Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Who's paying to fight AGL wind farms?
9 Aug 2012

Climate Spectator has been provided with an e-mail sent by Sarah Laurie, CEO of the anti-wind farm lobby group the Waubra Foundation, which indicates the Foundation has been using tax-deductible donations to support a court case against AGL Energy's Hallett wind farms in South Australia. According to Australian Taxation Office guidance, this appears to directly contradict the Waubra Foundation's privileged status as a charity for which donations are tax deductible.

In the interests of full disclosure, the e-mail is reprinted in full at the bottom of this article. It opens by thanking recipients for already donating money to support a court case by Bill Quinn.

Quinn is attempting to restrict the operation and development of the Hallett wind farm development for exceeding EPA noise requirements. Climate Spectator understands that Bill Quinn lives around 8 km from the nearest wind turbine.

The e-mail makes the usual claims about there being a cover-up to obscure the evidence of infrasound generated by wind turbines causing health impacts, and asks for further "tax deductible" donations to collect further noise data to aid the legal campaign.

This poses three key questions:

1. Why is the Waubra Foundation funding noise measurements and not epidemiological studies?

If the Waubra Foundation was genuinely interested in identifying whether wind turbines have impacts on health, it doesn't need to do any noise monitoring. Instead, it would be far better served funding epidemiological studies evaluating the statistical prevalence of illnesses amongst people living close to wind turbines versus similar populations that don't live near turbines.

Ideally such studies should be undertaken in regions that have had wind turbines in place for a considerable time period, such as Denmark, so that any subtle long-term effects would have had time to become evident. This was the key tool that identified an unambiguous link between tobacco smoke and lung cancer. Also such studies should be done by independent university researchers at arm's length from the Waubra Foundation, who's board and staff have clearly already made their minds up.

Yet considering the Waubra Foundation's supposed focus on health research, its website does not contain a single mention of it commissioning any kind of long-run epidemiological study by university researchers with expertise in the area. Instead the website is filled with links to press stories and two websites overseas that purport to have found a link between wind turbines and health ailments.

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