From the “Circular Logic” department, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency responded to my rulemaking Petition, looking for them to set wind turbine noise standards, specifically infrasound standards:

Overland – MPCA_Petition for Rulemaking

Overland – PUC Coerespondence re: Petition for Rulemaking

And here’s the response:

20169-124844-01_Letter_MPCA Commissioner Stine_9-12-2016

The bottom line… the full letter:

After consulting with colleagues at the Minnesota Departments of Health and Commerce, I have concluded that the current understanding of wind turbine noise and its potential effects is insufficient to support rulemaking at this time.  Discussions will continue among the agencies listed above, and we will monitor the science (as resources allow) to inform our decision about rulemaking in the future.

Right…  And note there was no consultation with the Environmental Quality Board.

On to the next step.  It never ends.

For more info, check the video of testimony of Rick James, INCE, at the Goodhue Wind Project public hearing:

Rick James testimony for Goodhue Wind Truth

And prefiled testimony:

testimony of Richard R. James, INCE, for Wednesday’s hearing over in Goodhue:

Direct Testimony – Richard R. James, INCE

A must read:

The “How-To” Guide to Siting Wind Turbines to Prevent Health Risks from Sound

And this was published earlier this month:

Wind Turbine Noise – What Audiologists Should Know


In yesterday’s STrib there was a Commentary written by Dr. Gary Carlson, of Northfield.  He gave a very accurate impression of what it is to go to a Rice County Planning Commission meeting.  FRUSTRATING!  To put it mildly.  He also has started digging into health impacts of wind. He’s put himself out as a canary:


Here’s his Commentary:

Gary Carlson: Wind energy’s ripple effects

Once I learned how turbines can affect people, I had to speak up.


I just returned from a meeting of my county planning committee, where we debated the pros and cons of our neighbor’s proposal to put up two 400-foot wind turbines, with the closest about 1,300 feet from our property line. My family lives on a bluff on the edge of Northfield. I cannot sleep. It was my first contact with any kind of city or county planning, and the four-hour meeting was surreal. But let me step back and provide the background to this story.

I am an integrative physician who mainly works with patients suffering chronic problems. Often, they have seen many traditional doctors who have not been able to help them; they come to me as a last resort. They have “functional problems” — irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia. Often their doctors “can’t find anything wrong” with X-rays, blood tests or biopsies. But nonetheless these people are sick. Many of them are very sensitive to environmental stimuli, probably as an adaptive reaction to their chronic problems.

So back to the wind on the bluff. I also fancy myself an environmentalist. We placed a geothermal heat pump in our house 12 years ago when most people didn’t know what they were. I regularly walk the 6-mile round trip to work to save on CO2 emissions. So six weeks ago when we heard about the plan to put up these turbines, I was a little ambivalent. My brother, who lives nearby, didn’t like it. I have always liked wind power, and though I didn’t really want such large structures in my morning sky, I kind of let it go.

Then I got hit over the head. I was reading the New York Times and came upon an article about multiple lawsuits against wind farms all over the United States because of health concerns, and I said to myself, “What health concerns?” Three hours of intense Internet research later, I was shocked.

I know environmental sensitivity; these are the patients I take care of every day.

The last four weeks have been a blur. Getting up to speed on the science of sound and the medical research related to wind turbines has been exhausting, and in the process I have discovered the dark medical underbelly of industrial-sized turbines. They produce a lot of infrasonic and low-frequency noise. You don’t hear it, but it can make you sick. It is hard to put a number on how many people are affected, but some experts suggest that 15 percent of people living within one-half to one mile of one of these turbines will develop some sort of symptom. Sleep disturbance is the most common problem. If you are old, or young, tend to get carsick easily, or have a chronic medical disease, you are at higher risk. Some are affected so severely that they have to move.

Minnesota’s wind turbine setbacks are ridiculously outdated, although the Public Utilities Commission is trying to catch up. Some European countries have listened to their citizens and have moved setbacks to between half a mile and a mile. We listen to the big wind energy companies and are stuck around 500 feet.

There were five wind projects on the docket at the planning meeting, and I kept standing up with my two minutes of time for each of them trying to educate about infrasonic noise and about why we need to protect people with these setbacks. I think they thought I was a madman. I felt like a canary in the mine yelling, “Please, please — we can have wind turbines, but don’t place them closer then one-half mile from residences, or these people, especially vulnerable people, will get sick!”

We lost four and tied one (tabled for now). I felt devastated.

But don’t count me out, because this canary can still sing.

Gary Carlson is board-certified in family medicine, holistic medicine and medical acupuncture. He works at the Allina Medical Clinic in Northfield and the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at the Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Live from the PUC!

February 1st, 2010

Except that now there’s a delayed start, we’re missing a Commissioner…

Here’s some notes, we’re taking a break — I’m missing some parts, but here we go:

February 1 ROUGH notes

OK, the “ROUGH notes” are their in toto, but hey, I’ve got something better:

HERE’S THE MEETING – February 1 Agenda Meeting

You may have to download “Silverlight” to view the meeting.

9:30 a.m. on February 1, 2010

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101

Remember the PUC’s docket that they opened after release of:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

Apparently they’re looking at doing something — and here’s what the staff Briefing Papers say:

Staff Briefing Papers – Feb 1, 2010 Meeting

Here’s how staff defines the issue before the PUC:

Should the Commission find that current permit conditions regarding setbacks remain appropriate and reasonable in light of recent concern and the Minnesota Department of Health’s White Paper, Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines?

And here’s the bottom line, what staff thinks should happen:

Staff recommends that the best approach to mitigate the issues discussed above would be comprised of two modifications to our current process.
1) Increase setbacks from non-participating landowner residences
a. Continue to use the existing 500-foot or noise standard residential setback (whichever is greater) to allow participating landowners to maximum their land use.
b. Increase the setback required from non-participating landowner residences to 1,000 feet or the state noise standard (whichever is greater) or some other number deemed appropriate by the Commission.
2) Require additional information from developers during the siting process to provide accurate and specific information to the Commission on the impacts of the project. Staff will continue to work on refining the specifics of these requests, additional information is anticipated to be (at a minimum, but could be subject to change):
a. During the application process:
I. noise modeling report (at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area;
II. if flicker is to occur on non-participating residences, shadow flicker modeling report, indicating anticipated maximum;
b. Preconstruction (submitted at time of final site layout):
I. final noise modeling report of final layout and noise monitoring proposal (both at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area;
II. final shadow flicker modeling report;
c. Post construction:
I. noise monitoring reports of the development (at different frequencies and at various distances from the turbines at various wind directions and speeds) throughout the project area.

To check out the whole docket and look at the various comments, CLICK HERE FOR PUC SEARCH PAGE , then scroll down a bit to the “Search” button and below that enter 09-845 and then click “Search.”  Voila, there it all is!

So, be there or be square.

9:30 a.m. on February 1, 2010

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101


Failed Suzlon turbine scattered on Minnesota snow

The PUC’s Wind Investigation looking at the MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines report and setbacks is moving forward. Here’s the report that apparently got them thinking:

MN Dept of Health – Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

The initial Comments are in.  To see them:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on eDockets
  3. Search for Docket 09-845

Reply Comments are due October 13th, and you’ll find reminders here!