Wind Turbines in Court: What Are the Issues?

October 3, 2019

By Sherri Lange – MasterResource

The plaintiffs claim that developers built the project too close to their homes and as a result, have created a number of hazards and adverse health effects, including sleep disturbance, annoyance, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, motion sickness, bodily sensations, fatigue, stress, depression, memory deficits, inability to concentrate, anxiety and an overall reduced quality of life. The complaint says that these effects are largely due to the shadow flicker and loud noise that comes from the turbines when they are in motion.

As if the news for wind developers weren’t seriously bad enough: 1200 layoffs at Siemens and Vestas, controlled demolitions of demonstration size, mega size turbines in Scotland, deemed too dangerous to remain in place, planned demolition of another demonstration single turbine in Pickering Ontario, because leaving it in situ is dangerous, and communities all over the world railing against rate payer gouging, toxic homes, damaged health, harmed or dead animals, or even forced displacement. News comes this week of 100 community members from the town of Arkwright, and villages of Cassadaga, Fredonia, Forestville, who have filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Mayville. The suit lists “Arkwright Wind Power,  EDP Renewables, Arkwright Summit Wind Farm LLC, Horizon Wind Energy LLC, Tetra Tec EC Inc., Tetra Tech ES Inc., Tetra Tech Construction Inc., URS Corp, West Inc.,  Fisher Associates P.E., L.S., L.A. of New York, P.C., Fisher Associates, P.E., L.S., L.A., D.P.C., White Construction of Indiana LLC, and any other corporations who may be liable to the plaintiffs.” The plaintiffs are about 60 families and represent 100 persons.

This suit must be more than a little discomfiting, given the general pushback in North America by communities, public health agencies such as Madison IOWA, declaring that wind turbines can cause harm, and arguing for larger setbacks. With Facebook and Twitter ‘pile-on’ news dissemination impacts, we wonder if damage control is even possible. (It is also a piece of bad news for Governor Cuomo, who sees wind and solar as a beacon of “renewables” heaven in ambitious and implausible plans to curb emissions.)  Additionally, the cumulative harm is being documented worldwide, such as by victims in Ontario (Special Report, Health Crisis in Ontario, to the Right Honorable Premier Doug Ford, 352 pages of personal accounts of harm).  (This report contains sensitive material from victims and is not available online. Its process and conclusions will be outlined shortly on the NA-PAW website. A hard copy is set to be delivered to President Donald Trump.)


In this reporting of the far-reaching possibly game changing suit, Legal Council, Ms. Westfall of Syracuse attests:

 “Upon information and belief, the wind turbines are causing such significant problems and/or injuries that residents and property owners, including the Plaintiffs, are continuing to have many difficulties on their properties, real property values have been significantly compromised, and some residents were even forced to leave their homes and/or sell them at a loss; among other damages as set forth in this complaint.” 

Forty-seven turbines were erected in 2018, and since that time promises by the developer that the turbines would not be “noisy,” have proven false. Among the assertions by Westfall, newer more up to date noise studies were not completed, the well-known fierce winter winds off Lake Erie, undue proximity to homes, and noise studies did not take into account ILFN (Infra and Low Frequency Noise). Some residents were forced from homes, lost values or homes.  Westfall notes that “real estate values have been significantly compromised.”

Master Resource noted in a previous article, that the lawsuits would be expected even on this one aspect of loss: property loss. In that post, we noted that Eric Bibler of Save Our Seashore invites us to Google search, wind turbine lawsuit: the result is a staggering ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND (his caps). We correctly predicted that loss of property values, loss of enjoyment and impacts to health would lead the suits.


A brief summary of the near 30 pages of complaints in the 78 pages. You can read the entire submission to the NY Supreme Court, Chautauqua County here.

  • creating a private nuisance, creating a public nuisance and trespassing, with the residents alleging workers entered onto and damaged some properties during construction without compensation for damages.
  • Plaintiffs allege that they own and, therefore, have a lawful right to possess the real property on which they live or own. Plaintiffs allege that the giant wind turbines that defendants have placed around their property results in a trespass by the defendants due to invasion of their land by noises, lights, flickering, and low-frequency vibrations which penetrate their homes, thereby destroying the use and enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ land; among other trespass
  • Damage to water wells, water unfit for consumption
  • Shadow flicker and audible noise
  • Loss of TV reception
  • Possible condemnation of a property due to damage to septic system
  • Appearance of new creeks on the same property that will need to be diverted at a cost
  • Costs must be undertaken to monitor existing and future medical care
  • Loss of business income, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

The lawyer asserts that all plaintiffs are entitled to damages related to the “diminution of property values,” as well as loss of use and enjoyment, forced relocation expenses, and destruction of scenic countryside.

There are of course, many more suits worldwide, but our purpose here is to outline the valuable and clear and precise language of this Arkwright suit, and to focus on the fact that developers must increasingly face the clear list(s) of harm. There will be redress.

A heartfelt plea from a now 12-year-old boy from Arkwright in this video tells us his deep concern about loss of “home”.

“I have spent my 11 years on earth in this town. My parents have worked so hard for the place we have. They’ve made the land that I live on home. And these wind turbines they are destroying it. My grandmother was born and lived briefly not even a half mile from where I live right now. But I just can’t stand the thought of being forced away from my home and my town by these windmills. I went out two days ago and I can’t even have peace and quiet without the sound of bulldozers and cranes.  I don’t want to be forced from my home and I am sure none of you would like to be forced form yours. Thank you.”



New York’s ambitious plans to achieve 70% renewables by 2030, are well known. This is “pie in the sky” factoring. You can cover New York with turbines, and solar panels, and still have a minor percentile of energy. Multiples of useless machines only continues the stagnancy. Please remember to factor in parasitic power use by turbines, the magnitude of fossil fuel use to maintain and operate, and clean the blades, and back up power 100% of the time, and you may have a larger sense of the utter hollowness of this claim. “The state has set ambitious targets for renewable energy, but it received less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind and solar last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.”

(The push to pepper the east coast with turbines added to the intense interest of international players, is now under way, but that is being met with fierce opposition. We will write about Vineyard Wind shortly. Its prognosis is, as one wrote, very much, “in doubt.”)


Small towns, communities are reshaping zoning and setback ordinances, protesting, challenging the injustice in the courts. It is, after all, a robbery. And all the actions matter:  each deliberate step away from the lies of the wind industry. Clearly the voices of dissent are louder, more effective, and more cohesive. The hollow calls of the industry that we must move to “renewables” as a “climate decision,” a health decision, an environmental decision, no longer have currency.  It (wind power) is likely the largest scam of the modern age, and sadly a gift that will keep on giving, as clean up of landfills, water wells, and degraded communities, homes, and lives, continues. We wish the people of Arkwright, and villages of Cassadaga, Fredonia, Forestville, God Speed in their suit.

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  Edmund Burke.


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