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4/16/11 What's happening with Wisconsin's wind rules? Recommended Reading: Rep. Frank Lasee's proposal

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) -- A proposal from an area lawmaker will make it even harder for wind farmer developers to build in the state. This after two developers recently pulled the plug on projects in Northeast Wisconsin.

David Enz built his home for his family back in 1978. But last month he and his wife decided they could no longer stay.

"Started feeling pressure in my ears, feeling pressurized, started feeling unstable," Enz said.

Enz attributes the symptoms to the eight wind turbines that were built last fall about a half mile from his house.

"It gets to the point where your body just does not want to be here, it just can't be here," said Enz.

Today, State Senator Frank Lasee introduced legislation that would require developers to keep turbines at least 2,250 feet from a person's property unless there's permission to build closer.

Right now, they need to be at least 1,250 feet from homes. Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker said he wanted to change the law to 1,800 feet.

Senator Lasee says that's not enough.

"Two thousand fifty feet is a reasonable distance that will help preserve their health and safety because of shadow, flicker, noise and I believe there is either magnetic or electric noise that causes health problems for people," Lasee said.

Last month, two wind farm developers pulled out of projects in both Brown and Calumet Counties, saying the current regulations already go too far.

According to Senator Lasee, the strict regulations aren't what's driving companies away from projects here in Wisconsin. He says it all comes down to money.

"Many utilities are no longer paying premiums which drive up our electric costs for wind energy so they're having trouble getting a contract that would pay," Lasee said. "I think they're using this as an excuse."

Enz hopes the Senator's proposal can prevent other families from going through what he has.

"We have a house that we can't live in," he said.

Enz and his wife have been staying with their children for the last few weeks. Senator Lasee is circulating the bill in the senate and assembly.
Sen. Frank Lasee is circulating for co-sponsorship a proposal revising PSC authority over wind energy system siting. Basically, the bill requires owners of a large wind energy system to design and construct the system so a straight line distance from the vertical center line of any turbine in the system to the nearest point on the property line be at least one-half mile. The distance could be shorter if the system owner and property owners agree to a lesser distance. The bill also changes the distance from the vertical center of any turbine to the permanent foundation of any building.
Link to PDF of the proposed bill:


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