Anti-wind Senators compare turbines to tobacco, pink bats

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Attack on wind worsens as senators leading inquiry compare wind industry testimony to that of Big Tobacco, describe turbines as ‘Pink Batts in the air’.

share
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The demonisation of wind turbines has continued at the latest Senate wind Inquiry, with the group of senators leading the charge comparing the wind industry to Big Tobacco, and raising the spectre of Pink Bats.

As reported here last week, the latest Senate wind inquiry – there have been 10 of them over the past five years – has been told of extraordinary damage to brain and physical function of humans, dogs and ewes.

The Inquiry has also focused on the testimony of Steven Cooper who, in his 20-page written submission, describes himself as an “acoustical and vibration engineer working in the areas of noise and vibration investigations for 37 years.”

Cooper, author of the Cape Bridgewater wind farm noise study released earlier this year, claims to have found a link between the symptoms of people near wind farms say they – and their animals – are developing, and the “infrasound” noise generated by operating turbines.

Channel 7’s Today Tonight program in Adelaide has given those claims a big airing. (Channel 7 is now to be run by Ryan Stokes, who is looking at opportunities to invest in the oil and gas industry. He takes over from former Woodside Petroleum CEO Don Voelte).

Of course, the claims of this study – The Australian‘s front-page coverage of which was described as “an exemplary case of… bad science and bad science reporting” – are contradicted by numerous studies and reports from both other acoustics groups and major government health organisations, all of which have so far found no scientifically proven evidence to support claims inaudible low-frequency infrasound produced by wind farms causes illness.

Cooper’s claims are further undermined by his own disclosure that some of his studies of wind farms in NSW, Victoria and South Australia have “been retained and received funding” from residents to undertake the work, as well as funding from renowned anti-wind group the Waubra Foundation.

Cape-Bridgewater-4
Cape Bridgewater wind farm

Complicating matters for the wind industry, however, is that Cooper was actually commissioned by wind energy developer Pacific Hydro – after being nominated by local residents – to undertake the noise monitoring at its Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm “in an effort to identify the basis of complaints from residents that were related to ‘a compliant wind farm’.”

Pac Hydro is now reviewing the review.

Inspired by Cooper’s testimony – and despite his own acknowledgement that the Cape Bridgewater study was not scientific, not health-focused, and did not recommend or justify a change in wind planning regulations – Senators Leyonhelm, Madigan and Back have engaged in some high-level conspiracy theorisation.

“I’m minded of the tobacco company’s 50 years ago testifying to a committee somewhat similar like ours saying cigarettes do not cause lung cancer,” Senator David Leyonhjelm told the Inquiry.

“If I was in your shoes,” Lyonhjelm told Richards, “I would be concerned that in due course there would be a tort liability emerge out of this.”

Leyonhelm – a NSW LDP Senator, whose political views range from loosening gun control to the domestication of quolls – on Friday repeated his plan to give subsidies instead to hydro schemes that were built by state governments decades ago.

“The only losers would be the major wind-energy generators, which are eagerly waiting to build dozens of new wind farms in an effort to meet the target and get on the subsidy gravy train,” he wrote in the Australian Financial Review.

Meanwhile, Queensland LNP Senator Matthew Canavan was summoning the ghosts of green-schemes past, by comparing government support for wind energy to the subsidised “pink batts” insulation program, which was the subject of a Royal Commission after loose practices by some installers resulted in the deaths of four young men.

“Each turbine gets around $300,000 a year from the Federal government. That’s a lot of money. And I’m concerned that this could be Pink Batts in the air, if you like,” said Senator Canavan.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

13 Comments
  1. john 4 years ago

    Infosound

  2. Guest 4 years ago

    The hypocracy is breathtaking.

    Senator David Leyonhjelm compares wind farm developers to tobacco companies from 50 years ago.

    This is the same David Leyonhjelm who accepts donations from tobacco companies, and argues against increasing taxes on cigarettes. This is similar to many of the extreme right wing think-tanks that also fight tobacco controls and renewable energy.

    Meanwhile, Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the Uni of Sydney, and one of the key researchers pushing back against the dodgy science behind Wind Turbine Syndrome, is also one of the key players who has long been fighting for increased tobacco control.

    • john 4 years ago

      Tobacco companies contributing to a person getting into Parliament you are joking honestly.
      One of the greatest killers of mankind after the motor car is making a contribution to a person to represent the electorate astounding.

      • wideEyedPupil 4 years ago

        That’s why the IPA provides a clearing house for donations from tobacco companies to it’s parliamentary wing known as the Liberal Party of Australia. They don’t publicly list donations any more but big tobacco was a major giver last time they listed donations. IPA policy advocacy, i.e. paid in full PR services distributed through their special access to organisations like the ABC reflects the money received.

  3. David Osmond 4 years ago

    The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    Senator David Leyonhjelm compares wind farm developers to tobacco companies from 50 years ago.

    This is the same David Leyonhjelm who accepts donations from tobacco companies, and argues against increasing taxes on cigarettes. Similarly, many of the extreme right wing think-tanks also fight tobacco controls and renewable energy.

    Meanwhile, Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the Uni of Sydney, and one of the key researchers pushing back against the dodgy science behind Wind Turbine Syndrome, is also one of the key players who has long been fighting for increased tobacco control.

  4. Alan S 4 years ago

    Arguing with wind opponents is like herding cats. You follow them in one direction then suddenly they’re off in another: Infrasound, blade glint, embodied energy, foreign investment, bird kill etc. When one’s disproved they’re onto another – mud slinging and grasping at straws all the way. I suggest following the link above and checking some of the daft arguments sent to the Senate enquiry that have been copied straight from the Waubra songbook.
    Also, checking other reports of the study by Steven Cooper: He never claimed to be doing a medical study. He’s well qualified as a noise and vibration engineer but is in no position to determine a link between mechanical systems and reported medical conditions. He looks to have been embarrassed by this.

    • john 4 years ago

      Unfortunately the more ill informed in our community are of the view that Mr Steven Cooper is somehow a medical person.
      The situation is this those who want to find a problem will and stick to the idea that no low level frequency sound was every in the environment before wind farms.
      Oops waves do it wind does it let alone industrial activities.
      We honestly live in the age of stupidity.

      • Alan S 4 years ago

        Indeed – concern about low freq sound seems to have arisen only since wind farms have been developed. I notice that concern about embodied energy has followed a similar timeline.

    • Calamity_Jean 4 years ago

      “Arguing with wind opponents is like herding cats. You follow them in one direction then suddenly they’re off in another: Infrasound, blade glint, embodied energy, foreign investment, bird kill etc. When one’s disproved they’re onto another – mud slinging and grasping at straws all the way. “

      That’s called a “Gish Gallop”, and here’s some amusing discussions of it:
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gish%20Gallop
      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

  5. Coley 4 years ago

    “If I was in your shoes,” Lyonhjelm told Richards, “I would be concerned that in due course there would be a tort liability emerge out of this.”

    If I was in the shoes of the car manufacturers and FF generators then I would be very seriously concerned about future class actions, the blokes a clown, but given he has access to publicity, a dangerous clown.

  6. Beat Odermatt 4 years ago

    No, compare apples with apples. Compare the impact of windmills to coal mining.

  7. David Graham 4 years ago

    What complete MORONS – there is NO causal link between wind turbines and ANY health risks other than the psychosomatic ones caused by simple minded people believing the scaremongers / fossil fuel servants! If the wind turbine was allowed to go about their business as usual, without the interference of arseholes hell bent on the destruction of the environment for a few dollars, there would be NO health problems at all. How much damage does the burning of fossil fuels actually do compared with the fake / perceived damage invented by these “people”?

  8. David K Clarke 4 years ago

    Senators Leyonhelm, Madigan and Back; Australia’s answer to the Three Stooges. They seem to be competing to see who can make the most over-the-top statement about wind turbines.

    I put it down to diabolical wind turbine rays myself: http://ramblingsdc.net/dwtr.html

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.