The Conservative Canadian government of David Harper announced this week its will begin a study on the effects of wind power on human health.
The study comes, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports, after concerns over wind development by neighbors have become a major issue in elections in Ontario. Previous studies have not linked wind turbine noise to health problems, says the Ontario Liberal government, which is backing a major renewable energy development campaign.
But critics aren’t convinced. Pierre Poilievre, a member of the Canadian Parliament wants to halt wind development until the federal studies are complete in 2014.
A group of eastern Idaho residents raised many of the same concerns as they pushed a moratorium on wind development unsuccessfully the last two years in the Idaho Legislature. Meanwhile another group of residents from Payette and Washington County raised similar issues about the practice of hydraulic fracturing, where chemicals are pumped into shale deposits under very high pressure to free up natural gas.
The Obama administration, facing the same kind of pressure the Harper government is getting in Canada over wind, started new studies into fracking. The Environmental Protection Agency found two wells with chemicals in Pavilion, Wyo. out of 160 tested.
Fracking critics said the results show its dangers while supporters say it shows something else.
“It is important to recognize what EPA is doing in Wyoming is not isolated,” said Republican Rep. Ralph Hall, of Texas. “They are going after fracking everywhere they can.”
So what does the science say? An independent study done after similar complaints in Massachusetts did not find evidence of health problems from wind.
As for fracking, the EPA said its Pavilion study was limited to the geology in Wyoming and it is doing further studies in other areas. An industry-backed study raised questions this week about the way the EPA is proceeding in Ohio.
But The Casper Star-Tribune reported that the reviews of the studies differed along the lines of groups' support or opposition to fracking.