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Oregon health division to investigate turbine noise claims

UNITED STATES: A state agency in Oregon is to look into claims that wind farms have caused ill health.

Wind farm noise has proved a big issue in Oregon. This summer developer Caithness was accused of offering residents cash to keep quiet about potential noise from its planned 845MW Shepherds Flat project near Arlington.  The project will become the largest onshore project in the US.

The Oregon Public Health Division said it will review studies and hold three "community listening sessions" to hear from residents in LaGrande, Pendleton and Arlington.

The sessions will feed into a health impact assessment, which the division describes as "a tool that provides decision makers with information about how a policy, programme or project may affect people’s health".

The agency plans to circulate surveys to residents. It said it will form a steering committee with developers, residents, the state energy department and the state energy facility siting council.

As of 2009, Oregon has a wind capacity of 1,758.1MW, of which 691MW was added that year.

Earlier this year a panel of doctors and acoustics professionals concluded that wind turbine noise is not harmful to human health, in a report for the American and Canadian wind associations.

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