Lisa Linowes and the Disinformation of Industrial Wind Action Group

Lisa Linowes is the Founder and Executive Director of Industrial Wind Action Group, a group dedicated to “counteract misleading information” and provide “residents, as well as government officials, the information to make informed decisions” about wind energy projects.

However, the organization routinely promotes discredited problems and messengers instead of credible sources.  On their website, the Industrial Wind Action Group links to articles and information from sources whose work is unscientific or has been linked to the fossil fuel industry – rather than objective sources that could help residents and government officials make informed decisions.  According to our investigative research, the Industrial Wind Action Group continues to hype anti-wind rhetoric above reality.

Promotes Discredited “Problems”

Claim Reality
Wind energy installations cause “Wind Turbine Syndrome” by Nina Pierpont Discredited by panel of scientists and medical professionals including a professor of audiology (Expert Panel Review, 2009)
Birds populations are disproportionately affected by wind turbines Most construction including housing and skyscrapers impact bird populations. Wind’s impact on bird populations is much less than traditional energy sources, with coal being the largest risk to wildlife (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, 2009)
The Shadow Flicker caused by spinning turbine blades are causing health problems Expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences found shadow flicker to be harmless to humans (National Research Council, 2007)
Property Values decrease because of wind energy facilities Wind energy facilities were found to have no evidence of widespread impacts on home property values (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2009)

“Experts” tied to the Fossil Fuel Industry

“Expert” Tied to
Andrew P. Morriss

  • Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Institute
  • Senior Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research
  • Mercatus Institute: $1.44 million in funding from 1999-2006 from Koch Industries, a major fossil fuel conglomerate.
  • Institute for Energy Research: over $300,000 from Exxon Mobil since 1998, funding from other coal and oil companies
Glenn Schleede

  • former Vice President of the New England Electric System
  • former Senior Vice President of the National Coal Association.
  • New England Electric System: recently acquired by the National Grid, it is the largest natural gas distributor in the Northeast
  • National Coal Association: now known as the National Mining Association, it represents the coal industry in Washington, D.C.
Robert Bryce

  • Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
  • Former Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research
  • Manhattan Institute: significant funding from the Koch Family Foundations and over $50,000 in 2009 from Exxon Mobil.
  • Institute for Energy Research: over $300,000 from Exxon Mobil since 1998, funding from other coal and oil companies
Robert Bradley

  • Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute
  • Adjunct Scholar, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • CEO and Founder, Institute for Energy Research

 

  • Cato Institute: founded by Charles Koch, CEO and Chairman of Koch Industries, a major fossil fuel conglomerate and supported by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute: funding from the Koch Family Foundations and oil companies including Texaco and Amoco (now owned by BP)
  • Institute for Energy Research: over $300,000 in funding from Exxon Mobil since 1998, funding from other coal and oil companies

Not Fulfilling The Mission

The Industrial Wind Action Group states its mission is to “counteract misleading information” and to “provid[e] residents, as well as government officials, the information to make informed decisions.”  Unfortunately, the sources routinely cited on www.windaction.org spread misleading information and promote fossil fuel talking points through purportedly neutral third party sources.

One Response to Lisa Linowes and the Disinformation of Industrial Wind Action Group

  1. I’m glad to see that you didn’t list noise concerns as being a false claim. For many of those living and speaking up about the downsides of living near wind farms, the turbines’ noise is the biggest problem–moderate noise, yes, but often the loudest thing in a quiet rural soundscape, and therefore experienced as a drastic impact on quality of life. As someone who strongly supports the expansion of wind energy generation as a key part of the “many slivers” approach to reducing greenhouse gas output, I can’t help thinking that a decade from now as many renewable technologies mature, we’ll look back and wonder what we were thinking in placing this these towering machines so close to homes. There are still plenty of places in the “wide open west” (and in ranching communities where the noise isn’t experienced as such an intrusion) where wind farms can be built without transforming local landscapes and soundscapes in ways that disrupt the lives of a quarter to half of the nearby neighbors. For now, this type of wind turbine is one of our only utility-scale carbon-free options (acknowledging that manufacture and constructions has a modest carbon footprint); the way forward is to simply keep them a bit further from homes. How far? Aye, there’s the grey area….a half mile is clearly a bit too close to homes of people who especially treasure their rural soundscape; it’s common to hear of noise issues out to kilometer or so. There are rarely serious noise issues beyond a mile, though in some terrain it may be that this too is cutting it close, especially as turbines grow and produce even more low frequency noise, which travels the farthest. We’ll probably be seeing a period of slightly larger setbacks, and from this we’ll learn a bit more about community responses to the somewhat reduced noise around such projects. For ongoing more nuanced coverage of noise-related issues with wind farms (and noise-related environmental topics), see http://AcousticEcology.org

    Though my focus is audible noise, I have read many of the citations you note in your “reality” column. In some cases, these reports contain well-considered arguments which remain incomplete, or in need of a more nuanced interpretation. The health report makes a strong case about a lack of “direct, causal” health impacts (to quote their careful qualifiers) but neglects to give consideration to indirect health effects of stress or sleep disruption caused by living with the chronic moderate noise. The two larger property value studies find no trend of reduced prices around wind farms, but are primarily considering visual impacts, so include homes out to several miles away; in both cases, the very few homes sold within a half mile or mile show some signs of more price volatility, though the small number leads to a lack of statistical significance. A recent newer study found a moderate price reduction in two counties, but no sign of any decrease in a third, illustrating the community-specific variability in tolerance for this noise source, or perhaps different impact in varying landscapes.

    In general, there are an increasing number of fully qualified professionals, especially acousticians, who are investigating wind farm noise impacts with new rigor, trying to understand why these moderate noise levels are triggering disproportionate negative reactions. Their work is revealing some interesting and important factors to be considered by both the wind industry and local and state siting authorities. Wind energy can and must continue to grow, but to insist on building within clear audible distance of homes without prior agreement is a recipe for un-necessary conflict and increased fear and contention in areas–even totally appropriate areas–where wind farms may be proposed in the future.

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