State hires fox to guard henhouse

Your Tax Dollars At Work: the state of Vermont is offering $50,000 to a prominent anti-wind advocate to study the noise effects of wind turbines.


VPR had the details in a curiously understated article whose title, “State Funding for Research Into Turbine Noise Sets Stage for Vermont’s Next Wind Debate,” utterly fails to communicate the substance of the piece.

Which is this: in the late stages of this year’s legislative session, somebody slipped a $50,000 appropriation into the budget. The money goes to Lyndon State physics professor Ben Luce to buy sound-monitoring gear that he’ll use to study turbine-generated noise.

Fine so far. But Luce is a notorious critic of wind energy, having called ridgeline wind “a tragedy of inconceivable dimensions.” He sits on the board of Energize Vermont, a leading anti-wind organization.

And you say he’s going to be objective.


The Luce grant bears the fingerprints of Sen. John Rodgers, the pornstached leader of anti-wind forces in the Legsiature. When asked about the appropriateness of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite a biased advocate’s research, he responded:

“Well talk about the fox guarding the henhouse – who have we depended on so far?” Rodgers says. “We’ve depended on experts hired by the wind industry.”

Which is a big fat dirty stinkin’ lie, spelled L-I-E. Some research has been funded by wind interests, but it’s been carried out by academics with no ax to grind. And a lot of the research has had no direct connection to the industry.

And the scientific consensus is just as clear as it is for climate change: the noise effects of wind energy are somewhere between minimal and nonexistent.

But hey, I’m sure Professor Luce will come up with something. Maybe he’ll even thank you, the taxpayer, for your unwitting contribution to his “research.”


6 thoughts on “State hires fox to guard henhouse

  1. Brooke Paige

    Why we are wasting the money to find out what everyone already knows ? The gigantic industrial wind turbine blades emit sound, vibration and optical strobing that, at best, is extremely annoying to those who live in close proximity to the facilities AND at worst create substantial emission that dramatically effect the humans and wildlife that share the same habitat.

    Of course all of this has become irrelevant as the wind advocates and their promoters at the State House have now been forced to admit that constructing these wind industrial facilities (as well as their industrial solar counterparts) will not help to mitigate “global warming” and are being promoted as a way to bring employment to the state, a kind of 21st century WPA program!

    The obvious conclusion is that, with intent and forethought, they are despoiling our ridgelines, meadows and valuable farmland to construct economically and ecologically ineffective power generation facilities that either annoy and distress OR create significant health concerns for those living in close proximity.

    Talk about a deal with NO upside!

    H. Brooke Paige.

    postscript – It was interesting to see Sue Minter “dance” around this issue as she tried to promote “green energy” as an job creator while acting as if all the destruction left in its wake was somehow – No Big Deal !

    1. Sue Prent

      JV, I suspect the truth lies somewhere between yours and Mr. Paige’s positions; but absolutes are the flavor of the century, so we are making little progress in the arguments.

      Sue Minter’s “dance” is a practical reflection of that simple reality. The fact is that local input to siting considerations should be honored; that there are legitimate reasons to challenge arbitrary sitings; but non-professional judgements about matters of science, coming as they will from many places of emotion, self-interest and genuine issue, cannot be allowed to hold absolute sway over the greater good as determined by qualified and unbiased professionals WHOM WE TRUST. She is simply demonstrating her understanding that this is not an issue with a single overarching truth to support.

      You are absolutely right that publicly funding Mr. Luce’s quest for results he has already anticipated in the strongest hyperbolic language) is a disservice to both sides of the argument, as it is more likely to further contribute to the atmosphere of distrust than provide evidence that will resolve the issues.

  2. Mark Trigo

    The reality is that there are only a couple of people that have raised a substantive complaint to the towers that have already been built. If the anti-wind crowd was correct, we should have seen hundreds of people sick by now. But that hasn’t happened.

    There are plenty of studies to suggest that this is a largely psychological phenomenon. Our experience in Vermont seems to back this up. A couple of people believe that they are sick, and 99% are just fine.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      THere was a study done in Australia that showed a strong correlation between cases of “wind turbine syndrome” and similar maladies on one hand, and anti-wind protests on the other. If a wind farm did not spark protest before its construction, nobody reported any ill effects. If there were protests, then there were complaints.

      That strongly suggests a psychological dimension.

      1. purslane

        The “nocebo” theory to discredit victims was first promulgated by Simon Chapman of the University of Sydney (Australia) School of Public Health. It is easily dismissed itself. For example:

        wndfo-dot-net slash nocebo
        wndfo-dot-net slash chap12

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