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Reynolds Declines Taking Position On Wind Turbine Health Effects

kim reynolds
Katarina Sostaric
Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a proclamation at the Iowa State Fair Tuesday.

One day after she promoted wind energy at the Iowa State Fair, Gov. Kim Reynolds again declined to say whether she thinks wind turbines cause health issues.

There is no scientific consensus that wind turbines have direct negative health effects, but residents living near existing or proposed wind farms have raised concerns.

The Madison County Board of Health is recommending that wind turbines not be built within 1.5 miles of residents’ homes, claiming they have the potential to cause headaches and nausea.

Asked if she would do anything about the board’s actions, Reynolds said she is willing to meet with them and take a look at their data.

“I’m not an expert in it,” Reynolds said. “So I can be a gatherer of stakeholders, take that information and then try to confirm or deny or whatever we need to do with it going forward.”

She added she’s proud Iowa is a leader in wind energy and that it provides economic advantages to the state, farmers and local governments.

Madison County Board of Health Chairperson Dr. Kevin de Regnier said the board heard from many stakeholders, and the board’s position is “there is the potential” for negative health effects from living near wind turbines.

But de Regnier, the only physician on the board, voted against the recommendation.

“I didn’t think the data was strong enough or that there was a strong enough causal link,” de Regnier said.

Earlier this year, Reynolds declined to say if President Trump was wrong when he said wind turbines cause cancer. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley called Trump’s statement “idiotic.”

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter