This narrative was adapted from testimony Mr. Mark Cool presented at the Town of Falmouth's fall Town Meeting. Mr. Cool works as an air traffic controller for the FAA. He lives near an industrial-scale wind turbine erected by the town of Falmouth.
I am Mark Cool. My bedroom is 1629 feet from a 400 foot wind turbine. The work and play areas of my property are as close as 1432 feet from Falmouth's Wind I.
During my last annual FAA flight physical, I reported my accounting of noteworthy physical changes since my last physical to the FAA New England Flight Surgeon.
I explained the pressure headaches and about not being able to get the sleep necessary to perform my air traffic controller duties. In short, the remedy I received was a warning that medications, that may relieve my symptoms, might also disqualify me from performing duties as an air traffic controller.
I was suddenly placed in the position to either tolerate the headaches, get use to the sleep depravation and continue my 31 year career as an air traffic controller, OR take prescriptions that would "down me", disqualify me, force me to retire.
In other words, I could continue to suffer and be an air traffic controller OR, hopefully, feel better and would be forced into disqualification and retirement.
I've chosen to remain being an air traffic controller. Not many people can do the job I do. I am responsible for more lives in a single day than any doctor at Mass General has charge for in a 3 months. The most significant difference now, as compared to before the turbines, I am responsible for the
same lives..only with less sleep. Imagine!
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the true issue is about needing facts to make good decisions. Concrete facts that have yet to be revealed.
The facts of how much clean energy is generated, how many pounds of CO2 is eliminated or how many energy dollars will be saved....has no bearing on what has become an undeniable health issue because of an improperly sited industrial wind turbine. No one knows the true and accurate health answers
without the facts. No facts presently realized, conclude that this is an honest to God health threat in Falmouth. There are no facts because no one wants to do the research.
At a February Board of Health (FBoH) meeting, after listening to concerned neighbors, the FBoH acknowledged possible health related problems stating that "things may quickly proceed from annoyance to sleep deprivation to health effect."
The Falmouth Board of Health officially stated in March 2011 that they needed facts. They've initiated contact with the State DEP and DPH for guidance. They've requested a Falmouth specific epidemiological case study be conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health. They wait on replies... with the neighbors.
One of the BoH members made it crystal clear. Quote - "The bottom line is that we're the board of health and we have to be concerned about the health of the community." End quote.
He further remarked - Residents who live near the turbines did not have the symptoms before the turbines were built, but they do have symptoms now.
No one knows why because the health facts remain uncovered!
Another Fact worth noting. Massachusetts State Legislators have before them this session, five (5) bills that, it is hoped, will ultimately provide the guidance and facts necessary to move toward a public's health concerned state wind energy future. I'm left to wonder why these health considerations are being made only now?
The only thing that can keep noise pollution controlled is awareness and vigilance on the part of everyone.
You can't rely on a town government to stop all illegal noise pollution. If you're a witness to a noise activity not in compliance with law or ordinance, most of us can call the authorities. The police, the health or building inspector comes out, investigates and, more often than not, stops the
When turbine noise and pressure threaten me, my family's health and our ability to sleep, there's no one to call in Falmouth. No one comes out. No one stops the noise. No one stops the pressure in my head. No local authority is on duty to investigate and enforce the noise ordinance on a Wind Power Plant that somehow receives preferential legal treatment.My neighbors in Falmouth have been Aware. We have been vigilant.
Since local authorities don't take calls, don't investigate, don't evaluate our concerns, tired and sick neighbors have called upon our unaffected town neighbors and friends for aid at this past fall town meeting. Bottom line, after being witness to our stories, Falmouth is now aware that the controversy
is a health and safety issue, and that more health facts are necessary to make good future wind energy decisions.
I'm telling this to make one simple point. Ultimately, the health and safety of your family, your neighbor's family, and indeed your community, is up to you, the citizen. What's a healthy, productive, well rested and happy neighbor worth to you? They might be a policeman, a fireman, an EMT, an emergency room doctor or nurse. Or they might be an air traffic controller working your aircraft into Logan.
The issue at hand is basic protection. Citizen or town decision maker, all must ask themselves one rudimentary question. Will the fate of industrial wind turbine siting near residents be dictated by science and health facts, or amounts of clean energy generated, pounds of CO2 eliminated or energy dollars saved? No matter all the other best intentions, what's the value of the your health and well being, your neighbor's, your neighbors family, your community?
Affording a citizen's right to his or her personal health should have no confines or price tag. This vital issue should be judged with the universal conscience of basic community decency, and must be examined with only true and accurate health effect facts.
Mark J. Cool
Fire Tower Rd.