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July 11-17: What's on the docket? No need to read between the lines: A handwritten letter from a Wisconsin wind farm resident to the PSC--- AND--- A wind developer by any other name would smell as....Florida Power & Light tells PSC what should be in the Wisconsin wind siting guidelines AND much much more!

Note from the BPWI Research Nerd:

 The PSC heard from people all over the state during the three days of hearings about the draft wind siting rules. Here is one from a resident of We Energies Blue Sky Green Field Project in Fond du Lac County.

Andy Hesselbach, who is in charge of developing wind projects for We Energies is one of the wind siting council members with a direct financial interest in creating rules that will allow We Energies to continue to site turbines with the same setbacks and noise limits that have caused problems detailed in the letter below.

Questions have been raised regarding similar conflicts of interest for the majority of the Wind Siting Council members.


CLICK HERE TO READ the red-lined and re-written siting guidelines from wind developer NextEra,formerly Florida Power and Light. Scroll though the document to read what changes they want from the PSC.


Click on the image below to watch a video at a link submitted to the PSC. Interview with a Blue Sky/Green Field resident


The PSC took public comment on the recently approved draft siting rules until the July 7th, 2010 deadline.

The setback recommended in this draft is 1250 feet from non-participating homes, 500 feet from property lines.

CLICK HERE to go to the PSC website, then type in docket number 1-AC-231 to read what's been posted.



Comments from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCAP) regarding aerial application and concerns about the impact on vegetable growers in our state.

 Click here to download testimony submitted to the PSC by Kevin Kawula regarding wind turbines effect on weather radar, birds and bats, CO2 emissons, and more. The PDF includes photos and graphs.

Click here to read why the Wisconsin League of Municipalities is concerned about the draft rules and why rural Wisconsin residents should also be concerned

CLICK HERE to download photos submitted to the PSC of wind turbines built within 1000 and 2000 feet from homes in three Wisconsin wind projects: Blue Sky/Green Field, Forward, Butler Ridge


Madison Audubon Society is very disappointed in the draft wind siting rules.

The sole reason we changed our position last year to one of support for SB 185 was because there would be provisions for taking important bird and bat resources into account when siting turbines.

These provisions included mapping areas in the state where wind turbines could have an adverse effect on bird and bat populations and a review of DNR`s statutory authority to adequately protect wildlife and the environment from any adverse effect from the siting, construction, or operation of wind energy systems.

Neither provision is cited in the draft rule other than one reference to "current DNR guidelines" that is buried on page 30.

Whether these two provisions are statutorily required or not, the maps and guidelines are essential for developers, landowners, and municipalities ("political subdivisions" in PSC-speak), to know about as early in the process as possible.

Not only would this help prevent undue harm to important wildlife resources, but it would help all parties involved avoid potential controversy and very-costly delays or denials of projects.

It would be far better to know as much as possible upfront, before the process even begins, about where key migratory bird routes, bat hibernacula, and other important bird and wildlife areas are located. DNR (p. 6) should be notified at least as soon as, if not earlier, than landowners, to help developers avoid problems.

While wind developers should be consulting with DNR as early in the process as possible, prominently including mention of the maps and guidance in the rule would alert municipalities about the existence of the maps and guidance and to ask companies if they have taken those into consideration. These two critical sources of information need to be hot-linked to the appropriate documents on the web.


My name is Timothy J. Harmann and I testified at the 1:00PM meeting on June 28, 2010
in Fond Du Lac in regards to the Wind Siting Rulemaking docket 1-AC-231.

I submit a CD with 5 videos of people that I personally interviewed on May 22, 2010 near Fond Du Lac, WI that were negatively impacted by Industrial Wind Projects but the CD wasn’t able to be accepted in the presented format.

After the hearing I was approached by the judge and was told that I could submit a link to the videos on the PSC ERF system.

Here is the online location of the videos that I presented during my testimony (I had to
split them into 5 separate videos because of the youtube limitations):






These 5 videos are also available at this address (labeled Interview1 – Interview5):

They are under this heading: “Interviews with residents of a Wisconsin Wind Farm”

Thank you for your time in this very important matter.

Timothy J. Harmann
Town of Morrison
Brown County

Click on the image below to watch a video at a link submitted to the PSC. Interview with a Blue Sky/Green Field resident


This from Poynette, Wisconsin:

 As a resident who will be living in the middle of the proposed Arlington area wind farm I would like to say this: Large scale industrial wind sites should be zoned as industrial use.

People in close proximity should be compensated under Wisconsin takings law, for the loss of value and degradation of their property. People and/or dwellings should be relocated.

These are industrial scale energy production zones. They are not compatible with human occupancy. These giant multi-million dollar projects should have a concentration of wind towers, not the widely scattered array as proposed in Arlington.

The investors should own the land, pay the local property taxes. Please guarantee the maintenance and future dismantling costs with an adequate escrow account, so that local governments are not saddled with run-down wind farms after their useful life and competitive cost/usefulness has expired.

The energy industry (coal, nuclear, oil, gas etc.) has surely demonstrated the usefulness of government regulation, control, and protection of American taxpayers. The legal strength and lobbying power of the energy industry and its ability to manipulate contracts, politicians and events in its own interest have been demonstrated in the Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains, and on our west coast and in the gulf.

This industry acts in its own interests without regard to American public lands, water and air. As an example, they have installed 30,000 miles of pipeline in the gulf seafloor. Many geologists and other scientists say this may not be prudent.

So, we citizens rely on our elected representatives, our Wisconsin and national lawmakers to apply the necessary counterweight to proposals like industrial wind production siting.

At our town hall meetings in Arlington it was obvious the industry had successfully managed to divide the community.

Absentee landowners, and large scale farms will benefit with tax breaks and secret contracts with the energy industry.

Why have my neighbors signed contracts with a wind investor that they are not allowed to discuss? Why the muzzling?A process that has been conceived in secrecy?

Decision makers on local town boards should not be in the position to personally benefit from a secret contract, a contract that will pad their pockets but one that has the potential to erode local property values and harm their neighbors.

If the property values go down, the tax rolls go down, and soon the deferred maintenance lists for our schools and town roads becomes longer and longer. Will the international investors know or care?

Lastly, I have heard personal testimony from people living in close proximity to wind turbines who say their health and well-being, or their livestock, and their property values, have been severely negatively impacted.

If the PSC does not get this right, there will probably be class action lawsuits, similar to the ones that followed the construction of the Columbia power plant near Portage.

 I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Shane Vondra

Click on the image below to watch a video at a link submitted to the PSC. Interview with a Wisconsin wind project resident.


 From Dean Anhalt
Town of Mishicot
Manitowoc County

I have been looking at wind turbine issues for 6 years. Please consider my comments.

We need to do epidemiological studies to find out what is negatively affecting people and animals in current Wisconsin wind farms before any new wind turbines are erected.

Setbacks need to be from property lines, not residences. Turbines should not be casting any unsafe zones over neighboring non-participating properties.

Wind rights need to be protected. Turbines should not be using winds over neighboring non participating lands. When others use winds over neighboring properties they gain control over the property through wind access rights and can control what is done on the neighboring non-participating property. This is a taking of property rights.

Setbacks to roadways need to be large enough that debris from a turbine malfunction will not land on roads. Past wind turbine accidents and mathematical calculations show a 1.1 times the turbine height setback to a road may not be adequate.

Electrical pollution from wind turbines cannot affect our farms.

Allowable noise levels should be set at an amount over ambient background noise. Ambient noise levels are quite low at night in rural areas. People need to be protected from offensive audible and low frequency noise.

Shadow flicker should not fall on neighboring non-participating lands.

Proper funds need to be set aside by wind farm owners to cover all costs of decommissioning. Local municipalities or land owners must not be stuck with removal costs at decommissioning time.

Towns need the ability to recover all costs to repair road damage during the building, operation ,and decommissioning of a wind farm.

Developers should have to give notice to counties of their intent to solicit lands to build a wind farm on before any landowners are contacted. These projects affect all people in their area. There is still too much happening behind the scenes and in secrecy. Local municipalities and all people should be made aware of projects in the very beginning.

In my area we have nuclear plants. I believe it is one of the best places for future nuclear power projects and expansions. Will a proposed wind farm in our area fill the local electrical grid not allowing room for future nuclear expansion without expensive grid updates? If so is this in the best interest of consumers looking for economical base load power.

Dean Anhalt


July 7, 2010
Sandra Paske
Secretary to the Commission
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707
Via: ERF
RE: Docket No. 1-AC-231 Wind Siting Rules

Dear Ms. Paske:

I am filing these written comments as a supplement to the comments I made at the public hearing in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin that was held June 28, 2010.

I am a resident of Brown County and have been approached to lease property for the construction of wind turbines, which has caused me to look into the effects of wind turbines on people and property.

With regard to the rules of the siting of wind turbines, I have three principle areas of concern:

• Health and Safety of people who live and work near wind turbines
• Property values in the area of wind factories
• Placing wind turbine factories in areas with sensitive geological features

I. Health and Safety

With regard to health and safety of the people who would live or work within the area of a wind turbine factory, I would first bring to your attention the recommendation of the Brown County Board of Health.

A copy of that recommendation is attached.

I would refer the Public Service Commission to the following reports which were made a part of the record during my comments at the Fond du Lac hearing:

1. World Health Organization “Night Noise Guidelines for Europe”
2. World Health Organization Final Implementation Report for Night Noise Guidelines
3. Report compiled by Dr. Keith Stelling – October, 2009
4. Health Survey Report for the Ontario, Canada Government
5. Dr. Nina Pierpont – March, 2006
6. Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark – Mechanical Operating and Maintenance Manual

Based on the above scientific expert analysis of wind turbine factory noise outputs, I would ask the PSC. to impose setbacks of at least one mile from an adjoining property owner’s property line and to set anaudible noise level of 30 dB at an occupied structure.

II. Property Values

Regarding property values, Appraisal Group One of Oshkosh, Wisconsin studied the sales of property within two wind factories in Wisconsin: Blue Sky Green Field in Fond du Lac County and Forward in Fond du Lac and Dodge County. The Report included a literature review, an opinion Survey and a Sales Study The conclusions from the Sales Study were that “the impact of wind turbines decreased the land values from -12% to -47% with the average being -30%.”

The Wind Energy companies normally rely on a study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to show no or little effect on property values. This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study has been debunked in several articles. The statistical methodology used (Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis) by LBL is not appropriate for this type of study.

The authors failed to follow any of the well-developed and tested standards for performing regression analysis on property sales.

This is a significant problem because out of the 7,500 sales in the study, less than 10% had ANY view of turbines, and only 2.1% had a view rated greater than minor. That is 158 homes out of 7,500 nationwide.

Because of the dramatic effect that wind turbines have on adjoining property owners and their land value, the Public Service Commission should establish setback standards from property lines, not occupied structures. By establishing setbacks for wind turbines related to existing homes or other occupied structures, the Public Service Commission will be depriving property owners of the use of their property should the property owners wish to construct a residence or occupied structure within the setback area that encroaches upon adjoining property.

The State – or local government - may ultimately be financially responsible to adjoining landowners who have lost the right to the use and enjoyment of their property.

The legal doctrine of inverse condemnation is recognized in Wisconsin.

The case of Piper vs. Ekern 180 Wis. 586 (1923) recognizes that a State regulation meant for the public good, but which reduces property value, may be a “taking” even though no formal condemnation has been initiated.

In that case, the State was required to compensate the property owner who suffered economic harm as a result of the State regulation. (Related to the height of buildings near the State Capital). Also the case of Zimm vs. State 112 Wis. (2d) 417 (1983) stated that the State was responsible to the land owner for property lost when the DNR raised the water level of a lake and the property became accessible to the public.

In order to protect adjoining property owners and to preserve the rights of property owners to the use of their property, the Public Service Commission should establish setbacks for wind turbines of one mile from property lines.

III. Placing Wind Turbine Factories in Areas With Sensitive Geological Features

My residence is located on the Niagra Escarpment. My water needs are supplied by a private well. Because of that, I am very concerned about the possible effects of ground water contamination from the construction of the foundations for Wind Turbines and the trenching for the necessary cabling to connect the turbines to the electrical grid.

The Niagra Escarpment is a unique geological feature in Northeast Wisconsin. The rock that forms the escarpment has many fractures and in certain areas the bedrock is exposed or very near the surface. The term for that condition is Karst fractures.

It is very important that the Public Service Commission not allow wind farms to be built along the Niagra Escarpment where Karst fractures exist to prevent contamination of the ground water supply in these particularly sensitive areas.

In conclusion, I would urge the State of Wisconsin to fully study the issues that have recently been coming to light. Europe has had wind turbines for decades and is only within the recent past begun to become aware of the negative side effects of wind turbines. There are many other issues that need to be addressed, including the effect of wind turbines on domesticated and wild animals, as well as interference
with communications and television and radio reception.

Do not allow additional residents of Wisconsin to be guinea pigs to be studied after the fact. Let’s fully understand the consequences of locating Wind Turbine Factories in areas where people live and work before the wind turbines are installed.

If wind turbines are to be located in Wisconsin before we study and understand their effects, the setback should be one mile from adjoining property owners’ property line and an audible noise level of 30 dB at an occupied structure.

Very truly yours,
Carl W. Kuehne



Wisconsin Towns Association
Richard J. Stadelman, Executive Director
W7686 County Road MMM
Shawano, Wis. 54166
Tel. (715) 526-3157
Fax (715) 524-3917
Email: wtowns1@frontiernet.net

To: Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
From: Richard J. Stadelman, Executive Director
Wisconsin Towns Association
Re: Comments on Wind Facility Siting Rules, Docket 1-AC-231
Date: July 7, 2010

On behalf of the board of directors and member towns and villages of Wisconsin Towns Association I submit the following comments on the draft proposed rule for Wind Energy System Siting Rules, Docket 1-AC-231.

Wisconsin Towns Association would ask that the Public Service Commission`s (PSC) final decision in developing and adopting rules as authorized under 2009 Wis. Act 40 should be governed by two overriding principles: (i) protection of public health and safety and (ii) protection of community interests, including protection of private property rights.

In view of the fact that Act 40 provides that local governments may not place any restrictions on installation or use of wind energy systems that are more restrictive than these PSC rules, it is imperative that the rules ensure these two protections.

Many town officers and town residents have expressed concern that there is not sufficient reliable health studies of people living in or near existing wind energy systems.

It is evident from some of the studies that do exist, certain individuals are more sensitive to the impacts of wind turbines, such as noise and shadow flicker effect.

Therefore, we respectfully ask the PSC to make your decisions on the side of caution in setting standards until more extensive health studies have been completed in our state and across the nation.

The following specific topics in the draft rule are of particular concern to our Association members:

1. Setbacks and noise standards should be sufficient to protect public health and safety of neighboring residents, particularly non-participating property owners.

a. Noise standards should have both a setback distance and a decibel limit. We would ask that decibel limits be not more than 35 dBA or 40 dBA from non-participating property lines.

b. These setbacks and noise standards should be applied from the property line of non-participating property owner. Applying setbacks and noise standards from the wind turbine to existing non-participating residential structures (as opposed to property line) is a taking of private property rights from these residents (i.e. the distance between their existing structure and their property line which could have been built on).

2. While Sec. 128.02 (2) of the draft rules provides that "Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the commission from giving individual consideration to exceptional or unusual situations and applying requirements to an individual wind energy system that may be lesser, greater, or different from those provided in this chapter," the draft rules as a whole do not give adequate recognition to local comprehensive plans of towns and counties. We believe recognition should be given to local comprehensive plans which allows flexibility in setting standards for certain conditions.

a. The question can be raised, "how would this subsection be applied by a local government in relation to unique natural, cultural archeological, scenic, or environmental resources as identified in local comprehensive plans?"

b. Would the town or county have to appeal to the PSC that in the case of such unique resources greater setback standards or other restrictions should be applied? Or would the local government merely adopt greater standards and then wait for an appeal by an applicant to determine if they are appropriate?

c. Recognition should be given to the local comprehensive plans for future conflicting development, such as residential development.

d. Recognition should be given to local comprehensive plans for future developments such as community buildings, parks, airports, etc.

3. The PSC rules should address the issue of "property value protection" for non-participating neighbors.

a. Act 40 has preempted local governments from setting restrictions in local regulations that would protect both community interests and neighboring properties by establishing maximum setbacks, noise standard, etc. Property values of neighboring properties (both adjoining and in the area) to wind turbines will be affected by the public perception of impacts from these facilities.

b. Without a fair and reasonable "property value protection" plan the permitting by local government (under the PSC rules and standards) of wind turbine facilities, local governments will be subject to possible inverse condemnation claims or "taking" of private property rights of these neighboring properties.

4. The PSC rules should include a "complaint resolution process" which is administered by the local government, including specific details as to subjects of complaints, timelines for resolution, and appeal rights.

a. Without a detailed process established in the rule, possible complaints will result in the threat of more actual civil litigation against the local government as the permitting agency.

b. The complaint resolution process should be funded by the wind turbine facility owner. The costs of administration of this process includes such things as the per diems of board members, consultation with experts in certain cases, etc. The costs of such a process should not be bore by the community as a whole.

5. The PSC rules should allow local governments to establish fees to cover actual and necessary costs of administration of the permit system, or in the alternative establish a fixed maximum dollar fee adequate to cover local government costs.

a. Wis. Statues §66.0628 currently provides that "any fee that is imposed by a political subdivision shall bear a reasonable relationship to the service for which the fee is imposed." This statutory standard should be used to allow local governments to recover the costs of administering wind turbine facility siting, just as in other permitting cases.

b. The fee structure proposed under Sec. 128.32 (5)(d) of the draft rules, based upon a percentage of estimated cost will be very difficult for local governments to apply. As an alternative to "actual and reasonable costs" we believe that a predetermined amount per turbine would be more appropriate and predictable for all parties.

c. Allowing local governments to recover adequate fees for the administration of the permitting of wind turbine facilities will allow the local officials to retain competent professional advisers, which will in the long run facilitate the siting of these facilities and reduce conflict during the process.

6. The PSC rules should provide clear and certain enforcement authority for local governments to ensure that siting and operation standards are being met by permitted facilities.

a. Local governments will be expected to ensure that the actual construction and operation of the wind turbine facilities are meeting the established standards of the local ordinances as restricted by the PSC rules.

b. Clear and certain enforcement authority, such as notice to facility operators, citation authority for non-compliance, and possible court injunctive relief should be spelled out in the PSC rules, so there can be no doubt that compliance of the standards is met. This type of enforcement is normal in any permitting or regulatory process and should be included in these rules.

7. The PSC rules should include decommissioning requirements backed by sufficient bonds.

a. Restoration of the site to conditions prior to initial construction of the wind turbine facility should be required under the rules.

b. Adequate financial security to ensure that these requirements are met should be authorized in the rules, to protect the local communities at the end of the useful life of wind turbines.

We thank the members of the wind siting council for their diligent work to date, and ask that the Public Service Commissioners and staff keep protection of public health and safety and protection of community interests as overriding goals in adopting these rules.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

 I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Richard J. Stadelman


Two general comments:

1) The standards do not provide guidelines for siting wind towers in relation to lands or habitats with bird or bat species which are particularly susceptible to wind tower mortality or where exceptional abundance of these species is present, adjacent to public wildlife areas or parks, or locations in heavily used bird migratory routes;

2) the guidelines do not provide guidelines for siting wind energy systems to minimize visual impacts to rural landscapes or scenic areas such as the Niagara Escarpment, river bluffs and riverways. Standards should be developed to site projects in more concentrated design rather than spreading wind towers out over large landscape areas.

Guidelines should require minimizing landscape impact to maintain Wisconsin's rural character. Projects must be required to have sufficient setback from areas such as the Horicon Marsh, Mississippi River or Wisconsin River Riverway to not visually intrude on the wild nature of these areas.

Specific Comments:

Page 6, line 6-9: require to consult with DNR and incorporate in the design; wildlife concerns other than just threatened and endangered species including bats and birds shall be incorporated in project design.

Page 8, line10: Property owner should have at least 5 working days to rescind and executed wind lease

Page 10, Table 1: Setback distance from Occupied Community Buildings must be at least 2500 feet; setback distance from non-participating residences must be at least 2500 feet unless the owner waives that requirement in writing; setback distance from non-participating property lines shall be adequate to not restrict future use of the non-participating property owners land unless owner waives that requirement; setback from wetlands, lakes and waterways shall be sufficient to minimize visual, wildlife and property rights of non-participating owners of those lands and the waterways

Page 11, line 22: The siting guidelines must have setback requirements for private airports to minimize impacts to a non-participating landowner

Page 12, line 1-3: I disagree with this guideline. A wind energy developer should not be allowed to site a wind energy system that would restrict or prevent future land use in a political subdivision against the wishes of the local political subdivision.

Page 12, line 18-19: A wind energy system shall operate the wind energy system in a manner that does not exceed 50dBA daytime or 35dBA nighttime at any non-participating residence or occupied community building unless the owner of that residence or building waives that requirement.

Page 12, line 23: noise limit shall be 35dBA

Page 13, line 3: delete April 1 to September 30. Noise is likely to be a greater problem in cold weather and after leaf fall when sound travels further

Page 13, line 12: curtailment of a wind turbine during nighttime hours shall be used

Page 14, line 9: manner that prevents shadow flicker

Page 14, line 14: a non-participating residence shall experience no shadow flicker unless the owner waives that requirement

Page 14, line 16: delete mitigation requirement--line 14 should require no shadow flicker at non-participating

I generally agree with other standards in the proposed guidelines.

I am very concerned that the weighting of committee membership in favor of the wind energy industry will result in approval of standards that do not protect the non-participating landowner or the Wisconsin landscape.

It is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission to protect all citizens and landowners, not just the financial interests of the wind energy developers.

The creation and strict application and enforcement of the siting standards is critically important to the character of the Wisconsin landscape.

To meet the renewable energy standards established by the legislature an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 turbines will be required. This will desecrate the rural nature of our state, and will not meet but a small fraction of the energy needs of Wisconsin.

After we have destroyed the visual beauty and peacefulness of the Wisconsin landscape we will still be building coal-fired or nuclear powered electric generation facilities to meet our energy needs.

The emphasis should be placed on reduction of electrical use through efficiency and conservation. Taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize wind energy.

Let the true cost be known through rate increases that consumers will then be aware of the impact of their lifestyle. I don't believe for a second that wind energy is the solution to our future energy needs.

It is for certain that it will destroy the beauty of the Wisconsin landscape if the energy industry is allowed to run roughshod over the rights of those who don't have turbines on their property.

I am very aware of the pro-wind efforts to discredit those experiencing health effects, property value decline and other impacts of wind energy. It is your responsibility to objectively evaluate the information available and create standards that are protective to all persons rights.

I affirm that these comments are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
James and Cheryl Congdon


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