Entries in wind energy (195)

1/29/12 What's it like to live in a PSC-approved Wisconsin wind project? Hell may be better.

What's wrong with this picture? Home in WeEnergies wind project near Towns of Marshfield and Malone, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin 2011. The blades on this turbine weigh about 8 tons each with a tip speed of nearly 200 miles an hour.

Photo by Better Plan Wisconsin.

7:40 PM. “Wind SSW, 12 MPH, 18.8 rpms. The jet noise is like last hour and now I also easily hear turbine 73 along with turbines 4 and 6. Inside our house I hear thumping and humping no matter which room I go to. It is hell. Hell may be better

A Wisconsin family's life has been turned upside down by noise from 400 foot wind turbines in the PSC-approved Invenergy wind project near the Town of Byron in Fond Du Lac County. Sleep deprivation from turbine noise has been the number one problem for this household since the turbines started turning.

CLICK HERE to the read daily turbine noise log kept by the Meyer family.


4:35AM. It was another night of sleep deprivation. I worked hard for 12 hours yesterday. I should have had a sound nights sleep, but not so in an Invenergy wind factory.

I was woke from sleep numerous times by turbine noise and low frequency noise. I only wrote down 2:07, 2:51 and 3:55. I tried to get back to sleep so I did not pay attention to the clock other times I was woke. After 4:00 AM I did not sleep. I got up to watch the news and was bombarded with thumping and pounding noise from the turbines in our family room.

7:10 AM. Wind NW, 10 MPH, 18.4 rpms. The noise from turbine 4 is like that of a jet flying over. Turbine 6 is 3300 feet away and is thumping and pounding. There is turbine noise from all directions this morning.

5:35 PM. Wind SSW, 12 MPH, 18.6 rpms. I just stepped out of the house and heard what sounded like two F-16s flying by. Yes, I know the sound they make because they fly over Madison when we visit. Those F-16s were turbines 4 and 6.

Turbine 6 was just as loud as turbine 4 even though it is 3300 feet away. I next went in my wood shed where the noise was more of a thumping and pounding much like listening to my heart in a stethoscope.

I then went in my shop where there also was the thumping and pounding noise. It is impossible to escape the horrendous noise without driving away.

7:40 PM. “Wind SSW, 12 MPH, 18.8 rpms. The jet noise is like last hour and now I also easily hear turbine 73 along with turbines 4 and 6. Inside our house I hear thumping and humping no matter which room I go to. It is hell. Hell may be better

8;20 PM, Wind SSW, 18.2 rpms. The jet noise continues now from turbines 4 and 73.


5:10  AM. It was another bad night of sleep because of noise from the turbines. People say “You will get used to it”.

That is not true. That statement could only come from someone who doesn't live with turbine noise.  Do you get used to having the radio between stations, or fingers scratching over the chalk board or your child continuously turning the lights on and off?

We have not gotten used to it. The effects of sleep deprivation has only gotten worse. As I write this I hear the thumping and pounding noise from the turbines. I could hear it from bed just a short while ago before I got up.

The pounding sound or low frequency noise from the turbine woke me up at 1:30. I was still awake at 1:55. I was woke again at 3:01, 3:35, 4:07 and 4:27. I no longer slept after 4:27 and soon got up. Besides being woke up numerous time during the night my sleep was very restless. At this moment I have a headache and feel warm on my face like my skin wants to shrivel up. Stressed. Exhausted too.

5:25 PM. Wind SW, 18.2 rpms. There is a loud jet sound from the turbine. In my wood shed there is a thumping and pounding noise. It's often louder indoors than outdoors. The house and sheds seem to act like drums and the pounding feels like it's coming from every direction. I say 'feel'. You can feel it not just hear it.

9:55 PM, Wind SW. The air at ground level feels calm. Above is a loud jet noise and the sound and feeling of the sky being torn open by the heavy turbine blades. Each one weighs close to nine tons. Imagine three nine ton blades with a span that is wider than a 747 and a tip speed of close to 200 miles an hour spinning over your home.

How are you ever going get used to that? How are you ever going to get used to not being able to sleep at night?

1/23/12 Wha-a-a? Illinois Wind developer says he'll give a setback of 1,800 to 2,000 feet for a 480 foot tall turbine? So, why are Wisconsin wind developers telling us it can't be done? 


By John Reynolds,

VIA The State Journal-Register, www.sj-r.com

January 22, 2012

“We intend to use between 1,800 to 2,000 feet,” Nickell said. “Essentially, they could go from 1,000 feet to 1,800 or 2,000 feet and in our eyes, it wouldn’t change the way we are going to lay out the wind farm.”

Sangamon County’s zoning rules allow large wind turbines within 1,000 feet of a house.

For some people, that’s too close.

As a result, Sangamon County is considering a moratorium on wind turbines that could last up to nine months. County officials want to use that time to hold public hearings and find out what area residents want, and whether the zoning rules need to be changed.

Board member Tim Moore, chair of the county’s Public Health, Safety and Zoning Committee, said the county’s zoning code contains setbacks for wind turbines, which state how far away they have to be from a property line or house. The current rule calls for a large wind turbine to be at least 1,000 feet from a house or three times the diameter of the rotors, whichever is greater.

“Setbacks are probably the principal reason we are having the moratorium,” he said. “It gives us a chance to look at setbacks as they appear in the code right now, versus what some of the citizens have proposed.”

The county board is to vote on the moratorium Tuesday. If the issue passes, the county would then schedule a series of public hearings.

Wind turbines could be 480 feet tall

While no wind farm proposals are in front of the county board now, American Wind Energy Management is planning a wind farm in western Sangamon County.

The wind farm would be built in phases within an area bounded by the Morgan County line to the west, Illinois 125 to the north and Illinois 104 to the south. The eastern boundary would run from about a mile west of Farmingdale Road on the north and continue south along an approximate extension of that road to Illinois 104.

Chris Nickell, vice president for site establishment for American Wind Energy Management, said the company is in the process of closing the land sign-up process for property north of Old Jacksonville Road, which includes the first phase of the project.

“I’d estimate we have around 25,000 acres signed up for this project, which is plenty for us to move forward,” Nickell said.

The company hasn’t selected the exact turbines for the wind farm, but the most likely candidate is a model that is 480 to 490 feet tall.

“Essentially, they stay below 500 feet because of FAA regulations,” Nickell said. “The newest turbines on the market that are the most efficient for this kind of project are around 480 to 490 feet tall.”

Deeper setbacks

As far as the setbacks go, Nickell said the company planned to exceed the minimum 1,000 feet all along.

“We intend to use between 1,800 to 2,000 feet,” Nickell said. “Essentially, they could go from 1,000 feet to 1,800 or 2,000 feet and in our eyes, it wouldn’t change the way we are going to lay out the wind farm.”

American Wind energy doesn’t expect to have its application ready for the county during the nine months of the proposed moratorium, Nickell added. As long as there aren’t any dramatic changes in the county’s code, the company expects to submit an application by the end of the year.

“As long as the changes are minor, we don’t expect them to impact us,” Nickell said.

If everything goes smoothly, work could begin by late 2013 or early 2014.

While setbacks are expected to be the main issue during any public hearings, Moore said he also expects to hear from people concerned about wildlife, noise issues and the overall aesthetics of a possible wind farm.

Tuesday’s county board meeting begins at 7 p.m. It will be held in the board chamber on the second floor of the Sangamon County building at Ninth and Monroe streets.

1/22/12 How is this news to anyone? Why are we not surprised? 


via The New York Times, www.nytimes.com

By Erick Litchtblau

January 12, 2012

Amid the revolving door of congressmen-turned-lobbyists, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Mr. Delahunt’s transition, except for one thing. While in Congress, he personally earmarked $1.7 million for the same energy project.

So today, his firm, the Delahunt Group, stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office, records and interviews show.

WASHINGTON — Soon after he retired last year as one of the leading liberals in Congress, former Representative William D. Delahunt of Massachusetts started his own lobbying firm with an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper. One of his first clients was a small coastal town that has agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for help in developing a wind energy project.

Amid the revolving door of congressmen-turned-lobbyists, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Mr. Delahunt’s transition, except for one thing. While in Congress, he personally earmarked $1.7 million for the same energy project.

So today, his firm, the Delahunt Group, stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office, records and interviews show.

Experts in federal earmarking — a practice of financing pet projects that has been forsaken by many members of Congress as a toxic symbol of political abuse — said they could not recall a case in which a former lawmaker stood to benefit so directly from an earmark he had authorized. Mr. Delahunt’s firm is seeking a review of the arrangement from the Energy Department.

Mr. Delahunt’s work for the town raises legal and ethical questions, mainly because of federal restrictions on the use of federal funds for lobbying, several legal experts said.

Beyond the town of Hull, Mr. Delahunt’s clients include at least three others who received millions of dollars in federal aid with his direct assistance while he was in Congress, records show.

Mr. Delahunt declined repeated requests for an interview last week. In a statement released through his office on Friday, he also declined to respond to specific questions about his work, but said: “I want to be clear — I have no federal lobbying relationship with any past or current client. I have not lobbied anyone in Washington since leaving Congress.

“Further, while in Congress, I had no conversations with anybody regarding any future consulting contract,” he said, “and I am extremely proud of our work and the assistance we were able to bring to many communities throughout our district.” Federal law prohibits former congressmen from lobbying some ex-colleagues for one year after leaving office.

Mr. Delahunt was a natural choice for the job, said Philip E. Lemnios, town manager for Hull, because he was familiar with the stalled project and did impressive work getting the seed money for it while in Congress. The town now hopes to get $60 million or more in federal, state and private funds for four offshore wind turbines that might someday power the entire town and serve as a model for other towns.

“Obviously he’s got connections into the federal government that we don’t have,” Mr. Lemnios said in an interview. “We’re hoping he can open doors at the federal level that we could never open.”

An affable New Englander known for close ties with Republicans as well as fellow Democrats, Mr. Delahunt, 70, has quickly established himself as a go-to lobbyist in the Boston-Washington corridor.

He has capitalized on relationships he developed with many Massachusetts groups in his 14 years representing one of the state’s most affluent districts, which includes Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, for instance, paid the Delahunt Group at least $40,000 to lobby for approval of a casino. Mr. Delahunt had secured Congressional earmarks for the tribe totaling $400,000 in 2008 and 2009 for a substance abuse program and other projects, the records show.

The city of Quincy, Mass., meanwhile, brought on Mr. Delahunt last year to help deal with federal officials on a downtown redevelopment program. In 2008, Mr. Delahunt secured nearly $2.4 million in earmarks for the city on a separate tidal restoration project.

And a fishermen’s group on the elbow of Cape Cod hired Mr. Delahunt to navigate regulatory issues; he had helped the group get a low-interest, $500,000 federal loan in 2010, records show. The group, which thanked Mr. Delahunt, then a congressman, for his help getting the loan, used the money to renovate a historic coastal home as its headquarters.

“Bill was an ally of small boat fishermen in Massachusetts, absolutely,” said John Pappalardo, chief executive of the group, the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association.

After Mr. Delahunt left Congress, the fishermen’s group hired him “to get the lay of the land politically” about possible changes in federal and regional fishing policies, Mr. Pappalardo said. The group paid the Delahunt Group $14,000 last year for its work, according to lobbying records filed in Massachusetts.

“He was sort of like an emissary,” Mr. Pappalardo said in an interview.

With nearly 400 former members of Congress hired as lobbyists or corporate “consultants” in the last decade, it has become commonplace for ex-members to work for groups or industries that they had helped get financing while in office.

For example, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, has drawn criticism over possible conflicts stemming from his earmarks. After leaving the Senate, he was paid $65,000 in consulting fees from a lobbying shop that represented clients he had helped with earmarks.

Mr. Delahunt’s financial connections to the energy project are much more direct, however.

“That’s not something I’ve ever heard of,” Kenneth A. Gross, a Washington lawyer who specializes in political ethics issues, said when asked about a former congressman receiving fees from earmarks he appropriated.

Several issues could influence whether the unusual arrangement was considered illegal or unethical, Mr. Gross and other ethics lawyers said.

Questions include whether Mr. Delahunt knew that he might go work for the town at the time he requested the earmarks; whether federal funds were being used to “lobby” Congress in violation of federal restrictions; which federal officials Mr. Delahunt’s firm contacted as part of its work; and whether those contacts fell within the one-year “cooling off” period.

Barney Keller, communications director for the Club for Growth, an influential conservative group in Washington that tracks earmarks, said: “I cannot recall such an obvious example of a member of Congress allocating money that went directly into his own pocket. It speaks to why members of Congress shouldn’t be using earmarks.”

Mr. Delahunt, a former district attorney who was known in Congress for embracing liberal causes, also became known over his time in Washington for bringing home federal money. He was particularly active in 2009, ranking in the top fifth of all House members, with more than $46 million in earmarks, including the Hull and Mashpee tribe grants, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group in Washington.

On retiring in early 2011, he told home-state reporters that he was hesitant to go the typical route of lobbying. But within a few months he did just that, starting the Delahunt Group, where he serves as chairman. He brought in three top congressional aides to help lead it and set up four offices in Massachusetts and Washington, and joined with a national law firm and another lobbying shop as well.

“This is nowhere as stressful as being a congressman,” he told The Cape Cod Times last June as he showed off the firm’s new office on the cape.

But he rejected any suggestion that he was cashing in on his time in Congress. “To say that former members wouldn’t use the skill set they developed, particularly if they are passionate about the interests of their clients, I really think is wrong-headed,” he told the newspaper.

But concerns about possible financial conflicts have already slowed the Delahunt Group’s work on the wind energy project in Hull.

Executives at Mr. Delahunt’s firm have been working informally on the energy project for several months, attending meetings and offering guidance, and they are expected to meet with “key federal and state officials” and provide advice on securing grants for the project, according to a draft of the $15,000-a-month contract.

But the town and the Delahunt Group have delayed signing a formal contract for at least a few weeks. They want to first make certain that Energy Department officials have no concerns about Mr. Delahunt’s unusual dual roles in earmarking the money for the project and now getting paid as a consultant to work on it, according to Mr. Lemnios, the Hull town manager, and Mark Forest, the Delahunt Group’s executive director.

“So far, they don’t have an issue with it,” Mr. Lemnios said. “But it would be a natural thing for people to think there might be a conflict of interest, and if people do have questions about a conflict, we want to be able to address that.”

1/14/12 They fought the residents and... the residents won


By David Frownfelder and John Mulcahy,

via Daily Telegram, www.lenconnect.com

January 14, 2012

“The developer has concluded it is unable to develop its project in Riga, Palmyra and Ogden townships due to significant opposition to wind generation by the residents of Lenawee County."

RIGA, Mich. — Lenawee County is apparently not going to be home to a major wind turbine project — at least not in 2012. Officials from Blissfield Wind Energy LLC filed an amendment to its contract with Consumers Energy seeking permission to move the project from Lenawee County to Gratiot or Ionia counties.

Exelon Wind is one of the partners on the Blissfield project. Doug Duimering, project manager for Exelon Wind, said the group has not given up on Lenawee County, but because the contract with Consumers Energy states they would build wind turbines in 2012, the group is looking at other sites.

“We are disappointed with the way things turned out,” Duimering said. “We will continue to explore our options in Lenawee County.”

Larry Gould, president of Great Lakes LLC, which owns 50 percent of Blissfield Wind Energy LLC, said there are negotiations to take the project elsewhere, but the Michigan Public Service Commission must approve the transfer first. Gould said he could not say much due to a confidentiality agreement.

“There’s other communities that are inviting us to go someplace else,” Gould said.

Both Blissfield Wind and Consumers Energy are asking the MPSC to allow the contract between the two parties to be amended.

The request from Consumers reads: “The developer has concluded it is unable to develop its project in Riga, Palmyra and Ogden townships due to significant opposition to wind generation by the residents of Lenawee County. Hence, the developer has relocated its development plans to either Ionia County or Gratiot County, Michigan.”

The Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition Inc. was formed in opposition to the wind turbine project. Kevon Martis of Riga Township, a director of the IICC, commented on the development in an email.

“As much as the developers tried to paint this as a question of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) opposition to change, the bottom line for most residents is that this particular project reeked of crony capitalism and corporate welfare of the worst kind: increased industrial profits at private citizens’ expense,” Martis wrote. “Couple that with solid scientific evidence that the noise limits and setbacks proposed by the developers are, in fact, unsafe, as the IICC maintained throughout this whole episode.”

Paul Wohlfarth of Riga Township headed the group Riga Residents for Wind. In an email, he expressed his disappointment at the announcement.

“We have a well-funded nonprofit corporation based in Lenawee County who collects money from across the country to spearhead an agenda that is against green wind generation in Lenawee County, Michigan and across the country,” Wohlfarth wrote. “I believe this whole project has been misrepresented by a well-funded vocal minority. It’s too bad the majority of the tri-township area didn’t take the time and visit a nearby wind farm. I think the outcome would have been much different.”

The potential siting of wind turbines in Riga, Ogden and Palmyra townships brought organized opposition from the IICC and recalls of Ogden Township Supervisor Jim Goetz and Clerk Phyllis Gentz and recall attempts against Riga Township Supervisor Jeff Simon and Trustee Richard Beagle.

The Blissfield Wind project was the only one that had reached the development stage. Another interested party was juwi Wind, a wind power company also considering a project for the area. A spokesman for juwi said its status remains unchanged.

“We are continuing to monitor and evaluate the situation,” said Aaron Peterson, manager of community relations and regulatory affairs.

In November, a referendum vote in Riga Township upheld the wind turbine ordinance enacted in July 2010. A similar vote on the Palmyra Township ordinance is slated for May 8. An Ogden Township citizens committee is weighing the benefits of a police power ordinance, which can take the place of zoning in special instances.

In addition, the Raisin Township Planning Commission is developing a wind turbine ordinance. Officials are taking the step despite no stated intentions of a wind turbine project for Raisin Township.

1/12/12 What happens when members of town government are in bed with wind developers? AND What happens when the left arm doesn't know where the right arm went?



Via The New American

By Joe Wolverton II

January 9, 2012

According to the latest census, there are fewer than 2,000 people living in Morrison, Wisconsin. There are at least 10 times that many cows.

A drive along any one of the country roads criss-crossing rural Brown County reveals one after the other of the area's many family-owned dairy farms (mega farms are still the minority). In fact, Brown County, home to Morrison, is one of America’s largest dairy-producing regions. Such pleasant landscapes are common to most of the surrounding communities dotting this rolling prairie of bucolic midwestern hamlets that are home to the salt of the earth.
Hidden from sight, however, is the petty tyranny of the Morrison Town Board and its egregious agenda of quashing the freedom of speech. This ham-fisted oligarchy is threatening to stain the idyllic tapestry woven by generations of good, law-abiding citizens and muzzle their ability to have a say in the making of the laws that govern them.
So constitutionally offensive are the recent policy positions taken by the Town Board, there is a distinct possibility that legal challenges could bring down serious repercussions upon some members of that council.
The dramatic and despotic story so far is astounding to rehearse. Records of the Morrison Town Board show that in April and July of 2006 the subject of creating a new wind ordinance was discussed by the members of the board. By August 2006, a Chicago-based wind developer, Invenergy, officially requested a permit for erecting a meteorological tower to test wind strength and consistency. 
Over the next two and a half years, the town’s Plan Commission, following the advice of Town Chairman Todd Christensen, worked closely with representatives of Invenergy to draft a new wind ordinance that would grease the skids for the construction of the Ledge Wind Energy Project. 
As reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette on March 17, 2007, “Koomen [Morrison Zoning Administrator] said a representative of a wind energy firm has been attending the wind ordinance meetings and providing input.”
After years of back-room brokering and back scratching, the Town Board of Morrison finally went public with Invenergy’s scheme to build 100 400-foot wind turbines in Morrison and three adjacent townships — Glenmore, Wrightstown, and Holland. Additional details of the surreptitiously formed proposal (arranged without adequate public notice of the magnitude of the project) revealed plans to locate 54 turbines in the 6 x 6 mile area of Morrison; of those, 27 would be hosted by Morrison town officials or their family members who had earlier in 2009 and 2008 signed contracts with Invenergy guaranteeing their participation in the project.
It is not difficult to figure out why these sweetheart deals would be so attractive to local leaders and their families. Every landowner hosting an Invenergy wind turbine would be paid an estimated $8,000 to $12,000 annually per turbine for 30 years. 
By May 2008, town residents were beginning to realize the extraordinary depth of the cozy relationship built over the past couple of years between town officials and Invenergy. Not once did these elected leaders consult with citizens before setting off down the path of partnership with a corporation whose product demonstrably and irreparably harms individual and property rights.
In response to this official disregard, concerned residents of Morrison formed an association aimed at increasing public awareness of the potential damage to health and property associated with construction of the wind farm. At town meetings attended by members of the group, discussions between themselves and the board members who had colluded with Invenergy grew increasingly contentious, as video recordings of the proceedings reveal.
In order to ramp up its visibility in the area, the non-profit, called the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy (BCCRWE), initiated a very effective outdoor sign campaign; signs popped up everywhere decrying the wind project. 
As awareness spread, opposition to the turbines grew and town officials responded by attempting to limit free speech by severely restricting the size of BCCRWE anti-wind turbine signs. In order to force opponents to remove the signs, Town Chairman Todd Christensen decided to classify signs regarding wind development as “political signs,” same as those covering elections, which the town already restricted as to location, size, and duration, thus relieving the Town Board of the onerous task of passing a new ordinance or rewriting the previous one.
Next, in May 2010, in order to compel obedience to his decrees, Christensen hired a “code enforcer” to cruise around town issuing citations of $10 to $200 a day per sign to those citizens defying the “political sign” restrictions.  
The aftermath of all this now sees Town of Morrison officials exhibiting what seems to be unhinged recriminations and ongoing harassment of townsfolk who oppose the wind issue. 
In fact, as part of the town’s vendetta the Plan Commission has drawn up various unconstitutional proposals to completely eradicate yard signs altogether.
Initially the Plan Commission wanted to set back all political signs 25 feet off the right of way, which would put some signs on front porches and barely readable at 55 mph. They also attempted to limit the size and number of political signs — one per candidate — and wondered about declaring them nuisances and worthy of disorderly conduct charges for being “annoying, disturbing, or derogatory.”
So, the self-interested Town Board of Morrison, Wisconsin, has carpet bombed the wind farm opposition leaving as collateral damage a severely abridged right of free speech.
The current draft for amending Morrison’s sign ordinance, that is set to be voted on by the Town Board in early January contains this section: 
2. Political message: A message intended for a political purpose or a message which pertains to an issue of public policy of possible concern to the electorate, but does not include a message intended solely for a commercial purpose.
Such a measure is constitutionally noxious as will be indicated by the following history of Supreme Court decisions on the matter of suppressing speech through the outlawing of yard signs.
In 1994, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously overturned a restrictive yard sign ordinance passed in Ladue, Missouri. In the case of City of Ladue v. Gilleo, the court held that residential yard signs were “a venerable means of communication that is both unique and important.” Speaking for the Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote:
Displaying a sign from one’s own residence often carries a message quite distinct from placing the sign someplace else, or conveying the same text or picture by other means.... Residential signs are an unusually cheap and convenient form of communication. Especially for persons of modest means or limited mobility, a yard or window sign may have no practical substitute.... Even for the affluent, the added costs in money or time of taking out a newspaper advertisement, handing out leaflets on the street, or standing in front of one’s house with a handheld sign may make the difference between participating and not participating in some public debate.
The high court’s decision in the Gilleo case has been followed repeatedly by lower courts considering the issue. In Curry v. Prince George’s County (1999), a federal district court in Maryland threw out a sign ordinance limiting the placement of political campaign signs in private residences. “There is no distinction to be made between the political campaign signs in the present case and the ‘cause’ sign in City of Ladue,” the court wrote. “When political campaign signs are posted on private residences, they merit the same special solicitude and protection established for cause signs in City of Ladue.”
Earlier, in the case of Arlington County Republican Committee v. Arlington County (1993), the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a county law imposing a two-sign limit on temporary signs for each residence. The court noted that “the two-sign limit infringes on this speech by preventing homeowners from expressing support for more than two candidates when there are numerous contested elections.”
Given the clarity of the foregoing judicial decisions, one wonders if perhaps the members of the Town Board of Morrison, Wisconsin, are unfamiliar with the federal court decisions striking down ordinances similar to the one they have imposed by fiat on the citizens of that small town. Or whether, alternatively, they may be receiving inferior legal counsel from opportunistic attorneys they hired to zealously represent their interests in perpetuating the sign-placement ordinance and the punishment of those who dare to resist their will.
Whatever the cause of the continuing corruption and assault on core constitutional liberties, it is certain that representational government has been marginalized in the town of Morrison, leaving hard-working, law-abiding tax payers locked out of the decision-making process and left subject to dictatorial town officials who have anointed themselves the ultimate and unchallenged arbiters of all that is best for Morrison and its citizens.
Citing an “unstable climate” along with “regulatory uncertainty,” Invenergy backed out of the Brown County Ledge Wind Energy Project, canceling all of the related contracts.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: What was the real reason Invenergy backed out of the project?
There is was no 'regulatory uncertainty' for Invenergy when it came to this project because it was over 100 megawatts.
When a project is that big it's the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) not local government that has approval. The PSC has never yet met a wind project it didn't like and has said yes to all who have applied.
Word has it that the real reason Invenergy pulled out was because they were unable to to find a utility that would agree to purchase the power or the project.
Second Feature

From Vermont


By Laura Carpenter

Via  The Newport Daily Express, newportvermontdailyexpress.com

January  11, 2012 

“Mitigation, metaphorically, is a bit like a surgeon cutting off your right arm but assuring you that he or she will see to it your left arm remains protected for the rest of your life. Your right arm, meanwhile, is still gone. Yes, GMP has secured conservation easements from a few area landowners by paying them a ton of money and arranging creative land swaps. The moose, deer, bear, bobcat, grouse, fisher, et al, were apparently not consulted. Such action does not assure existing habitat connectivity or cushion the overall effects of fragmentation of what was an intact montane ecosystem. The right arm is still missing, lost in the clear-cutting and blasting,”

LOWELL, VT – Work on Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) controversial Lowell Mountain wind turbine project will continue through the winter, although some of the activity will subside and pick up again in the spring. The lack of snowfall has allowed for some of the construction work to continue further than expected.

Road building, blasting and excavation continue along the ridgeline, according to Dorothy (Dotty) Schnure with GMP. Concrete foundation work began this week on the collector substation, which is located halfway up the access road on Lowell Mountain. Construction of the collector substation on the mountain will continue. In addition crews are preparing to set poles for the overhead collector line, which will carry power from the underground electric lines on the ridge to the substation.

The project involves the construction of 21 industrial size turbines and upgrades to the Vermont Electric Cooperative transmission system between Jay and Lowell.

GMP has all necessary pre-construction permits and has met all required pre-construction conditions placed on it by state regulators.

One of the requirements set by the Public Service Board (PSB) was to obtain easements of “adequate size and location” to address fragmentation of habitat caused by the project. The wind project impacts 159 acres on the Lowell Mountains. In late December, the PSB approved GMP’s proposal to conserve approximately 1,600 acres of wildlife habitat in Eden.

“The conserved land provides for important habitat to offset the overall project effects and provides connectivity to other conserved lands. This level of mitigation is unprecedented in Vermont,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of GMP in a written statement.

In addition to the two parcels just approved for conservation in Eden, GMP has also conserved approximately 1,070 acres on Lowell Mountain. Of these acres, 778 acres will be conserved in perpetuity (forever) and another 292 acres will be conserved for the life of project plus 25 years.

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources attorney Jon Groveman, in a letter filed with the PSB, said the conserved land on either side of East Hill Road helps maintain the ecological and landscape connectivity that currently exists between the Lowell Mountain Habitat block and the Green River Reservoir habitat block.

But not everyone agrees that the easements make up for the loss, including Steve Wright of Craftsbury, a former Vermont Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife.

“Mitigation, metaphorically, is a bit like a surgeon cutting off your right arm but assuring you that he or she will see to it your left arm remains protected for the rest of your life. Your right arm, meanwhile, is still gone. Yes, GMP has secured conservation easements from a few area landowners by paying them a ton of money and arranging creative land swaps. The moose, deer, bear, bobcat, grouse, fisher, et al, were apparently not consulted. Such action does not assure existing habitat connectivity or cushion the overall effects of fragmentation of what was an intact montane ecosystem. The right arm is still missing, lost in the clear-cutting and blasting,” Wright said.

Still under dispute is a section of land where the crane path for the wind project is built. Shirley and Don Nelson, adjacent property owners, say the land is really theirs. But Trip Wileman, the property owner leasing to GMP, says it is his. The issue is in court but has not been decided.

“It is unconscionable that Judge Maley continues to hold that case while GMP destroys what is likely to be ruled the Nelson property. Actually, I guess GMP has already destroyed it, so maybe it’s only an issue of determining a compensatory value,” Wright said.

Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 04:09PM by Registered CommenterThe BPRC Research Nerd in , , , , , | Comments Off