According to a 2014 report from the National Institutes of Health, researchers found “that when sited properly, wind turbines are not related to adverse health"

By Maria Pasquini
April 04, 2019 05:14 PM
President Donald Trump
Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump made a very bold — and very wrong — rebuke of wind power earlier this week.

During a fundraiser for the Republican National Congressional Committee on Tuesday, the president, a longtime skeptic of alternative energy, claimed that the noise produced by windmills “causes cancer.”

“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer,” he said.

Although there is no evidence to suggest a link between the noise generated from wind turbines and cancer, USA Today pointed out that some critics have linked wind farms to “annoyances that could disrupt sleep, induce headaches or even cause mild nausea.”

However, according to a 2014 report from the National Institutes of Health, researchers found “that when sited properly, wind turbines are not related to adverse health.”

The following day, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a leading Republican and supporter of wind energy, spoke out against Trump, telling reporters the president’s comments “were, first of all, idiotic,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Although Grassley did criticize Trump, he went on to say he believed the president’s comments, which did elicit laughter from the crowd, were “tongue in cheek.”

Politico also reported that Grassley, who went through the 1970s energy crisis, said he’s “going to give [Trump] some leeway when he criticizes alternative energy.”

“I’ve lived through it, he never has,” Grassley said.

Iowa is the leading producer of wind energy in the United States. According to the Iowa Environmental Council, it was the first state to generate more than 30 percent of its electricity through wind power.

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President Donald Trump
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When asked by reporters whether there was any truth to the president’s comments about wind turbines and cancer, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp said she didn’t “have an answer to that.”

Additionally, although Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds acknowledged how important wind farms have been to her state’s economy, she said it’s “not my place” to contradict the president.

“You know how those things change,” she said, according to the Register. “One year, coffee’s good for you. The next year, coffee causes cancer.”

Prior to his speech at the NRCC, Trump spread false claims about windmills in Michigan last week.

“If Hillary got in … you’d be doing wind,” Trump said during a campaign speech, according to Vox. “Windmills. Weeeee. And if it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night. ‘Darling, I want to watch television.’ ‘I’m sorry! The wind isn’t blowing.’ I know a lot about wind.”

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Slamming Trump, Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University told Newsweek that the president’s comments represented “malicious ignorance.”

“The truth is that a combination of wind, solar and other renewables, along with battery and smart grid technology, can provide continuous and abundant electricity,” Mann said.

Trump’s disdain for windmills predates his time in office.

In 2012, he railed against offshore wind turbines near the Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, saying that they would ruin the views, according to Politico. OVer the years, Trump has tweeted at least 60 times about the project.

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He has also repeatedly contended that windmills are responsible for the deaths of many, many birds.

“They kill so many birds. You look underneath some of those windmills, it’s like a killing field,” he said in 2018 at a private fundraising event in New York, according to Newsweek.

Trump even suggested in a 2012 tweet that wind farms caused “the ‘programmatic’ killing of bald eagles.”

However, according to a 2009 study, wind farms don’t actually kill that many birds.

The author of the study estimated that while wind farms killed about 7,000 birds in the U.S. in 2006, nuclear plants killed approximately 327,000 and power plants utilizing fossil fuels were responsible for the deaths of about 15.5 million birds.

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