2012-05-10 / Letters to the Editor

Turbine syndrome is not actual health risk

It is up to each person to form their own opinion about the wisdom of a wind turbine next to the Newport Bridge, but last week a letter was published (“Many health problems can arise from turbine,” May 3) in the Jamestown Press citing the dangers of “wind turbine syndrome” – a term coined by discredited author Nina Pierpont.

It pains me to even lend credence by responding to such nonsense, but lest readers be confused, there is no credible evidence that a wind turbine has any affect whatsoever on the health of nearby residents. Nina Pierpont has a good agent trying to sell books, but rest assured, there is no such thing as wind turbine syndrome.

Now if we want to discuss health hazards, perhaps we should examine the largest source of air pollution in the northeastern United States: Can you identify it?

According to the Conservation Law Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, it kills over 100 people a year, causes 30,000 asthma attacks, and adds over $750 million a year to our regional health care costs: Can you identify it?

It is “local” – especially if you live on the North End. It is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in all of New England and New York, it releases extraordinary amounts of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter and mercury into the air just 10 miles from the McMansion district of Jamestown on East Shore Road: Can you identify it?

Perhaps those objecting to sustainable energy for Jamestown should consider the cost of the alternative to the alternative, which is where you get your electricity now: Can you identify it?

The town of Jamestown currently spends upwards of $300,000 a year to purchase electricity. That amount comes straight from your property taxes. A turbine would not only eliminate that cost, it would put money back into the system.

Those concerned with maintaining the rural character of our island would be better served to demand that the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority switch off the tacky lighting. The necklace lights – all 146,000 watts of them – were supposed to be reserved for special occasions. Somehow, they are on every night year-round, virtually destroying the rural character of our night sky. Say what you will about a wind turbine, it is nothing compared with the same lighting system as is on the Triborough Bridge in Manhattan.

It is best to leave emotion out of the equation and look at numbers when considering wind energy for Jamestown. The current source of electricity – Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset – burns over 10,000 tons of imported coal each day. The cost of that electricity when added to the degradation of your health needs to be carefully considered.

William Tuthill

Stanton Road


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