12/22/11 Columbia County wind project comes on line AND Vesta's wishes you a Merry Christmas by throwing bus-sized iceballs from animated turbines AND Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines released via PSC website AND Eagle nests and residents homes: two things wind developers couldn't care less about
New wind project goes on line in Columbia County, Wisconsin
Next Feature: Merry Christmas greeting from turbine makers Vestas includes the special message of animated wind turbines throwing bus-sized ice balls.
Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines Proposed as Basis for Revising Wisconsin's Wind Siting Rules
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW), in accordance with Act 40, has developed a set of wind siting rules which are to govern industrial wind turbine siting throughout the State of Wisconsin. These rules are know as PSC 128. All local wind ordinances will have to conform to the standards put forth by the State. After a hearing at which concerned Wisconsin residents gave testimony for 9 hours, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted on March 1, 2011 to suspend PSC 128, stating that they did so...
"...on the basis of testimony received at its February 9, 2011 meeting, and on the grounds that the contents of Ch. PSC 128 create an emergency relating to public health, safety, or welfare; are arbitrary and capricious; and impose an undue hardship on landowners and residents adjacent to wind turbine sites..."
PSC 128 has been suspended ever since and the PSCW is still awaiting direction from the legislature on what to do. So far no bills have been passed specifying changes to PSC 128, although there is currently such a bill in committee. If nothing is done by the end of the legislative session, PSC 128 becomes law creating the very same public health emergency that the JCRAR suspension sought to prevent. There are gross deficiencies in the PSC 128 rules, deficiencies which have led to many Wisconsin residents suffering ill health effects. In several cases, living conditions have become so unbearable that families have abandoned their homes to regain their health.
This prompted a coalition of concerned citizen groups from across the state to draft the Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines. These Guidelines provide legislators and the PSCW with a SCIENCE BASED set of recommended standards to be used in revising the arbitrary and already outdated PSCW wind siting rules (PSC 128) - including the much needed health, safety, and property protections for Wisconsin residents. These Guidelines are based on fact, based on science, and based on the real-life experience of Wisconsin families and others from around the world. The standards proposed are supported by a library of documentation, shown in the reference section following the Guidelines.
You are invited to read the Guidelines and then to write to your legislators, asking them to support and use them in drafting new wind siting rules for Wisconsin. You may see the Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines here:
CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Nina Pierpont, PhD (Princeton), MD (Johns Hopkins), interviews acoustician Stephen Ambrose on his work. She asks him about the strange malady that plagued him after he went to work taking sound measurements at a house near a 1.65-MW Vestas wind turbine where the residents were complaining of bad health since the turbine went on line. He tells Dr. Pierpont that even while setting up in the house he began to feel strangely unwell, as did his co-worker. Something is happening to these people who live close to turbines to make them feel ill and it is a mystery he would like to solve.
PROPOSED WIND ENERGY PLANS COULD HARM MINNESOTA'S EAGLE COUNTRY
By Dave Berggren
GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. - Look along the tree line in rural Goodhue County and you'll see why so many are upset.
"This area is a habitat for eagles, hawks and other raptors," says Mary Hartman. "I'm all for addressing energy issues, but we need to do it sensibly."
Minneapolis-based National Wind is the developer and the project is called "Goodhue Wind." The plan is to place 50 wind turbines across 32,000 acres of county land, but some folks say the proposed "footprint" for the project interferes with eagle habitat.
"Eagles fly and hunt at the same height of these turbines," says Hartman, a resident who opposes the plan. "I'm not aware of any other project where they are siting wind energy smack through the center of nesting bald eagle habitat."
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the "Goodhue Wind" plan and construction could begin in the spring. However, it's not just residents who oppose the project.
"The Public Utilities Commission, which decided this project should go forward, didn't seriously look at the avian study," says County Commissioner Ron Allen. "They just blew through it and went on with what they want to do which is put these things up wherever they can put them."
Allen also says this issue is a "divisive" one and that Goodhue County is too populated for a project like the one proposed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends wind turbines to be at least two miles from eagle nesting areas, however, concerned citizens who spoke to KARE 11 say the wind power plan will break up migration patterns, harm nests, and even injure or kill eagles and other raptors.
Attempts to contact the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the project developer were unsuccessful, but KARE 11 will continue to follow the story.