7/2/08 How can you turn just 90 minutes of your time on Thursday evening into something that saves our community from 30 years of industrialized misery?
A special note from the BPRC Reseach Nerd:
I’d like to invite people to attend a very important public hearing to be held on July 3, 7pm at the Magnolia Township hall regarding the large wind turbine ordinance. I’m hoping you will come to show your support for this well written ordinance which includes a 2640 foot setback from non-participating residences.
The reason for this set back has to do with noise and shadow flicker caused by these industrial machines. Noise is a real problem, especially at night. Several homes in Wisconsin’s Calumet county were made uninhabitable by noise from wind turbines and were purchased by the power company and bulldozed. (click here to read more about this)
Noise and shadow flicker have been problems for many people in Wisconsin’s Fond Du Lac county where wind turbines went on line in March of this year. (Click here to read more about this) Channel 6 news in Milwaukee did a story about it. (Click here to watch it) (Click here to request a free DVD copy of the news program) People from the town of Byron drove all the way to Evansville last month to testify at the Union township public hearing about how the problems with turbine noise and shadow flicker were affecting their lives. They were speaking from first hand experience and said they came because they didn’t want anyone else to have to live with what they were experiencing. (Click here to watch a video of their testimony) (and here)
The only thing that can reduce the trouble with noise and shadow flicker from a 40 story tall industrial machines is distance. The wind developers will make a fat profit if the setback is 1000 feet--- about 350 steps from your door. They will make less of a profit if it is anything more than that.
One of the developers is quoted a recent article as saying the setbacks recommended in the Union and Magnolia ordinances will make his project impossible. I’d like to point out this man said the same thing about Calumet County’s ordinance which has a 1800 foot setback. It seems that anything more than 1000 feet will make his project “impossible”. But what about those of us who will have to live next to these 40 story tall machines? What happens when it’s impossible to sleep, impossible to enjoy a quiet evening working in the yard, impossible to sell our house even if we wanted to because of the trouble that living beside industrial scale machinery always brings with it? The developer will be long gone then. At that point, only thing that will really be impossible is to understand how we could have let this happen to our community.
It reminds me a bit of the days when car manufacturers made a similar claims. That required safety equipment such as seat belts, safety glass, air bags, would make the manufacture of cars “impossible”. What they really meant is that huge profits would be made impossible by these safety requirements. Corporations have always fought for profit over human health and safety. It’s the nature of the beast. The wind developer is just doing is well-paid job.
I’d also like to point out that 67 wind turbines are proposed for the town of Magnolia’s 36 square miles. This means all of us will be affected in on way or another. With a 1000 foot set back, that number can grow quite easily. And there is no law saying other wind developers can’t come in and start making deals. What do you think will happen to our property values? Recent sworn testimony given by a real estate appraiser in Illinois revealed that while the normal market time for fairly priced homes located away from wind farms was 60 to 90 days, homes located near or within wind farms had market times of 200, 400 and over 800 days. (click here to download testimony or scroll down to the 6/30/08 entry)
Many homes could not be sold, and the ones that were sold were sold at a steep loss. It’s only common sense. If you had to choose between two similar homes, one near industrial wind turbines, and one that is not, which would you chose? The appraiser pointed out that what ever profits which come to those landowners who host wind turbines, come at the cost of lost property values for all those around him. How much does it cost to get a man to decide he should host a turbine? The numbers are confidential, but the wind developer has seemed to get people to agree to do this for anywhere from $4000 to $6000 a year. And the contract is for 30 to 40 years. No wonder there are so many who won’t sign.
Finally, though each 40 story turbine is rated at 1.5 megawatts, even the wind industry admits that at best they can only produce 30% of rated capacity in ideal conditions, and only when the wind is blowing. The wind in our area is less than ideal, and doesn’t always blow. There may be places where industrial turbines are a good reliable source of renewable energy, but Rock County doesn’t seem to one of them. If not for enormous government subsidies paid for with our tax dollars, the wind developers wouldn’t even be here.
There are great renewable energy options for our community but they will take the work of our citizens to get them in place. Manure digesters actually clean up the environment while they produce electricity. Biomass, solar, conservation and efficiency, all of these things will allow us to meet the states renewable energy goals without destroying our peaceful nights, ruining neighbor relations and lowering property values.
Unlike the wind developers we citizens are not paid fat salaries to do this, we don’t have paid out-of-town lobbyists like the ones who show up at our township meetings to try to sway our town boards, we can’t sponsor bus trips or free pizza dinners or open houses with slick displays. We can’t offer signing bonuses. And we’re not eligible for the big government subsidies that the wind industry admits they could not survive without. But we can make it happen. And we will make it happen.
I urge everyone to take 90 minutes of time on July 3, at 7pm, to come to the Magnolia Township Hall (County Road A, West of 213) to attend the public hearing in support of the ordinance which will give us a safe setback. Just 90 minutes of your time could help save our community from 30 years of industrialized misery. Please come and support this ordinance.