In January 2012 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published their literature review of the health impacts of wind turbines; a large part of that review was based on the 4 studies of Pedersen, Pedersen, van den Berg and Shepherd. Shortly thereafter, Raymond Hartman published a short and scathing critique about it, which I posted on (but didn’t really critique the review myself). I subsequently mentioned the DEP review again in part 3 of my critique of Simon Chapman’s “17 Reviews“, where I went into more details about the 4 studies.
Hartman Strikes Again
In June 2013 Hartman released a larger critique of the DEP review, going into more details why he considers the study to be nothing more than junk science. The main thrust of his critique is that the DEP review went out of its way to misrepresent what those 4 studies actually said. And I’m being kind with the use of the word “misrepresent”. Anyone who read those studies and accepted what they actually reported could not have come to the same conclusions the DEP panel did. This is not a matter of interpretation – no amount of “interpretation” can span what the studies said and what the DEP concluded, unless we’ve gone Through the Looking Glass, or Newspeak has arrived.
The body of Hartman’s critique runs 25 pages, with the remaining 35 pages listing Hartman’s CV. It is a very readable 25 pages so I urge you to look through it. His conclusions are listed in table 1 on page 5 and he starts the details in Section III on page 8. While I’ve previously looked at 4 of the studies the DEP depended so heavily on, his critique includes a 5th (Pedersen and Larsman) that was only briefly mentioned and that I did not include. He runs through them, producing non-cherry-picked quotes that give the lie to the DEP’s conclusions. He also is highly critical that the DEP was satisfied with a literature review, when they had every opportunity to go out into the field and practice some real science for a change.
Here’s the bulk of his executive summary on page 1, and everything he says is then backed up in the following sections.
“…I conclude that the purported “independent expert panel” was not independent. It was no more “expert” than scientists whose research was dismissed or marginalized by the Panel. The Panel and its staff conducted no independent primary scientific research, even though it recognizes how such research should be conducted and it had ample opportunity to sample nearby, highly relevant, Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) installations in the Commonwealth and in New England. It dismisses or marginalizes a significant body of research conducted by scientists with credentials as good as, or better than, the credentials of the Panel members. Instead, the Panel relies upon a very limited number of research articles and after doing so comes to very strong conclusions. That in itself is questionable scientific practice. More importantly, the Panel misstates the full context of the research upon which it relies.
I conclude, therefore, that the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study conducted by the Independent Expert Panel and presented to the Massachusetts DEP in January 2012 is biased, inaccurate and a fairly transparent mischaracterization of the existing scientific research. It cannot be relied upon to support the contention that IWTs have no impact upon the health and well-being of neighboring residents. The report has little scientific merit.”