Unprincipled lack of precaution on wind turbines

By |2013-06-24T13:19:58+00:00June 21st, 2013|Op-Ed Articles|6 Comments

Special to CFACT, by Rich Kozlovich.


Jessica Marszelek, federal politics reporter for Australia’s News Limited Network, recently posted an article titled, “Australia: Wind power ‘terrorising’ rural communities.” Some 150 people turned up for a three-hour rally at Canberra’s Parliament House, she reported, to express their concern about the health effects of wind turbines.

The residents from small towns around the country complain that the giant turbines cause “a constant rumbling and pulsing in their heads and a feeling of oppressive anxiety,” she noted. “Everyday farmers” are upset over growing numbers of turbines in their communities.

“Retired Naval electronics engineering officer and beef farmer” David Mortimer receives Aus$12,000 a year to allow these avian Cuisinarts on his land, and 17 more are planned. However, Mr. Mortimer says he now “suffers night-time panic attacks, acute anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus, earaches, headaches and angina-like pains, and his wife has dizzy spells.”

Doctors can’t find anything wrong, but the problems continue, and he claims that he gets “this sensation of absolute acute anxiety, and it feels like someone is pushing an X-ray blanket over me and weighting me down into the chair and I can’t get out.  We’ve got this constant turmoil, constant pulsing in our head, constant rumbling,” he continues, and is afraid the added windmills will kill him and his wife.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh dismissed the claims, saying no international research has confirmed the health impacts attributed to wind power. One rally attendee said there is “not enough research into the effects of wind energy.”

I don’t know whether more research needs to be done – though the dearth of such studies seems unjustifiable – or if these monsters of the skyline really are causing any or all of the health problems these people are suffering. However, there is a monumental lack of consistency in all of this.

These are essentially the same kinds of complaints, comments and anecdotal evidence that the Green movement repeatedly raises over just about every chemical on the market, and every drilling, pipeline and other hydrocarbon development proposal they dislike.

These are the same speculative, anecdotal arguments that prompted governments all over the world to pass anti-chemical regulations such as the European Union’s costly, burdensome and complex regulatory system known as REACH.

In the USA, REACH has inspired the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 ( SCA), which is intended to replace the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), supposedly to “modernize” the country’s chemical laws. In promoting the bill, the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said it would impose “a mandate on companies to confirm safety before chemicals reach the market.”

In short, he wanted to impose the Precautionary Principle (PP), which asserts two precepts.

First, all products must be proven totally safe under all circumstances before they can be used – which is physically and scientifically impossible (and the Greens know it). It’s like demanding that spouses prove they aren’t cheating on their mates; it can’t be done.

Second, even if there is no scientific evidence of harm, everyone should assume there is harm and forbid the sale and use of – well, just about everything.

As one observer noted, with the Precautionary Principle, “no evidence is needed that something is harmful or even could be harmful.” In many cases, no amount of scientific evidence is ever enough to counter the argument that a refinery, pipeline, nuclear power plant or other technology is “not proven safe” beyond all doubt – even if it is “astronomically unlikely” that a particular harm would occur.

“The Precautionary Principle insists that no new technology should be permitted until it can be shown that it will pose no threat to human health or the environment,” environmental analyst Paul Driessen adds, “even if there is no evidence that cause-and-effect dangers actually exist.” This too is impossible.

The PP “focuses on the risks of using chemicals and technologies – but never on the risks of not using them,” Driessen notes. “It highlights risks that a technology might cause, but ignores the risks that the technology would reduce or prevent.”

This brings me to the thrust of my concern. Why aren’t these assertions of adverse health effects from wind turbines – especially from citizens who are receiving royalties for having turbines on their property – just as important as wildly speculative claims by green activists regarding insecticides and other chemicals? Why isn’t the Precautionary Principle being applied in this case?

We absolutely know these monsters are killing at least 573,000 birds every year, including some 83,000 eagles, hawks and other raptors – in clear violation of U.S. laws. Other estimates put the toll at closer to 13,000,000 birds and bats annually. Why are the “precautionary” activists stone-cold silent about that?

Larry Katzenstein, in his chapter in the book Silent Spring at 50, credits Rachel Carson’s work as the inspiration for the so-called “principle.”  The PP can certainly be traced to Europe, where it was first brought up in the context of the 1969 Swedish Environmental Protection Act. That’s probably why the “principle” is so deeply entrenched in the EU, compared to the rest of the world, and was included in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.

As Katzenstein points out, “In the United States Silent Spring’s popularity spurred enactment of key federal laws that embody aspects of precaution regulation: the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; the Safer Drinking Water Act, Environmental Pesticides Control Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act.” The PP may be a European creation, but “it was inspired by Silent Spring, as was REACH.”

Rachel Carson’s real legacy, the Precautionary Principle, has become a potent weapon for anti-technology activists. The problem with regard to consistency get larger as we come to realize that whatever they support is permitted; whatever they oppose violates the Precautionary Principle. They support windmills; therefore there is no violation. They oppose fracking; therefore it violates the principle.

Moreover, as Driessen has observed, eco-activists “never use the precautionary dictum to control regulatory excess, by insisting that regulators refrain from implementing new regulations, policies or energy programs, until they can prove their proposed actions will not harm people, wildlife or the environment.” In the view of activists and regulators, regulations exist to delay, block or destroy things they oppose. The fact that regulatory actions may well cause prolonged energy deprivation, poverty, unemployment, disease, malnutrition or premature death is irrelevant to them.

Returning to where we started: Why do “eco-minded” activists, regulators and politicians fail to use the Precautionary Principle to assess the harmful effects of wind turbines on birds and bats, and thus on insects and other pests that these creatures control? Why do they fail to consider the impacts that constant subsonic noise and vibrations from wind turbines have on human health and welfare? Because these are deliberate oversights!

The hard reality is that the Green movement does not care about facts, wildlife or humans – and logical consistency is totally alien to them. Advancing environmentalism as the secular religion of urban atheists is all that matters. Green elites “know” what is best for all of humanity. The Precautionary Principle is merely another weapon to promote junk science and Hard Green ideologies, in order to destroy every advancement mankind has made over the last 100 years – advancements that have given us better, longer, healthier lives than at any other time in history – and to keep others from enjoying those blessings.

We need to understand that and stop pandering to these misfits. Why is that so difficult to grasp?


  1. Rural Canadian June 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I was thrilled to see this posted here, where I could return a comment without either a Google account or Open ID login.

    According to Wikipedia, “The formal concept evolved out of the German socio-legal tradition in
    the 1930s, centering on the concept of good household management. In German the concept is Vorsorgeprinzip, which translates into English as precaution principle.”:

    It would seem to me that its “globalization” has merely enabled populations worldwide to bear the same negative impacts globally, that had previously been geographically limited.

    Well-informed Canucks of a senior age still refer to this Crusade-supporting, Anti-Scientific-Method killer of freedom and free enterprise by its alternate label of “the Lalonde Doctrine”. A study of Chapter 9. Science versus Health Promotion should explain why:

    As revealed in this chapter, the real objective behind its adoption and deployment (aka “implementation”) by government, no matter what name it goes by, remains the same: “for modifying the behaviour of the population”

    Its deployment against the freedom of every Canadian was entrenched at the Government of Canada’s enactment of the Federal Sustainable Development Act (2008):

    Under the sub-heading Federal Sustainable Development Strategy:
    Excerpt: “9. (1) Within two years after this Act comes into force and within every three-year period after that, the Minister shall develop, in accordance with this section, a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy based on the precautionary principle.”

    Since this time, our “progress reports” have clearly indicated our commitment to self-annihilation, by government decree. Sad, but true. Whig, Tory… same old story.

    Telltale background to Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Act, here:

    Parliament of Canada
    Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
    Meeting No 28
    Monday, April 28, 2008



    Do a Ctrl +F to find and read the “testimony” to this committee that day, from Mr. Pierre Sadik (Senior Policy Advisor, Sustainability Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation). Excerpt:
    “This bill is based on a model national sustainability act that the Suzuki Foundation released in December 2006. When Dr. Thomas Gunton of Simon Fraser University and I co-authored this model, we could scarcely have hoped that it would receive such solid support and that we would find it before committee a scant 18 months after we released that report. For that and for enabling this bill to move forward again today, we have each and every one of you to thank.

  2. J.P. Katigbak June 25, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    There should have a real understanding of perilous consequences of the ideological and philosophical doctrines of environmentalism and democracy (or perhaps demo-CRAZY/de-MOCK-cracy/de-MOB-cracy). I am afraid the situation is very confusing right now, but people like me must never give up that much.

    There have to have meaningful ways to challenge such a worldview as of now. – J.P.K.

  3. ClimateFraudInvestigator June 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    In a Spanish survey they identified 69 bird deaths per turbine annual, in Navarro. Those fatalities are likely to be a mixture of endangered species, wild fowl and migratory species. I don’t imagine Navarro to be a concentrating funnel for transitory birds like the straights of Gibraltar are, so I presume those numbers are fairly representative for large areas of Spain.

    The whooping cranes (N.America) might be the first major extinction of the 21st century and that would be largely due to wind turbines

    • J.P. Katigbak July 1, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Remember, the ideological and philosophical doctrine of environmentalism must be challenged more vigorously before activist ideologues are using foolish beliefs imposed on people like me right now. Take care as always. – J.P.K.

  4. christopher swift June 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    The fact is that psychological issues are real – human beings are not meant to live near structures like this, that’s why they move to the country. Is it really surprising they affects so many people?

  5. Old Khem January 7, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    The entire accusation concerning the deaths of Bald Eagles, while a bad deal, is completely over inflated, down the road and rode away on a toad! You want to shut down a killer of birds, ALL KINDS of winged creatures? Go after the bastards that put up all the Electrical Towers, in the tens of thousands all over the U.S. There ya go! (But that’s ok, right?) I love Eagles and to see a Bald Eagle in flight is Great! Golden Eagles can get Very Large and I have had the opportunity on more than one occasion to catch them hunting. Rabbits, Prairie Dogs… Didn’t have a chance! Lol… But all this “We’re against it so that’s all there is to it” mindset is a real shame. There ARE benefits, many benefits of alternative energy, but to go to sites that feed Conservatives, or Feed Petroleum sell outs, you are NOT going to find a thing that will show you other wise but all the “demons” involved. But it is my experience that these same people swarm to what they want. Not to be bothered with any different thing that would violate their own arrogant bias. Anyway back to the eagles. There is a road that goes way back into a badlands area that like many follow miles and miles of Electrical power towers, and without fail I would always find a number of birds laying under where the lines themselves ran over top. Eagles too, Golden mainly, but there was an occasional bald.

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