Bionitiative Report’s findings are flawed regarding GBE

August 20, 2014

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent in response to the July 23-29 guest column “Beware: GBE would create health risks,” by Jeanette Carothers.

As a project manager at Clean Line Energy and someone who has a background in the wind industry and would like to see it continue to grow, I would like to address some of the misleading statements made in the recent article published in The Rock River Times, “Beware: GBE would create health risks.”

This article, published July 23, states that the Grain Belt Express project would “impose health hardships upon residents.” As support for this claim, the author cites a document (The Bioinitiative Report) posted on the Internet by a group of individuals who have expressed concern about extremely low frequency (ELF) fields from alternating current (AC) transmission lines, distribution lines, home wiring, and appliances and radio frequency fields (RF) from mobile phones and similar sources. These ELF and RF fields are of an entirely different frequency and character than the direct current (DC) static fields from a DC transmission line. For example, unlike ELF magnetic fields, the static magnetic field from a DC line is the same as that produced by the Earth itself (which causes a compass needle to point north) and is of lower intensity.

The fact is that none of the studies in the Bioinitiative Report pertain to DC lines, and effects of DC fields are not discussed at all. Because of the differences between AC ELF and DC fields, none of the quotations from the Bioinitiative Report in the July 23 article regarding AC ELF fields are relevant to exposures to DC fields.

Despite extensive research, neither the International Agency for Research on Cancer, one of the world’s leading authorities on cancer, nor the World Health Organization, have found that there is an adequate basis to conclude that DC fields at levels produced by DC lines contribute to cancer or other health effects. See http://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/facts/fs299/en/.

I strongly urge folks to gain a full understanding of direct current technology from nationally and internationally trusted sources. At Clean Line Energy, safety is among our chief concerns as we strive to treat landowners with the utmost respect.

Adhar Johnson
Manager, Clean Line Energy
St. Louis

From the Aug. 20-26, 2014, issue

3 Comments

  1. Landowner

    August 20, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Medical Advice: Doctor or Public Relations Schmoozer?
    08/11/2014

    Clean Line just did something amazingly inept. It tried to shout down the medical opinion of a well-respected, local Missouri physician with canned studies from a Clean Line public relations woman.

    In response to a very interesting article in the Missouri Moberly Monitor where Dr. Dennis Smith was quoted regarding possible health effects from EMF and ELF, Houston-based Clean Line PR gal Adhar Johnson submitted a letter to the editor where she gave her best medical opinion that Dr. Smith’s medical opinion was “misleading.” Johnson’s letter starts out:
    As a project manager at Clean Line
    Energy and someone who is passionate
    about moving the wind industry
    forward, I would like to address some
    of the misleading statements made in
    the recent article published in the
    Moberly Monitor, “Line’s health problems
    brought to light.”
    How does being a project manager at Clean Line qualify this woman to analyze medical information and make recommendations about people’s health? It doesn’t!

    After blathering on citing a whole bunch of studies that she thinks refute Dr. Smith’s opinion, Johnson closes with this:
    I strongly urge folks to gain a full understanding of direct current technology
    from nationally and internationally trusted sources. At Clean Line Energy, safety is among our chief concerns as we strive to treat landowners with the utmost respect.
    Trusted sources? Who’s more trusted than your doctor? Some corporate creature with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Missouri and a Certificate in International Affairs from Washington University whose company stands to make huge profits from building a transmission project?

    I strongly urge Adhar to gain a full understanding that she’s not a medical professional, and EMF is an issue of perception. If people perceive that there is a medical risk from living in close proximity to high voltage transmission lines, then that’s the end of the debate. No amount of additional studies tossed at a fearful public is going to change the mind of a worried mother, or a concerned father. Adhar should have just let it go instead of trying to out-doctor the doctor and question his professional expertise.

    Dr. Smith’s wife strikes back with this recently penned letter:
    The recent editorial by Adhar Johnson, Clean Line Project manager has been expected, and her bias should be obvious. The information provided in the June 6 article, Transmission Line Health Problems Brought to Light, by Connie Duvall, was very careful to address ONLY the types of fields produced by high voltage lines.
    My reputation is on the line in the community in which I live and serve, and the information used was carefully screened for accuracy. Since the June 6th article, additional studies have been uncovered which directly name HVDC lines as the culprit in adverse health effects. The information from the studies repeatedly questions the “trusted” sources quoted by Clean Line Energy’s advocates. This technical information will be used in November to testify before the MO Public Service Commission in Jefferson City.
    (Above Statement by Dr. Dennis Smith)

    Clean Line managers and land developers have been flooding papers in would-be affected counties with their propaganda, touting their passion for wind energy. These power lines have little if anything to do with wind energy as they are not needed to utilize it. Clean Line execs typically implore the public to turn to trusted sources, which is exactly what we want them to do.

    After all, the area of education of the Grain Belt Express (GBE) pushers is business and communications; their expertise is in the art of the deal, how to manipulate statements to their advantage, and how to turn a fast buck. Is this reason to trust them?

    They have determined to discredit Dr. Smith because his research threatens their venture. Along with discounting him, they must also take down the numerous scientists, electromagnetic experts, and doctors who have done countless studies pointing to the harms of this type of EMF exposure.

    Adhar Johnson, Clean Line manager, attended the Randolph County commissioner public meeting where a gentleman emotionally testified of his wife’s oncologist’s admonition that such a power line would necessitate their relocation. In a meeting at Rothwell Park, Adhar told me that the doctor had no business saying that, and then she handed me Clean Line’s go-to documentation of the one out-dated statement made by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there were no known health risks. Much more recently, the WHO has revised their statement and has classified the emissions from these lines a class 2B carcinogen, as has the Environmental Protection Agency. HUD has ruled the lines and towers “a hazard and a nuisance”, and FHA appraisals have to be adjusted to address the effect these lines have on marketability of properties near the lines. The highly respected, non-partisan, U.S. Government Accounting Office expressed many of the same concerns voiced by citizens regarding HVDC lines in its report to Congress in 2008.

    Dr. Smith also discovered the following statute:

    Exercise of eminent domain over private property for economic development purposes prohibited–definition.
    523.271. 1. No condemning authority shall acquire private property through the process of eminent domain for solely economic development purposes. 2. For the purposes of this section, “economic development” shall mean a use of a specific piece of property or properties which would provide an increase in the tax base, tax revenues, employment, and general economic health, and does not include the elimination of blighted, substandard, or unsanitary conditions, or conditions rendering the property or its surrounding area a conservation area as defined in section 99.805.
    Missouri Revised Statutes
    Chapter 523
    Condemnation Proceedings
    Section 523.282
    Our Randolph County Commissioners have welcomed Clean Line GBE to our county for the exact reasons that the statue prohibits and have voiced at public meetings their support for those reasons prohibited in the statute.

    Dr. Smith is trusted in this community as he has been in all communities in which he’s lived. I make no apologies in stating that he has had a stellar medical career, having graduated in the top 5% of his medical class and having received multiple awards and accolades for his single-minded service to his God-given mission in Public Health. He maintains excellent rapport with former hospitals where he has been employed and would be whole-heartedly welcomed back to any of those facilities. Consider also the editorials that have been submitted by the many respected members of the community, your long-time friends and associates who oppose this line. Shall we then trust some wealthy business people whose real passion is increasing their profits, or should we trust scientists and doctors who are devotees to public health and safety? It’s not a difficult choice.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie Smith
    Moberly, MO

  2. Don

    August 20, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I wish to point out that the headline of this article is highly misleading. The Bionitiative report is in no way ‘flawed’. It is, as the writer of the letter takes care to point out, inapplicable since the Bionitiative report does not consider DC fields. As stated, the column to which the letter refers is in error, not the Bionitiative report which is nevertheless highly pertinent to AC distribution systems.

  3. Almost Retired

    August 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Laurie Smith, thanks for the info!! Continue to fight back these types of editorials that Clean Line is sending out to affected counties.

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