

“This is comparable to the sound of light traffic at a distance of 100 feet, or the typical sounds of a private business office,” the organization states in a report.

The Wisconsin Towns Association has called on the state of Wisconsin to halt further installation of wind turbines across the entire state, until proper and thorough studies are done to clarify the impact of turbine infrasound and low frequency noise on human health.

A PSC environmental assessment on the proposed Highland Wind Farm, a 102.5 megawatt wind electric generation facility in St. Croix County, determined that the “potential impacts of the project would not have a significant environmental effect on the human environment,” although the report does acknowledge there is a “wide variability in how people react to wind turbine noise and that noise produced by wind turbines could be unusually noticeable or distressing to individuals with increased sensitivity to auditory stimuli.”

Contact M.D. Kittle at mkittle@wisconsinreporter.com

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Kittle is a 25-year veteran of radio, newspaper and online journalism. In July 2011, Kittle joined Watchdog.org as bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter. He has spent much of the past three years covering the seismic political changes taking place in the Badger State. Last year, Kittle joined Watchdog’s national reporting team, covering everything from energy policy to governmental assaults on civil rights. Beyond being published in Wisconsin’s daily newspapers and in multimedia news outlets, Kittle’s work has appeared on Fox News, and in Human Events, Reason Magazine, Newsmax and Town Hall. His special investigation into a politically charged John Doe probe, “Wisconsin’s Secret War,” was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Kittle has made several appearances on Fox News, including “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He serves as weekly politics commentator for Lake 96.1 FM in Lake Geneva, and WRJN-AM 1400 in Racine. His resume includes multiple awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, Wisconsin Broadcast Association and other journalism associations. Contact Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org.

  • Footprint

    If you had a barking dog tied up in your back yard you would have an avenue to resolve, call the police, take them to court if they don’t take care of the problem. Where do the people effected by these Grinding thumping whumping oil spewing stuctures go. We have a 400′ turbine less than 1000′ from our HOME, not property line from our home. Who do I call? My life has been drastically alter by the lack of sleep that now is a fact of my life. My husband isn’t bothered at all! They need to be much further away from peoples homes! Until the Industry understands that it can’t make peoples homes a torture for them to live in they should get sued and often.

  • connlyfox

    Were really talking money hungry jerks, they want to move so this is the easiest way to get a buck! If they want a headache I will trade them mine that came from no where and will never go away, so who the heck do I sue? Eventually the value of their property will fall just from their failure to keep it at 100% due to their aging process but will that be the wind turbines problems or chemicals or grass? The tiny amount of noise is less than what I get living in the City of Oregon on a main street I would trade because there gonna build a bar with a volley ball pit accross the street. I bet I will hear more noise than they will!!!

  • Jim Wiegand

    For those that believe in wind energy and the
    proliferation of industrial wind turbines, I always hear the same arguments
    used to rally the ignorant. “Wind is the future”, “it is
    green”, “we will be fixing climate change”, “we are backed
    with peer reviewed studies”, “it is a citizens duty to address this
    noble cause”, “wind creates badly needed jobs”, “it will
    get us off our dependence on Middle Eastern oil”, and when addressing the
    terrible impacts from these projects………. we represent the “greater
    good”.

    All of the people that make these claims might as well say that wind energy
    will cure warts, because it is all lies anyway. Wind energy actually solves
    none of the problems it is supposed to address. It does create some jobs but
    there would be far more jobs if society would concentrate on real solutions.
    Another point to never forget is that the titans of industry behind wind energy
    are lifetimes away from being altruistic. One of their commandments is to
    create as few jobs as possible so they can keep more for themselves.
    Automation, killing employee benefits, and outsourcing are perfect examples of
    this behavior.

    Here is the reality behind this noble “green” cause. Wind energy is a business with a product to sell. In order to sell this product it has to be promoted. In doing so it has relied upon a very deceptive game plan. Here is a look at some of these tactics: (1)The industry issaturated with rigged studies, (2) Wind energy is supported by agency collusion, (3) wind energy has created a world wide genocide of bats and birdsbut this has been kept hidden by rigging studies and avoiding meaningful ones, (4) wind turbines will cause the extinction of rare species but this fact has
    never been revealed to the public, (5 ) wind energy destroys property values
    from industrial squalor but the industry hides this fact with rigged appraisals. (6) wind creates the permanent destruction of habitat and ecosystems, (9) causes personal agony for close inhabitants and this industryagain hides this fact with their rigged studies, (10) wind is robbing taxpayers, creating huge debt, and driving up energy costs, (11) has a mortality footprint of thousands of miles for all migrating bird and bat species but the public not hear this from the agencies entrusted to protect these species, (12) wind energy is clearly supported by media manipulation, and (13) wind is being sold throughout the world by our trusted leaders and conservation groups which are nothing more than industry
    mouthpieces.

    This unaccountability has created profits in the billions and an industry that
    exudes a truly disgusting arrogance. In addition no one should ever ignore the
    fact that taking billions and billions in profits off the taxpayer’s backs is a
    clear motive to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate.

    Readers should pay very close attention because no matter what any of the turbine supporters claim, there is far more evidence available to assume that 25% of all bird species could become extinct by 2054 due to wind turbines than from climate change. After all it is the wind industry that has created the ongoing bird genocide. Just look under their turbines.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rob-Kovach/100002443817817 Rob Kovach

    Connlyfox…you have made the most ignorant post I’ve ever seen. The health problems are caused by low frequency noise, a lower frequency than you can “hear” but it still stimulates the auditory nerve. Frequencies that go right through walls and carry for over a mile. Sure a bar or volleyball is noisy, but not 24 hours a day, all night long. The people who are harmed by wind turbines have NO escape from these symptoms except to move away. Should the money hungry jerks that built the turbines be able to take the use of someone else’s house away from them without paying? I’m sure those people who already abandoned their homes near the turbines would happily trade places with you.
    The wind developers already have $1.5million of taxpayer subsidies for each turbine they put up, as well as other government payments and tax breaks. See why they have an incentive to put them as many places that they can?

  • ohbrad

    The way this proposed legislation is presented does not show the USUAL pattern of limited tort typically applied to other situations seeking redress.

  • connlyfox

    Rob you are not taking into mind that the time to do some thing about it was before they put them in. The advancment of life has to move on in order for all these people to have all these $150-200,000 homes and have the electricity to run them we need more way to get energy. Greed to have some expensive house yields greed to make money to afford the electricity to run it so the people who wanted the house created the need and created the greed which is the actual reason it happened so be real and see it as it is. Gee my headache started from no where and will never stop and I can’t move to make it go away lucky them but some of what you said is talking about the capability of a dogs ear please.

  • Joe Thomas, WI

    What about suing roadbulders of the state if a busy road is in? There are far more proven health damages from a busy road, than the noise from this.
    This is more Republican big government.

  • Joe Thomas, WI

    How do you feel about busy roads? They get subsidies, they have well-documented, proven negative health effects, unlike wind turbines.
    So, what is it? Are you a hypocrite because you hate wind farms?

  • Joe Thomas, WI

    You can apply about 98% of that post to roads. How do you feel about building roads that will be busy?

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