Porker award for government study to study other studies

Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation

What the Hell is ‘Shadow Flicker?’

  • Government doesn’t know the cost!
  • Project had no budget
  • Government doesn’t even know who authorized it! 

Here’s our TV ad highlighting this wasteful government spending:

Unknown Amount of Tax Dollars Spent for Study that Determined Wind Turbine Blade Shadows Don’t Trigger Epileptic Seizures

SALEM-Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation’s Executive Director and former State Representative Jeff Kropf announced Petunia the Pork Detective’s first ever ‘Porker Award’ was given to the Oregon Health Authority for a wasteful study to determine if giant wind turbine blade shadows trigger epileptic seizures in humans. The OHA admits they don’t know how much they spent on this study, they didn’t have a budget for it and are unclear who authorized it.

This 134 page ‘Health Impact Assessment’ concluded it was ‘unlikely’ that ‘Shadow Flicker’ would cause epileptic seizures in human beings and was funded by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both of which receive taxpayer dollars.

“Petunia was out on patrol looking for wasteful government spending when she came upon this ridiculous waste of taxpayer resources” said Kropf.  “She knew immediately that anyone with a lick of sense could have figured out that ‘shadow flicker’ wasn’t going to trigger epileptic seizures because virtually no humans live amongst the wind turbines in Oregon. Even a pig could figure that out before wasting tax dollars on this travesty”.

The study also considered whether wind turbine noise could cause health damaging stress in humans, but admitted in their conclusion that they were uncertain of their assessment because of limited or only anecdotal evidence. They’ve had no noise complaints and were unable to assess the frequency or magnitude of noise related health impacts in Oregon.

“This was nothing more than another government ‘make work’ exercise” said Kropf. “Yet, bureaucrats will justify this egregious waste of tax dollars while America runs over a trillion dollars in debt each year. The taxpayers should be outraged!”.

According to the draft report of this HIA, several of OHA’s Office on Environmental Health employees conducted this review of previously published studies and other literature over an 18 month period that included travel around Oregon to hold community meetings. A Health Impact Assessment is a concept adopted by the World Health Organization in the 1990’s and is increasingly being used by state and local bureaucrats to measure the health impacts of policy, programs and projects.

Kropf added “at a time of increasing government costs due to PERS and falling state revenue, you would think Oregon bureaucrats would devote their limited resources to more meaningful activities”.

Watch the full length video report on ‘Shadow Flicker’:

Wind Energy Health Impact Assessment draft report

Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation is a non profit, tax deductible educational foundation dedicated to educating citizens about how government spends their tax dollars and offering common sense ideas for improved government efficiency.

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Posted by at 07:14 | Posted in Government Waste, Oregon Health Authority | 48 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Natta Fig Plucker

    B’dea…b’dea…b’dea….that’s NOT all by any means folks! Howl ’bout dem silk PERS’s mfd from hides token from outside the OEA, AFSCME, SEIU, Arm’nLegislature p’fig pluckerage?

  • Bob Clark

    The wind turbine project developers and owners should be the ones paying for this study if the State is concerned about externalities of wind turbines. Why when I was a government bureaucrat we had natural gas generating plant developers pay for planting acres of trees to offset the perceived negative stigma of the CO 2 emissions of such plants. This state I’ve lived in for all but one year of my 50 plus years is really oddly governed. We have this vast ability to offset all of our carbon dioxide emissions and then some by just taking advantage of our vast forests and other plant growing abilities; and yet we would rather feel guilty and force ourselves into a scaled down version of Mao’s impoverishing cultural revolution.
    Perhaps one day this study might be useful, but it seems more destined to die on the vine given it’s a state bureaucracy and not more a dedicated research institute.

    • valley person

      Mao’s cultural revolution? Feeling the need to go a bit over the top today Bob?

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Windmills are essentially about wealth transfer, not energy generation or jobs. At this stage most would agree on that. However other than the odiousness of ripping off taxpayers with these scams they have generally been perceived as benign, if ugly.

    I used to feel that way as well. I drove up the Columbia Gorge to judge for myself how ugly I thought these things really were, as well as to assess the sound I had heard about.

    OK – They are pretty ugly, but really so is just about any power generation. Are windmills vastly uglier because of the larger foot print of a wind farm as opposed to a power plant? I really couldn’t decide.

    The sound? OK, it was annoying, but I didn’t see it as devastating. Basically I wouldn’t want to live near these things, but I wouldnt want to live next to a power plant either.

    The light flicker thing also seemed to be no big deal on my trip. Annoying, but standing there and experiencing it it didnt drive me nuts.

    However, a couple of weeks ago I saw a documentary on people un upstate NY who were fighting these things. They had all the usual complaints, but then showed a house that was in the shadow of one of these windmills. As far as I was concerned it made the house unlivable. The constantly flashing light would drive you absolutely insane unless you closed all the drapes.

    Look – Let’s be real. Windmills are about transferring taxpayer money to those who can work the scam. They are not an energy solution. What I worry about is in the decades to come the expense of having to tear these things down once the scam runs its course.

    There are some built in aspects to windmills that promises this game will be around a while. Accelerated depreciation, combined with transferability of that depreciation to someone who buys them is one really clever scam these guys have worked out. Eventually though, BS floats to the surface, and windmills are pure unadulterated BS.

    Can I blame OHA for getting in on the game and ripping off the taxpayer for a few more bucks just to get their cut of the pie? Not really. I frankly have a hard time getting excited about people piggy backing what was probably a couple of million dollars onto a multi billion dollar rip off that windmills and most other green welfare programs are proving to be.

    • valley person

      Wrong Rupert, most people continue to support subsidies for wind energy (and other energy) and even want greenhouse gases regulated.


      On wind flicker and noise, these are real issues. but both problems diminish a lot with distance. There is no reason we should not fund studies of these problems, given that we are subsidizing wind development. Its hardly “Pork” to seek information.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        The amount of support for windmill subsidies is in inverse proportion to peoples knowledge of the extent of those subsidies. Trust me – if word got out about how much we are subsidizing you guys in the wind scam those subsidies would probably end overnight.

        • valley person

          If only people were as smart as Rupert they would agree with him.

          I don’t think so dude. Most people know enough about pollution and market failures to support subsidies for clean energy.

          You on the other hand, don’t even seem to know that your own clean energy is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer.

  • HBguy

    Here is an excerpt from an article on http://www.Townhall.com and authored by Paul Driessen, a conservative energy lobbyist:

    Health. Whereas environmentalists garner scary headlines over wildly speculative claims about health dangers from hydraulic fracturing (to extract abundant natural gas for wind turbine backup generators), they ignore and dismiss a growing body of evidence that wind turbines cause significant health problems.Principal health issues are associated with noise – not just annoying audible noise, but inaudible, low-frequency “infrasound” that causes headache, dizziness, “deep nervous fatigue” and symptoms akin to seasickness. “Wind turbine syndrome” also includes irritability, depression, and concentration and sleep problems. Others include “shadow flicker” or “strobe effect” from whirling blades, which can trigger seizures in epileptics, “vibroacoustic” effects on the heart and lungs, and non-lethal harm to animals. Serious lung, heart, cancer and other problems have been documented from rare earth mining, smelting and manufacturing in China, under its less rigorous health, workplace and environmental regulations.To date, however, very few health assessments have been required or conducted prior to permit approval, even for major wind turbine installations. Perhaps the trial lawyers’ guild could redress that oversight.
    So….Is the flicker problem real or a legit concern as expressed by the energy extraction industry? If it is then it’s something the state health authority shoudl be concerned about before we build them all over the place, Or is the flicker phenomonen (Which John Stossel has also cited as an unknown cost/problem associated with wind) just a crazy concern that these extraction industry lobbyists have dreamed up and which the State should have ignored?Maybe the State should have just said, we’re not investigating flicker because it’s obviously just a crock dreamed up by some extraction industry hacks.

    • HBguy

      The part starting with So….. is mine again. I neglected to stop the quote from Driessen.

  • Ryan Chaney

    better to spend the money now and find out that windmills are a terrible neighbour than to live in ignorance and suddenly find oneself in the flickering shadow of “progress”.

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