Sue Brander is an older woman. In her sixties, I would hazard to guess. She’s a gardener, raises Morgan horses and, in years past, was a “major event” organizer. Sue’s also a professional writer.
Sue lives in a little town in the Mohawk Valley, New York. Right about the center of the state (close to Herkimer, NY, if you know the geography). Hilly, lovely area. Lots of Amish around.
This past winter Sue showed up on my radar screen: I spotted an article she wrote in the Richfield Springs, NY, newspaper, on wind turbines coming to town. It was obvious this woman named Sue Brander was much concerned.
Last week Sue staged a modest “major event” in Stark, a village near her home. She put together a 3-hour conference on wind energy, featuring Gordon Yancey, owner of the Flatrock Inn, smack in the middle of the Tug Hill Plateau (Lewis County, NY). Gordon is worth inviting to a wind conference because his inn is surrounded by 135 (give or take) industrial turbines. The closest being 1000’ away. The Tug Hill turbines went on-line this past January. Sue also had Nick Pressley, owner of an environmental engineering firm, speak about environmental impacts of wind plants. She had another expert address the finances of wind energy, and Dr. Nina Pierpont speak (by teleconference) about health hazards of living close to turbines.
It was a powerful evening, I am told.
Three days later Sue sent out the e-mail, below, about her (adult) daughter visiting the Tug Hill windplant a day after the conference.
I have highlighted a few passages; in particular, the following, which Dr. Pierpont (my wife) tells me is textbook Wind Turbine Syndrome:
"I kept wanting to turn left, because the whole world was turning left…. I got dizzy, and I was dizzy for ten minutes after we left the area."
If you live anywhere near New York State, do what the wind salesmen are always inviting people to do: “Go see for yourself.” The usual invitation runs like this: “Go to Fenner and see for yourself.”
No, don’t go to Fenner, NY, where there are 20 smallish turbines (which, we have reason to think, have their generators turned off much of the time, to cut the noise for this Poster Child Wind Farm). Go, instead, to Tug Hill, and experience those 135 goliath turbines. Go, experience what Gordon Yancey daily experiences. (I have seen Gordon weep in public over the industrial freak show and neurological nightmare he must now live with.)
Go to Tug Hill to see for yourself if you, too, “keep wanting to turn left, because the whole world is turning left.” Or, maybe you’re one of the lucky 80% of the population that doesn’t suffer from inner ear sensitivity (motion sickness), producing the vertigo and nausea this man, Jeremy, describes. I suppose if you’re one of that 80% you can drive away (in a straight line) from Tug Hill and announce, as wind salesmen routinely do, that it’s fine to have wind turbines littering the residential landscape -- that you don’t find them (literally) nauseating and (literally) vertiginous and, hence, everyone should experience them the way you do.
Yes, I have heard this said many times in public meetings in Clinton, Ellenburg, and Brandon, NY. The people who say this go to church on a Sunday morn’ and they lay claim, in addition, to having a functioning brain and, hence, modicum of intelligence. A modicum of morality and intelligence, so they allege.
But as I leave these meetings, I have my doubts. And I think the Leviathan named Almighty Dollar has swallowed them whole.
When I went to the barn this morning, my daughter started in on me about Tug Hill Plateau. "We went for a drive last night," she said. "We went to Herkimer for dinner and Jeremy wanted to go for a ride. We drove up to Barneveldt and stopped for ice cream. Then we went on to Booneville and Lowville.
"Mom!" she exclaimed. "You have to go there! It's awful! Just awful! We can't let this happen here. I've never seen anything so awful. Fenner and Madison are not offensive. These are intrusive and offensive. Jeremy got dizzy. And he was dizzy for ten minutes after we left the area."
She went on and on. There was some wind, but not much. They arrived there shortly before dusk, and stayed for the turnover to darkness, to see the lights. They were there for not more than an hour, perhaps less. She talked about it all the while we cleaned the barn. "You absolutely cannot compare Fenner and Madison to this," she said. "And this is more like what ours will be. You look at the horizon and you see
tips spinning, and you know there are more, just over the next hill. It never ends. It's like having turbines from here to Herkimer."
After we worked horses, I drove Sarah home. Jeremy insisted that I come inside and see the video on his cell phone. "I almost drove off the road," he said. "I kept wanting to turn left, because the whole world was turning left." Jeremy is a crack driver. "I got dizzy, and I was dizzy for ten minutes after we left the area." He pulled out his calculator and asked, "How long are the blades?"
"One hundred thirty feet," I answered. He began calculating the rotor sweep. "They were spinning at sixteen revolutions per minute," he continued. "I counted them. That's 48 blade sweeps per minute. Then he calculated the blade passes per hour. "That's how many times you're going to get strobe flicker if you're in the shadows of these things," he said. "And they give you blinds to stop it? That won't work."
Jeremy is an auto claims adjuster. "Do you know what Diminished Value is?" he asked me.
"Depreciated value?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied. "That's what's going to happen to our property if we can see these turbines. What's the setback from your property line?" On and on. He couldn't stop. The ideas were coming and tumbling over one another.
Many mornings over the past six months, my daughter and I have quarreled over these turbines, as we work in the barn. Her best friend's property abuts mine, and they are getting three turbines. Two of them are behind my property. She didn't want to believe what her best friend's family was doing to us. She just wouldn't hear it.
But she heard Gordon Yancey on Thursday evening. Jeremy stood beside her. They could barely hear, at the back of the Standing Room Only section. But they heard enough to convince Jeremy that they had to go up there and see for themselves. They couldn't stay to hear Todd Schroeter, because Sarah had to go home and check on Grandma. When one of us has to be away, we try to schedule things in a kind of tag team, so somebody looks in on Grandma every two hours. But Jeremy got Todd
Schroeter's message loud and clear last night.
"We have to get our town board members to go up there," Sarah said. "We have to get every lease holder to go up there." We talked about hiring a tour bus. Well, maybe that wouldn't work, especially if they thought Sue Brander was behind it.
"Well, then I am going to make it my personal mission to get The Marshalls to go up there," Sarah said. That's the family of her best friend. "We'll go out to dinner, and we'll drive up there. It's only two hours one way. We left at 6:00, and we were home by midnight. We stopped for dinner on the way. Everybody has to make it their personal mission to get one landowner to go up there and see this."
Finally! We got two more people to listen! I hope there are two more people who listened in house after house in this town, and in every surrounding town. Nothing I told my daughter penetrated. She simply didn't believe it. She believes it all, now.
This e-mail is going to a short list of people. Some of you will want to forward it. You have my permission to forward it to the world.