Fake Protesters Offered $20 To Stand At Anti-Wind Energy Rally

Written by Rebecca Leber

Most Americans like clean energy. So when conservatives wage campaigns against clean energy initiatives, they have typically resorted to fronting astroturf groups and paying fake protesters to generate noise.

Needing 100 anti-wind protesters by next week and apparently unable to find them, a mysterious firm advertised a “quick and easy $20″ on Craigslist. According to the ad, the only thing the “volunteers” would need to do for their pay is “stand next to or behind the speakers and elected officials/celebrities” at a rally against a wind turbine project in the UK.

View the screenshot (the ad was quickly pulled down after Grist made the catch):

We do not know who is behind the ad, but there is at least one wealthy opponent of windmills in Scotland, since they would obstruct the view of his golf course.

There is nothing new about anti-clean energy and anti-EPA campaigns fronted by corporate interests. Last year, coal groups threw its cash at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing, paying astroturfers $50 to wear pro-coal T-shirts. Wind has faced a particularly uphill battle against corporate interests, with a leaked strategy memo showing conservative think tanks leading an astroturf strategy to take down clean energy, at the same time a lobby group linked to the Koch brothers mobilized to defeat wind credits in Congress.

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


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James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

The strobe effect from wind turbines, when the sun is behind the rotating blades, can cause dizziness, headaches and trigger seizures. Shadow flicker and reflected light from blades can also cause problems. These light disturbances are experienced inside the home as well as outside.

In April 2005, the BBC reported that the owners of a wind turbine near a top security prison (Whitmore Prison in Cambridgeshire, England) agreed to turn the turbine off in the early mornings to prevent possible ‘security problems’ because prisoners were becoming upset by the flickering shadows.

For UK residents (I cannot comment on the situation in the USA) the mere mention that an ‘energy’ company has applied for planning permission to conduct tests to estimate the viability (read profitability) of a turbine installation is enough to considerably reduce property prices within sight and/or sound of the turbines.

Scotland already produces MORE energy than it needs (we have hydro energy), The surplus is sold off so that people in the SE of England can continue to use excess amounts of electricity. I support research into other forms of renewable energy production, but almost anything will be better than the giants which are striding across the landscape, creating havoc amongst the sea creatures who inhabit the seas around the UK and costing billions of taxpayers’ money.

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Professor Peter Styles, Keele University, in the UK, published a study on vibrations from the 60m high wind turbines at Dun Law, Scotland. He found that ‘... when the wind farm starts to generate, even at low wind speeds, considerable infrasound signals can be detected at all stations out to circa 10Km’ and ‘... we have clearly shown that wind turbines generate low frequency sound and acoustic signals which can be detected at considerable distances (many kilometres) from wind farms on infrasound detectors and on low-frequency microphones’. A UK report published in January 2009 describing many of the risks to the general public from wind turbines including noise, light flicker, and accidents involving giant turbines catching fire, shedding blades or parts of blades and throwing large lumps of ice .

The economic argument proves that wind power generated energy is one of the most expensive forms of electricity and survives on direct and indirect subsidies bringing an added cost to tax payers without making a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Wind turbines built on peat-lands (which represent substantial long term stores of carbon which is released if they are disturbed) are therefore counter-productive as they will then release CO2 into the atmosphere throughout the life of that wind farm.

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

A group of turbines produce pulses of sound which cause greater effect when they synchronise. The sound then resembles distant pile-driving, or as one resident put it, “an endless train”. The turbine sound acquires a distinct ‘beating’ character, the rhythm of which is in agreement with the blade passing frequency and this effect is stronger for more modern, taller wind turbines.

Research by a researcher (Dr. Amanda Harry) showed that all but one of the fourteen people living near Bears Down wind farm in Cornwall had experienced increased incidents of headaches, migraines, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, tinnitus, sleep disorders, stress anxiety and depression. Wind turbines are now being built to a greater height and blade span than when the original environmental assessments were made for smaller turbines. It is in anticipation of such changes that ETSU guidance itself called for its own review. Unsurprisingly, therefore, recent research studies have highlighted previously unidentified problems.

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

Off-shore wind farms can also damage marine environments if they aren’t constructed, operated, and maintained properly. In Scotland (my home) wind developers have run into problems when trying to site wind ‘farms’ on land containing peat bog. The carbon released and environmental damage caused by destroying peat bog is significantly worse than any benefit wind energy could provide.

Comments by Maria P. which have been disputed with calls for evidence are actually supported by medical research (which the wind companies attempted to suppress). Wind energy developers measure the audible range of noise, but not the lower frequencies (LFN) – which are sometimes below audible limits. In 2004, the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK commissioned the Hayes McKenzie Partnership to report on claims that LFN and infrasound were causing health effects. Their report noted that a phenomenon known as Aerodynamic Modulation was occurring in ways not anticipated by UK regulations relating to wind farms. The noise and penetrating sound of the rotating blades has been compared to the low thud of base notes from loud music or the sound of a constant helicopter at a distance. While there remains dispute regarding the source and definition of this sound, there is no doubt that residents remain disturbed and distressed by its promulgation.

James Campbell
James Campbell3 years ago

I cannot really comment on the truth of the claim that some people were paid to join an anti wind demonstration in the USA against wind turbines in Scotland & England. What I can say is that we Scots do not need to be bribed to protest against the latest big business, profit-motivated project dressed up as a contribution to our environment. This article refers to the installation of wind turbines in the UK not the wide open spaces of the USA. The proliferation of turbine installations and planning applications for many more are reaching crisis point here. I am no fan of the coal and oil industries, but am aware that unless we are careful there will be a huge price (environmental and human health terms) to pay for putting money into certain schemes (and thereby into investors’ pockets) adjacent to human habitation. I am all in favour of research into replacing our dependency on fossil fuels. However, so called ‘wind energy’ is not all it seems, both in terms of it being ‘Green’ and efficient.

As a doctor, I my primary concern is with human health issues and the impact on health from wind turbines has been noticeably absent from the energy companies literature. Before you rush to reply to this, do your own research into the effects of low frequency sound and strobe effects on human health plus the damage to the environment from installation (which is considerable).

Mary L.
Mary L.3 years ago

Gee... and people are hungry enough to take the money.

Dale O.

Elaine A that is, not referring to Elaine M. who refers to think tanks run by corporate fossils who stand to gain by polluting forms of energy.

Dale O.

Interesting, but hardly surprising.

There are disputes over the bird killing claims of some regarding wind turbines.


Pollution of the environment obviously is no friend of the bird population either. Or destruction of wetlands.

The expression "Oxygen Thief", just where have I heard that before with a missing profile. Elaine used that one as well.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin3 years ago

I would gather 100 of my friends and go there and when the time is prefect, we would open up our coats and show a strong message PRO windmills written on our shirts. Who cares about 20 bucks? The expression of the faces of the organizers would be payment enough!

Paula G.
Paula G.3 years ago

Good grief!