12/17/08 D is for Dear Legislators: How much do you know about this issue and how do you feel about turbine siting reform?
December 8th, 2008 near the town of Byron, Fond du Lac County, WI
UPDATE: JANUARY 2009: Email, phone calls and visits to your legislators will help you know just how informed they are about this issue and where they stand on the upcoming turbine siting reform bill.
Who are your legislators: Click here to find out who they are and how to contact them.
This letter was written shortly after an editorial appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal in support of giving the PSC siting control.
D is for Dear Legislator
We hope you were as disturbed as we were by the recent editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal which dismisses the hard work done by the local governments in your district to create and adopt large wind ordinances to protect the health and safety of our residents.
The Wisconsin State Journal's characterization of work done in the County of Trempealeau and in six Wisconsin townships as a product of the "disease of NIMBYism" is unfortunate.
NIMBY is an acronym for Not In My Back Yard, and is a name often used by the wind industry and lobbyists for anyone who brings up the known health and safety issues associated siting industrial scale wind turbines too close to homes. It's a tiresome word, but there are worse words for those who put profit and political concerns over those of human health, safety, and welfare.
We need a renewable energy plan, but not one that endangers our most important non-renewables, our health, our families, and our homes. Setbacks and noise limits are the issue here. 400 foot tall turbines sited 1000 feet from our homes is just too close.
As you know, there will soon be a push for wind turbine siting reform which may supersede all local wind ordinances and mandate the unsafe 1000 foot setback endorsed by the Public Service Commission.
There is concern among residents in your district that you may support this reform.
There is concern that when it comes to this issue, you may support over-turning ordinances created and adopted by our local elected officials and handing this power to the unelected officials at the Public Service Commission.
Six Wisconsin townships have adopted ordinances with a setback of 2640 feet which provides much better protection for the health and safety of residents than the state’s recommendation of 1000 feet.These rdinances allow neighbors and landowners to sign a waiver and have turbines sited closer if they wish, but it provides protection for those who want it..
We hope you and your staff will take a moment to review the wind ordinance recently adopted by the Town of Union.
The findings regarding Health and Safety are right up front.
After 22 months of work and over $40,000 in legal fees, the Union ordinance is considered by many to be the best in the state. Its 2640 foot setback is solidly researched and grounded in scientific and medical data.
Unfortunately, an open records request to the PSC revealed there was not a single piece of medical or scientific data to support it or explain the states recommendation of the 1000 foot setback.
The state’s setback may be quite profitable for wind developers and help the state meet the mandated RPS standards faster, but our local elected officials have found it's unsafe for residents.
Recently, the draft model wind ordinance was pulled from the Wisconsin.gov website. No one at the PSC seems able to say who pulled it and why and when this decision was made. At this time, it does not appear that the state of Wisconsin has any large wind model ordinance at all.
If you support wind turbine siting reform, can you tell your constituents exactly what you are supporting?
Can you tell us what to expect in terms of setbacks, noise limits, shadow flicker, ice and blade throw?
And can you direct us to any scientific or medical data which supports the safety of the state’s siting guidelines?
Even turbine manufactures ask workers and operators to maintain a distance of 1300 unless absolutely necessary. (Click Here To Download Vesta's Manual for workers and operators of large wind turbines)
Our concern is that in the rush to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standards, the health and safety of residents in rural areas will be threatened and the power of local government will be overturned.
Please do not support turbine siting reform without being able to tell us exactly what you are supporting.
We do not want to endure the misery that residents in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties are now experiencing due to industrial turbines sited less than 2640 feet from homes. The PSC approved that project.
Please take the time to read the Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance, adopted November 18, 2008.
If there should be any wind turbine siting reform, it should be based upon this ordinance.
Thank you for reading this.
We hope you’ll reply.
It was taken Monday, December 8, 2008 in the Town of Byron, Fond du Lac County by one of the wind farm residents. The the setback in that PSC approved wind farm is 1000 feet.