The Forest Voice and its supporters are pleased the Town of Forest has filed a Petition for Judicial Review in St. Croix County Circuit Court against the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC), seeking a reversal of the Highland Wind Farm permit. The petition cites multiple procedural errors, material errors of law and facts, prejudice, and abuse of discretion by the PSC. The majority of Forest residents have shown through multiple voting actions that they remain opposed to industrial-scale wind energy turbines in the township.
“We support our town government and remain confident our constitutional rights and freedoms will be upheld in our own backyards rather than in Madison, where lawmakers and regulators seem more concerned with pleasing the wind industry than upholding constitutional rights or protecting the public interest, health, and welfare.” said Brenda Salseg, Forest Voice Spokesperson.
The PSC approved the project in September of 2013 after initially denying the project twice as not in the public interest. A rehearing request by the wind developer resulted in a “curtailment” strategy described as software programmed to reduce turbine production thereby decreasing noise generation in order to meet PSC 128 noise limitation language. Two of three PSC Commissioners allowed choice interpretation of PSC 128 noise language to accommodate the curtailment theory and overturned prior denials, while acknowledging noise violations will likely occur.
The curtailment theory has not been tried in any wind project in the United States, and no industrial wind turbine manufacturer has proved software exists to accommodate curtailment as a design component.
“In effect, the town residents would become guinea pigs in the Highland Wind Farm laboratory. The PSC has the opportunity to support the concept of curtailment in existing wind farms where people are begging for relief from audible and inaudible noise impacts,” said Salseg.
Emerging Energies, a Merchant LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) could reap hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayer subsidized government incentives; in addition to the sale price of Highland Wind Farm, if a buyer can be found. The Forest Voice believes the lucrative incentives, is why the developer partners, Bill Rakocy, Jay Mundinger, and Tim Osterberg remain determined to force Highland Wind Farm on an unwilling community.
The Forest Voice has argued throughout the proceedings that the Highland Wind Farm will have negative consequences on Forest residents’ quality of life and property values, as well as decimate the town’s American bald eagle population.
“Should the project build, we expect the same ratio of illness and property devaluation as the Town of Glenmore, WI has experienced with Shirley Wind, also developed by Emerging Energies,” said Salseg.
Residents, industry experts, and the Brown County Board of Health believe the Shirley illnesses are the result of exposure to low frequency sound, infrasound, and electrical pollution that did not exist before the eight 500-foot turbines became operational. Three families have abandoned their homes and fifty affidavits document similar negative health effects for other Glenmore families.
“Take Shirley Wind times five, and the effects of the Highland Wind turbines could easily multiply into at least fifteen abandoned homes in Forest and 250 resident affidavits documenting health issues. Emerging Energies refuses to take responsibility and shows no shame for creating a public health crisis in the Town of Glenmore. What confidence do we have in the Town of Forest that history will not repeat itself? We pray justice will prevail in St. Croix County.” Salseg stated.