Library filed under Impact on People from Michigan
Dan and Nancy Welke live in Merrill, Lafayette Township, where they say they have one turbine less than 1,600 feet from their home and another one about 2,600 feet away. They say they have been “battling” with DTE Energy and Gratiot County officials for the last year and a half regarding the negative effects of the turbines. Nancy called the ongoing experience “a living hell.”
Pine Township officials mailed out 950 wind energy surveys with 13 questions to township landowners and received 311 surveys back. The Daily News submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the surveys, for which the newspaper was charged $62.50.
On Tuesday, upwards of two dozen protestors gathered outside Wheatland Township Hall to picket before a board of trustees meeting. They carried signs expressing their opposition to the project, which would see an unknown number of wind turbines erected in Adams, Moscow and Wheatland townships.
In his comments, Punch voiced his concerns over low-frequency sound emitted by industrial wind turbines, commonly known as infrasound. According to Punch’s research, the turbines used in wind farm developments can have negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health.
The group Concerned Citizens of Branch County is asking the County to intervene on their behalf especially after an effort they supported to have the Union Township Board adopt an ordinance that would have created a Planning Commission lost at the ballot box last Tuesday by 25 votes, 268-243.
Chester said those supporting green wind energy don’t understand the opposition. “We may not be politically correct for opposing wind turbines. But they don’t live next to them,” he said.
"These are nearly 500 foot tall towers, that's taller than the statue of liberty they are very large," says Rick Sible, a resident against the wind farm project. Many residents say they have health concerns when it comes to the turbines, some worried about the shadow flickers they would make, and the noise coming from them.
Bloomfield Township resident Robert Gaffke was one of four members of the public who attended the 16-minute meeting. He urged the board to call Robert Rand of Rand Acoustics, LLC regarding sound testing to address three complaints about wind turbine noise.
Over 200 people crowded into Monitor Township Hall, Monday night, and more were outside listening to the debate over windmills.
The often-controversial wind turbines are stirring up residents in a Mid-Michigan community. Residents worry their leaders are out to change local ordinances to make it easy for utility companies to put up fields of gigantic windmills.
“If someone got a judgment that windmills contributed to some adverse health effects people suffered, I would think that would be a pretty significant ruling,” said Ross Hammersley, a Traverse City attorney with Olson, Bzdok & Howard who specializes in environmental and real estate law. Hammersley, who is not involved in the case, reviewed some of the court filings for Midwest Energy News.
Since April, DTE Electric Company has recorded easements on 276 parcels of agricultural property in Branch County for the purpose of evaluation for wind farm developments. Atwell Engineering, as agents for DTE, has negotiated and recorded documents from 59 property owners mostly in Union, Sherwood and Matteson Townships.
At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour conversation, Glenn said there were two takeaways: conflict of interest at the local level and that the social fabric of Michigan's communities is being destroyed. The point of the meeting was to discuss the future of wind development in the Thumb.
“If they do vote yes, and allow us to continue the development that’s been approved by the (Huron County Board of Commissioners), this is the last wind farm that DTE Energy will seek approval for and development here in the county,” said Trevor F. Lauer, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric.
Last December, one of the turbines at the Stoney Corners wind facility burst into flames and was completely destroyed. Black smoke darkened the sky and heavy winds spread ash and burning particles on fields and properties nearby. For days the acrid odor of smoldering composites lingered in the air and seeped into my home along with several other homes in the area of the fire.
I signed a wind turbine lease with Heritage Sustainable in 2008. If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have signed. Since the turbines went up, I have had frequent headaches lasting three days. I never had these before.
Robert Gaffke, who owns property near the Big Turtle II project, addressed the Huron County Planning Commission last week regarding a noise complaint he has filed against Heritage Sustainable Energy of Traverse City. ...“It sounds like a guy’s in there with an eight-pound sledge pounding on it, every revolution,” Gaffke said.
The flat fields and scenic farms have been replaced by mechanical monsters with arms spinning in the wind. They dominate the landscape visually, impossible to ignore. ...What’s clear, at least to me, is that something has to change. People are being hurt by these wind developments. Their concerns should not fall on deaf ears.
“It’s important that the community know the short-term, mid-term, and long-term consequences of having turbines in the community,” Tussey said. “It’s not a situation where, if you don’t like it, you can just turn it off. It’s more akin to building a bridge, and once a bridge is built, it’s built.” Tussey plans to work with the concerned citizens in Ellington Township on an educational campaign intended to deliver straight facts about turbines – and not just at public meetings held during major snowstorms.