12/10/10 Watch the PSC weaken the wind siting rules by clicking on the image below AND a letter from Rep. Bies regarding news rules AND Madison Knows Best: PSC's new rules deliver a multi-million dollar candy-gram to wind developers and a stinging slap in the face to rural Badgers
A letter from Representative Bies regarding the wind rules:
December 9, 2010
The Honorable Jeff Plale, Senate Chairperson
Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail
State Capitol, Room 313 South
Madison, WI 53702
The Honorable James Soletski, Assembly Chairperson
Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
State Capitol, Room 21 North
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
Chairmen Plale and Soletski,
I am writing to you today to request that you formally object to Clearinghouse Rule 08-070. I have reviewed the changes made by the Public Service Commission and it appears the changes that were made did nothing to address the serious concerns raised by many people including me about the effects of these rules.
Among these concerns are the potentially unconstitutional takings of land rights from property owners adjacent to wind projects who will be unable to use or develop significant portions of their property, the reduction of local home values, the possible detrimental health effects from noise and shadow flicker, and the removal of any substantive local control over these projects.
For these and other reasons I am requesting that you object to the proposed rule prior to December 22, 2010 so that it may be taken up by the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules.
1st Assembly District
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
The PSC delivered a multi-million dollar gift to wind developers by unanimously approving rules which made siting turbines even easier than they first proposed, shocking many rural Badgers whose lives will be directly affected once these rules are adopted.
Changes include decreasing setbacks from homes from 1500 feet to a setback distance that will be 3.1 the turbine height or 1250 feet which ever is the lesser. So a 500 foot tall turbine gets the same setback as a 400 foot turbine.
Chairman Callisto was convinced that a turbine that is 100 feet taller with a wider blade span than the current 400 foot turbines will somehow be quieter, thus eliminating the need for a longer setback.
What he based this assumption on is unknown. Better Plan believes it's based on the assurances from wind developers who need to place turbines that are 50 stories tall no more than 1250 feet from non-participating homes to insure a profitable project.
He did not address the issue of the how the new setbacks will increase hours of shadow flicker on a residence. Nor did he seem to care.
The new rules also pamper wind developers by lowering payments to non-participating neighbors.
Sources tell Better Plan that the rules were immediately sent to the legislative committees who have ten business days to make a decision. If the committees do nothing, the rules will become automatically become law.
If the committee members object to the rules, they will be sent to a rules over-sight committee which could call for a hearing and then introduce a bill to stop the rules from being adopted.
According to our source, out-going Committee chairman Senator Jeff Plale (D), who heads the senate committee made it clear an objection of this sort unlikely.
However, we've also been told that committee member Senator Robert Cowles (R) has been frustrated with his interaction with the PSC regarding this matter. Sources say the PSC has been unresponsive to Senator Cowles concerns.
Senator Erpenbach (D) sent a detailed letter outlining the ways he'd like to see the rules strengthened to protect residents of wind projects in our state. This too was ignored by teh PSC.
The Wisconsin Towns Association also made it clear to the PSC that the original rules were not strong enough to protect rural residents and suggested changes.
Once again, ignored by the PSC.
The three Doyle-appointed members of the PSC not only paid no attention to these requests, they also ignored the hundreds of residents of our state who testified over the course of the rule-making process, and asked for more protection. The PSC also ignored local ordinances adopted by rural Towns which sought to protect its residents.
What the PSC did not ignore were wind developers wishes. By weakening the rules they have handed developers exactly what they wanted. The cost? No cost to the PSC but for rural Wisconsin residents the cost is health, safety and property values.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
You can call the committee members listed below and ask what their plans are regarding the new PSC rules.
Let them know the new rules are even less protective than the ones origially proposed and must be rejected because they will endanger the health, safety and property values of rural Wisconsin residents.
YOUR PHONE CALLS ARE VERY IMPORTANT.
Call early and call daily. Committee legislators need to hear from you, and you need to know what they intend to do about the new rules.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail:
Jeff Plale (D) Chair 608-266-7505 or 414-694-7379
Robert Wirch (D) 608-267-8979 or 262-694-7379
Jon Erpenbach (D) 608-266-6670 or 888-549-0027
Pat Kreitlow (D) 608-266-7511
Robert Cowles (R) 608-266-0484 or 920-448-5092
Sheila Harsdorf (R) 608-266-7745
Neal Kedzie (R) 608-266-2635 or 262-742-2025
The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities:
James Soletski (D) Chair 608-266-0485
Josh Zepnick (D) 608-266-1707 or 414-727-0841
Anthony Staskunas (D) 608-266-0620 414-541-9440
Jon Richards (D) 608-266-0650 414-270-9898
John Steinbrink (D) 608-266-0455 262-694-5863
Joe Parisi (D) 608-266-5342
Ted Zigmunt (D) 608-266-9870
Michael Huebsch (R) 608-266-0631
Phil Montgomery (R) 608-266-5840 or 920-496-5953
Mark Honadel (R) 608-266-0610 or 414-764-9921
Kevin Peterson (R) 608-266-3794
Rich Zipperer (R) 608-266-5120
YOU CAN ALSO SEND AN EMAIL TO EACH OF THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS