2/24/10 TRIPLE FEATURE: Got Turbine noise and shadow flicker? Who ya gonna call after you give up on the wind company helping you? AND New ruling supports wind ordinances adopted by Wisconsin Counties and Towns AND Illinois Farm Bureau offers advice to farmers thinking of leasing their land to wind developers
BADGERS HELPING BADGERS GET IT RIGHT:
There is finally some good news for Wisconsin wind farm residents having trouble with turbine noise and shadow-flicker.
A new organization called Healthy Wind, Wisconsin (HWW) will advocate on behalf of those who feel their complaints are not being taken seriously by the wind company.
From the HWW website:
"Healthy Wind, Wisconsin (HWW) is an all-volunteer independent Wisconsin-based community group working to ensure that the placement of large wind turbines is protective of family's health and safety. We have multiple years of experience in researching information in regard to wind turbine siting. Our members have participated in drafting large wind turbine ordinances that have been adopted by Town Boards. We have testified at local and state public hearings concerning this issue, and have offered our assistance to other citizen groups outside of Wisconsin.
We are committed to:
Assisting residents living in wind facilities with complaint resolution.
Compiling a data base of all complaints to channel toward the appropriate local, county and state agencies.
Advocate for responsible siting to minimize the adverse impacts of noise, shadow flicker, and sleep disturbance.
Put people into the renewable energy equation by providing education and awareness on the issues.
Healthy Wind, Wisconsin’s mission is to keep active track of wind-related health issues affecting Wisconsin families. We are committed to assisting residents' of Wisconsin who have been impacted by poorly sited wind turbines by processing resident’s complaints and monitoring the progress toward complaint resolution.
Judge dismisses Trempealeau County wind lawsuit
By Dustin Kass | email@example.com | Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010
A Wisconsin judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Trempealeau County's wind ordinance, which critics have called one of the strictest in the country.
Judge John Damon dismissed the claims presented by Ron and Mary Winn of Galesville, Wis., when he granted summary judgment in favor of the county, according to court documents filed earlier this month. The Winns were challenging a county zoning ordinance that prevented the erection of wind turbines on land they were going to rent out to a wind development company. But a new state initiative made the case moot, attorneys say.
Mary Winn declined to comment for this story, and the Winns' attorney, Taavi McMahon, did not return a call for comment.
Wind development in Trempealeau County has been a hot-button issue since 2006, when an investment group called AgWind Energy Partners approached the county board with a request to look into three potential sites for a wind farm.
County board members enacted three moratoriums on wind development in response, before passing the restrictive ordinance in December 2007. It requires turbines more than 150 feet high to be at least one mile from the nearest homes and half a mile from neighboring property lines. Most commercial wind towers are about 300 feet. Additional required setbacks in the ordinance keep turbines away from roads, railroads and wildlife refuges.
The ordinance directly affected the Winns. AgWind had proposed renting 160 acres the Winns owned near Ettrick, Wis., for its proposed wind farm.
The Winns filed suit in June 2009, alleging the ordinance prevents commercial wind development anywhere in the county and doesn't comply with state laws and policies.
Trempealeau County denied those allegations and asserted its authority to create the wind ordinance.
Ultimately, Damon's ruling did not weigh in on the legality of the ordinance, but decided the Winns' claims were moot.
That action was based on a bill passed by Wisconsin legislators last fall calling for state regulators to create uniform site regulations for wind farms throughout the state, said attorney Mark Skolos, who represented Trempealeau County. Those regulations, when complete, will trump all local ordinances.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: At present there are no guidelines for siting industrial scale wind projects in the state of Wisconsin. A Town or County can still protect itself by adopting ordinances and moratoria. CLICK HERE to read why your Town needs and ordinance and how to go about getting it on the books.
Important tips for landowners to know
By Jarod Wells
Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, ILL. -- Illinois currently has 800 wind turbines in the state. And over the next five to ten years, the state could see five times more wind power as more turbines are built.
That's why the Illinois Farm Bureau has been holding talks across the state to inform land owners of their rights when entering a lease with a wind energy company.
One of those presentations was held in Pike County Monday, February 22nd.
An attorney with the Illinois Farm Bureau says one of the things he points out to land owners, is that wind turbine leases are usually long term, sometimes up to 90 years.
"We always encourage people to understand how long the contract is going to last. Talk about it with their family, attorney, accountant, anyone involved in their farming operations we want them to talk to because this is going to impact not just them but their grand kids as well," said Illinois Farm Bureau Attorney Ryan Gammelgard.
"Another thing we always recommend they look at is what rights are they going to have under the contract. Are they still going to be able to do their normal day to day farming operations, or is their farming operation going to be subordinate to the wind energy company," said Gammelgard.
The attorney with the Illinois Farm Bureau says many times land owners just focus on how much they'll get paid to put a turbine on their property.
But they don't realize their farming operations will be affected.
For example you may not be able to use aerial sprayer on your farmland once a turbine is installed.
KHQA was also told lease agreements are very complex and can be up to 40 pages long.
So it's not something you should just sign.