GateHouse Media investigation: Living in the shadow of wind farms

Wind farms generate clean energy, but living in their shadow has its costs, according to a six-month GateHouse Media investigation.

The report uncovered a litany of complaints and lawsuits from coast to coast. Wind farm developers from some of the biggest energy companies in the world have divided communities and angered residents, some of whom say the giant turbines have ruined their lives.

The turbines create relentless noises, vibrations and shadow flickers, according to some of those living nearby. Developers are accused of operating in secret and using aggressive tactics to obtain land leases. Energy officials call the complaints exaggerated.

The data-rich project was reported by National Data Projects Editor Emily Le Coz and investigative reporting intern Lucille Sherman (a senior journalism student at the University of Missouri). These investigative journalists compiled a list of over 450 families nationwide who spoke before state commissions and in legislative hearings. The reporters also spoke with 70 families and 10 lawmakers, reviewed lawsuits and lease agreements.

What is it like to live near a wind farm? Our project takes you on a journey to understand the lives of those in the shadow. For example, you can experience the flicker created by the turning turbines with our simulation.

See for yourself. Hear from the farmers. Check out the project.

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