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Don't Let Us Get Sick, Oregon, and the Election of 2010

By Paul Faber
Opinion | October 30, 2010

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - Since the possibility of an industrial wind operation in Ellis County, Kansas, became a real possibility, I have been among those who have been very concerned about placement of these 400 feet tall tower and blade assemblies. The experience of a significant number of people living near industrial wind operations elsewhere has been a bad one. Though many people are not affected by the audible noise and the inaudible low frequency waves of pressure, a significant number of people suffer health problems from living too close to a turbine.

Warren Zevon, to my knowledge, though he commented on US foreign policy, werewolves, and headless Thompson gunners, never got around to singing about industrial wind turbines or the election of 2010. Of course, he died of cancer in 2003; maybe we shouldn't hold it against him.

But his prayerful plea, "Don't Let Us Get Sick," which continues with "don't let me get old / don't let me get stupid, alright," seems designed particularly for the election of 2010. Stupidity seems to be more infectious than H1N1 this year, and in Ellis County, at least, there do not seem to be enough doses of the vaccine to go around.

A candidate for the County Commission in Ellis County, the one likely to win, argues that property rights are the most important thing in the world -- except for the American flag, of course -- and therefore, if a property owner wants to launch something from his property that has a significant chance of doing harm to the property or health of someone next door, he has every moral right to do so, and the law should be changed to reflect that. Perhaps we should correct Robert Frost and say that "good bulletproof domes make good neighbors."

The application to industrial wind turbines is obvious: this candidate believes that if a turbine is located on person A's property and causes person B to suffer from wind turbine syndrome, that is B's tough luck. The county, on this line of thinking, should not try to protect person B. Maybe, just maybe, the county will help us all learn the words to "Don't Let Me Get Sick."

Or, of course, we could vote for the other candidate. He is more open to considering the harmful health effects of industries.

Nationally, too, there are some alarming symptoms. Forgetfulness seems to be one of the big problems, as large numbers of people forget that a Republican administration and Congress got us into the worst economic mess since the Depression and think that putting the matches back in the hands of the pyromaniacs is the best way to put out the fire.

Oregon, however, can give us a little hope. After actively encouraging industrial wind projects, the state is now concerned about the health effects of the industry and announced last week that it will conduct a study.

So this song goes out to Ellis County with Zevon's plea coming from your neighbors: "Don't Let Us Get Sick."

Thanks, Mr. Zevon.


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