Library filed under Impact on People from Nebraska
ROSE -- The first thing you notice on Dave Hutchinson's Sandhills ranch on a July day are the dragonflies -- so many dragonflies.
Lancaster County commissioners voted 4-1 to increase the decibel level standard for landowners participating in a wind turbine project ...There is no change in the county noise rules for nonparticipating landowners.
At least two problems occur with wind power development in Nebraska counties. First, no standardized impact assessment is required of wind power developers (e.g., visibility zones, key observation points, renderings of proposed towers, etc.), and the process and expertise vary greatly from county to county. Second, wind power impacts do not remain contained (or containable). Wind power impacts become foisted upon willing and unwilling neighbors alike.
Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon told a legislative committee on Wednesday that disputes about wind energy development in the Sandhills are "tearing communities apart," dividing neighbors and families and even spawning death threats. ...The bill was endorsed by representatives of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy and sparked testimony from a parade of supporters who journeyed to Lincoln from the Sandhills for the morning hearing.
Difference of opinion and varied interpretation of county regulations consumed the discussion following the report from Hankard Environmental on the Prairie Breeze wind farm noise study, on Tuesday, July 12.
Why are they so determined to force industrial wind turbines into every Nebraska county with no regard for the property rights of those who do not wish to live beneath them?
The wind of public opinion may have shifted toward the end of another long public hearing Tuesday to consider a proposed wind farm near here. The hearing Tuesday afternoon included countless points made by supporters and opponents of the Upstream Wind Energy project on top of those already made Jan. 19 when the public hearing began before the Antelope County Planning Commission.
Sen. Ken Haar includes much misleading information in “The death of opportunity by over-regulation” (Local View, LJS, Nov.4).
Most of the site’s neighbors are on the fence, waiting until construction is complete before deciding how they feel about it. Their concerns are the same as Gronenthal’s — whether there will be light and noise pollution and interference with phone, radio and television signals. Paul Gronenthal also is upset that the property owner did not disclose the plans for the site before construction began.
By a 3-1 margin, township voters approved limitations on the development of turbines within the township that surrounds David City on the north, east and south sides. ...Residents also voted 33-11 to require 1,640-foot setbacks between the turbines and the nearest township road and any nearby property whose owner is not part of the development. The regulation also placed limits on the noise created by turbines during overnight hours.
A home should be an owner’s castle and free from intruders, especially when that unwanted guest comes as a result of self-serving government interests. Crony capitalism in the Nebraska Legislature is threatening the health, security, and property rights of many Nebraskans. Policymakers must stop prioritizing these out-of-state wind developers at the expense of taxpayers and property owners.
Scott Holmes, manager of the environmental health division of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, cited research showing that the nature of wind turbine noise makes it more annoying than noise from aircraft, trains or traffic on roads. The rotation of the big blades produces a swoosh, thump and silence. The uneven, pulsating sounds repeatedly capture attention and are difficult to ignore, one researcher wrote. The circumstances call for the Lancaster County Board to give considerable weight to the pleas of rural homeowners as it enacts regulations on wind turbines.
On Wednesday night, the nine members of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed rules on a 5-4 vote, after rolling back sound limits and doing away with a daily limit on the amount of time flickering shadows cast by turbine blades can pass over neighboring houses. ...The move disappointed Hallam and Cortland area property owners. They had wanted the noise limits to remain at 40 decibels in the day and 37 at night, numbers that were recommended by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department.
Proposed noise rules being drafted to regulate commercial wind turbines in Lancaster County are so restrictive they would effectively prevent wind projects being developed here, according to a Portland, Oregon-based company that wants to develop a 50-turbine farm in Lancaster and Gage counties.
Under these low wind speeds, a turbine creates sort of a “woosh.” And it seems like the wooshes will never end. “When the wind is in the west, we don’t hear it,” he said, referring to the turbine east of his farmstead. When the wind is blowing out of the east or south, “It’s almost like when you’ve got cars going by.”
Cindy Chapman said she’s seen property values in the area near the proposed wind farm fall in recent months and fears that devaluation could worsen should county zoning regulations fail to adequately protect nearby landowners. Larry Chapman said he’s concerned about turbines falling down and ice on their blades being thrown toward nearby properties.
Many states have legislative involvement, i.e., guidelines and regulations, regarding the construction of wind turbines. Questions do need to be asked. There should be just as much discussion on the realities of wind farms, including the "what ifs," as there is and has been of oil pipelines.
“No matter which way you look, you see them,” Dave Stunkel said, looking out his window. “And no matter which way the wind blows, I get the noise.” ... at times, he said, “it’s just unbearable — like three or four jets going over at the same time.” In the winter, they said, the pitch changes, climbs higher; less a whoosh than a whine.