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.
“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 [email protected]