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Wind Turbines: Who Benefits?

One of the most disturbing aspects of the turbine debate is its sole focus on health and safety issues; there are much more compelling reasons for regulating industrial turbines, particularly in the environmental and economic spheres. I find it particularly disturbing that the Wisconsin statutes that mandate renewable energy use have deliberately removed the term "welfare" from local regulatory powers to protect "health, safety and welfare." This censors debate on all issues except health and safety, and the most important reasons to regulate commercial turbines are left off the table. ...This [Trempealeau County] ordinance passed not because the citizen's committee was stacked, or because the county board is incompetent, it passed because the developers were unable to demonstrate that the county had anything to gain by unfettered development. Protecting the health and safety of its citizens was more important than profits.

Guest Editorial Re: Trempealeau County's Wind Ordinance

The Winona Daily News is to be commended for airing reasons wind turbine developments should be carefully regulated, and for casting much needed light on this issue. The wind turbines issue is so emotionally charged. The public seems impatient with bearers of bad news about their promised "free" lunch. Citizen watchdogs come off in the media as deluded malcontents, even though they can back up their positions with statistics, case studies, research and personal testimonies of real people who live close to turbines.

Developers of wind energy for profit merely echo turbine manufacturers, who say turbines have minimal health and safety issues, yet offer NO independent studies supporting their contentions, and like desperate political candidates looking for media attention, merely substitute character attacks for positive statements supporting their positions. Whether the issues relate to health and safety or the economics of wind energy, the public needs to understand all sides of the issue before championing wind "farms" in every community.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the turbine debate is its sole focus on health and safety issues; there are much more... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Guest Editorial Re: Trempealeau County's Wind Ordinance

The Winona Daily News is to be commended for airing reasons wind turbine developments should be carefully regulated, and for casting much needed light on this issue. The wind turbines issue is so emotionally charged. The public seems impatient with bearers of bad news about their promised "free" lunch. Citizen watchdogs come off in the media as deluded malcontents, even though they can back up their positions with statistics, case studies, research and personal testimonies of real people who live close to turbines.

Developers of wind energy for profit merely echo turbine manufacturers, who say turbines have minimal health and safety issues, yet offer NO independent studies supporting their contentions, and like desperate political candidates looking for media attention, merely substitute character attacks for positive statements supporting their positions. Whether the issues relate to health and safety or the economics of wind energy, the public needs to understand all sides of the issue before championing wind "farms" in every community.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the turbine debate is its sole focus on health and safety issues; there are much more compelling reasons for regulating industrial turbines, particularly in the environmental and economic spheres. I find it particularly disturbing that the Wisconsin statutes that mandate renewable energy use have deliberately removed the term "welfare" from local regulatory powers to protect "health, safety and welfare." This censors debate on all issues except health and safety, and the most important reasons to regulate commercial turbines are left off the table.

The other disturbing observation is the characterization of our citizen efforts as opposing wind energy. It appears to me that this is a developer's red herring to divert attention away from a rational analysis of the facts, and to create an emotional knee-jerk reaction to a bogus issue. I personally would like nothing better than to have a wind turbine in my backyard and solar cells, too, charging batteries--off-grid. (Of course, all the taxpayer money available for subsidies seems to be going to profit-minded developers, rather than homeowners.) I am not all that crazy, however, about having 35 industrial turbines, 535 feet high, in my community, producing power for sale to metropolitan areas half way across the country, via new high tension transmission lines (already being planned for Winona County), rather than community based wind-generated electricity, which is NOT what developers have in mind for Trempealeau County.

Trempealeau County's Citizen Advisory Committee made sure that the developments of personal wind turbines would be encouraged, and that with mitigation, a commercial turbine could be placed just about anywhere in the county. If land owners and citizens near proposed wind "farm" developments want to waive provisions of the ordinance designed to protect their property rights and their families' health and safety, they have that right under this ordinance. This is regulation; it does not prevent responsible development. I am appalled that the media continues to take positions contrary to an ordinance that helps protect the rights and welfare of the "little guy" against the powerful wind industry's corporate and political interests, who use misleading public relations campaigns, fear and intimidation, green-washing, and bait and switch tactics.

This ordinance passed not because the citizen's committee was stacked, or because the county board is incompetent, it passed because the developers were unable to demonstrate that the county had anything to gain by unfettered development. Protecting the health and safety of its citizens was more important than profits. Developer lobbyists claim that our ordinance conflicts with "state energy policy." But the rest of the story is that the state's energy policy is really their policy. As members of the governor's task force on energy, they created the mandated renewable energy portfolio on behalf of the state. This is a very lucrative (for them) public boondoggle with the intent to take away local power to zone and protect citizen welfare.

WDN's headline reference to our ordinance being "Strictest in the Nation" misses the point that the unique coulees of Trempealeau County call for larger setbacks to preserve this visually and geologically unique area, with special acoustic and vibration issues not found on the prairie. Plus, minimal wind speeds here require towers 2-3 times as tall (and as expensive) as turbines in flatlands east, west and south of us. I would have preferred, "Most Prudent" as a headline.

A dedicated group of well-educated citizens in our county thoroughly researched industrial wind turbines for six months. Most of them came into the meetings informed only by what they learned through the media. The vast majority are certain now that industrial wind energy needs to be regulated for reasons of health, safety, economics, aesthetics, welfare, the environment, peace among neighbors, land values, and much more, though they could only concern themselves, with health and safely in their ordinance. The citizens of Trempealeau County might just know something you need to learn more about... before profit-seeking developers come knocking. Remember: Next It Might Be You (NIMBY)!


Source: http://www.winonadailynews.com

DEC 28 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/12593-wind-turbines-who-benefits
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