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Forum to Explore Public Health Impact of Wind Energy

Studies have shown positive public health and climate impacts from wind farm development. (Mike Mareen/Adobe Stock)
Studies have shown positive public health and climate impacts from wind farm development. (Mike Mareen/Adobe Stock)
November 14, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A public forum coming up in Buffalo next week takes on the impact of rapidly expanding wind energy development on public health.

The forum, sponsored by a coalition of clean energy, environmental and scientific groups, will feature a panel of experts in an open dialogue on the effects that wind farms can have on human health.

According to panelist Jonathan Buonocore, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health's Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment, outside the range of vibrations, there are no known negative health effects of living next to a wind farm, but there are some real benefits.

"It offsets the use of fossil fuels and fossil fuel produces carbon dioxide, methane and all kinds of other air pollutants that do lead to actual, known health impacts," he points out.

The Western New York Wind and Health Forum takes place Nov. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University at Buffalo.

Free tickets are online at wnywind-health.eventbrite.com.

Buonocore co-authored a study on the health and climate benefits of renewable energy nationwide.

He says installing wind power in the upper Midwest and the Great Lakes region would also have positive health impacts in New York.

"Some of these benefits that are occurring from installing wind there are occurring in the Northeast, just because they're downwind of those coal-fired power plants," he points out.

The study found that installing 3,000 megawatts of wind power in the upper Midwest could have health and climate benefits totaling as much as $2.2 trillion.

While the measurable benefits of wind energy vary across different regions, Buonocore notes that every region would see positive impacts from the development of wind, utility-scale solar and rooftop solar energy.

"The Northeast ends up being in-between some of these areas of high benefits and some of the areas of lowest benefits, like the Southwest and California,” he explains. “So, New York and the Northeast land in the middle."

The Wind and Health Forum is being sponsored by the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, New Yorkers for Clean Power, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY