Articles filed under Impact on Economy from USA

Property owners have every right to object

So, those of us who purchased our property from a farmer, at his price, and who were warned by the county zoning board to never complain about the smell, or the dust, or the noise, or the manure that are inherent in “farm” operations, have every right to object to these enormous machines that will loom over their homes forever. The board never forbade us to complain about non-farm business conducted on farm land.
7 Mar 2007

Jon Backman for the WJBC forum

We cannot avoid the fact that some people will suffer from the wind farm projects, but we can ensure that the wind farm companies adequately compensate the damaged individuals for their losses. No reason exists that a farmer who happens to own the specific property on which the company will place its turbines will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from the project, while a simple family with a small home adjacent to the wind farm will lose tens of thousands of dollars of property value from the same project. County officials can and should insist that corporations obtaining permits for wind farms agree to a legal process whereby individuals whose property values are damaged will be compensated for this loss. Many Americans, including the majority of conservative Central Illinoisans, reacted with anger when the Supreme Court ruled that a city could take an individual’s home and give the land to a private developer. But at least in that case, the homeowners were receiving compensation for the taking. The wind farm situation, where no compensation for damaged homeowners is offered, presents a far worse scenario. We need not, and must not, tolerate it.
7 Mar 2007

Wabaunsee County (KS) Court Ruling upholds Prohibition of Large Wind Turbines

The concept of public welfare is broad and inclusive. … The values it represents are spiritual as well as physical, aesthetic as well as monetary. It is within the power of legislature [to have] determined that the community should be beautiful as well as healthy, spacious as well as clean, well balanced as well as carefully patrolled. … “The County found that placing the complexes of wind farms, of the size and scope necessary to accomplish their intended purpose, would have a dramatic, and adverse, effect upon all of the general welfare issues found in the comprehensive plan. … “The Court finds there is substantial evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusions reached by the County. “[I]n the County’s denial of placing wind farms in the entire county[,] [t]he County didn’t take any existing rights away but only refused to expand the existing rights including wind rights.”
6 Mar 2007

County residents speak out about projected wind farm developments

A few landowners in Logan County might have the opportunity to lead the way in Ohio with the largest wind power operation in the state if the plans of a few green-energy companies prosper on properties in Jefferson, Monroe and Rushcreek townships. However, the proposed construction of up to 120 wind turbines in as soon as a year, each up to 550 feet tall, might be a bad move the community will have to live with for a long time, opponents say. Nearly 100 local residents met Tuesday afternoon at Marmon Valley Farm to discuss the implications of turning Logan County into what would fast become the largest wind power community in the state, while several posed the question: Are developers and landowners moving too quick with a decision that will affect the local community and disturb Logan County’s historic and scenic landscape for generations to come? After extensive research, Tom Stacy of Zanesfield, and others, believe so. “This is a way to shelter big company profits from taxes,” Mr. Stacy said. “It’s a symbol; it’s a monument that we’re doing something to conserve energy. The only thing is: It’s not conserving energy. They want to put up at least 100 to 120 of these things soon and it’s going to devastate the property values and scenery around them for miles.”
28 Feb 2007

A towering debate

The Jordanville Wind Project’s 68 proposed wind turbines, which would stand nearly 400 feet tall, could have a visual impact on southern Herkimer County and as far away as Cooperstown. A debate is emerging among residents about how the sight of the turbines would affect the beauty of the landscape, land values and tourism. Some think the impact will be small or nonexistent, while others believe there could be many downsides. People visit the Cooperstown area not just for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, other museums and tourist attractions, but also for the scenic views, said Harry Levine of a citizens’ group called Advocates for Springfield. “I think we have to be very careful how we treat this background landscape because it could have a long-term effect on tourism,” Levine said.
26 Feb 2007

New England’s largest wind farm is whipping up dissent

MARS HILL, Maine — Something has turned terribly sour for about 18 homeowners who live along the mountain roads where the state’s first and only wind farm has recently gone on line. To a man and to a woman, they feel betrayed, cheated, used, ignored, and dismissed. Put them in a room and they are spitting mad. Collectively, as they gather on a Saturday morning inside a home that sits in the shadow of the turbines, their anger is barely palatable. Since the turbines started up, they say, silence has become a luxury.
21 Feb 2007

County supervisors delay wind pact

Madison County Supervisors are at odds over whether the county should get a portion of the payments that will go to the towns and schools affected by the latest windmill project with Citizens Airtricity Energy LLC. Chairman of the Board Rocky DiVeronica called a special board meeting Wednesday to consider an agreement with Airtricity so the county would get $500 per megawatt of electrical power as a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT). DiVeronica planned to conduct the meeting behind closed doors in executive session.
8 Feb 2007

Wind-farm protection plan debated

FREEPORT - Attorneys Monday debated the merits of a homeowner protection plan for the two wind farms proposed for the area at a meeting of the Stephenson County Planning and Development Committee. At issue Monday was a draft version of the plan, which is designed to set up terms by which the wind-farm companies would compensate adjacent homeowners who experience a loss in property value due to the wind towers. After discussing the plan with attorneys representing the wind-farm companies and objectors to the project, the committee voted Monday to lay the issue over until next month’s meeting. Jeff Mikkelsen, chairman of the committee, recommended committee members take a month to review the draft version of the plan, and also to consider amendments offered by various parties.
6 Feb 2007

Stephenson Co. to examine homeowner protection plan

As Stephenson County officials work to create a homeowner protection plan for the two proposed wind farms for this area, some objectors to the project are concerned a draft version of the plan does not sufficiently protect residents who experience property value loss. Currently, the plan is in draft form and may be changed as participants continue to discuss the terms of the document, said Terry Groves, director of planning and zoning for the county. The plan, which is also known as a “home-seller protection agreement,” will be discussed at the next county Planning and Development Committee meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the county courthouse. County officials, the wind-farm companies, and landowners are providing input on the plan’s creation, officials said. Groves said it’s unclear whether the committee will approve the document at its next meeting, or whether it will undergo further revisions. To Groves, the document as it stands now is “fair” to all parties involved......... The main purpose of the plan is to set up specific terms by which the wind-farm companies would have to compensate adjacent homeowners who experience a loss in property value due to the wind towers. At this time, the plan only covers homes that are within 2,000 feet of a wind tower, but this figure has not yet been finalized, Groves said.
5 Feb 2007

Mars Hill tries to get used to new windmills

It seems few in this town of about 1,500 people can agree on UPC Wind Management’s newly completed $85 million project, which makes the unassuming potato-growing and truck-brokerage community home to New England’s largest wind farm. But there’s one thing everybody can agree on: The place sure looks different. Long before a visitor arrives at Mars Hill, the towers become visible along what used to be just another mountain. The total height from the ground to the tip of the blade is 389 feet. Each tower has three blades, which spin in winds whipping west to east toward Canada just a few miles away.
27 Jan 2007

Critic calls turbines unfit neighbors; Noise levels, shadows cited as reasons to reject wind farm

An energy and environmental consultant hired by opponents of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center maintains Invenergy Wind LLC fails to meet several requirements for a special-use permit for the wind farm. Tom Hewson of Energy Ventures Analysis Inc., Arlington, Va., spoke to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals during a hearing Wednesday night. He said the proposed 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties would be a detriment to the public because of noise levels and visibility. Hewson said he did a “simple approach” simulation of one turbine to see how far a person had to be away from the turbine before it complied with Illinois’ noise regulations. “At 750 feet away, it exceeded the range,” he said, noting that three property owners have asked for waivers to allow a turbine in about that range. Hewson said it wasn’t until a person was 1,200 feet away from the turbine that the noise met Illinois’ requirements.
18 Jan 2007

Wind farm opponents say there is down side to economic picture

Sue Brander of Advocates of Stark and also a wind farm opponent, sees several other economic disadvantages. Brander sees the wind farms as a federal tax scam. She said the federal policies were designed by Jeffry Skilling, the former Chief Financial Officer for Enron, who is now in jail. The 68-turbine project proposed for the Stark, Jordanville, Warren area would cost approximately $136 million. Under the current system, the owner of the project can deduct 64 percent of the investment in two years, which comes out to $96 million. Brander said that Congress needs to review these laws and change them because investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, are buying them just for the tax write off. She also sees an economic disadvantage for real estate value. Brander said that although some developers and market analysts have said property prices would not go down, properties up for sale around wind farms see less interest than homes away from wind farms. “It is all supply and demand, and people are seeing losses in their real estate value,” said Brander.
15 Jan 2007

Officials say wind farms could bring windfall to towns

Although details are still being worked out and completion of area wind farms isn’t expected untill sometime in 2008, some local officials are looking forward to the economic benefits that these farms could bring to their towns. Rick Bronner, supervisor of the town of Stark, said that county officials are still working out the numbers for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes arrangement, but as of now the towns of Stark and Warren would both receive $97,000 a year in annual payments for the next 15 years for the 68 two megawatt towers that will be built in that area. Also, the Stark and Warren school districts both would receive $340,000 a year, and the county would receive $432,000 a year.
8 Jan 2007

Somerset officials say windmills generate tourism

Tourism brochures tout the region’s mountains, lakes, ski slopes and trails. But some officials think those promotional guides should start including windmill sites. While the turbines popping up on the Cambria-Somerset horizon may not have the charm of the backyard devices among the tulip fields of Holland, these structures already are playing a role in drawing tourists to Somerset County. Some believe the windmills could do a lot more than generate power. “It’s how you sell it and how you market yourself,” said Erik Foley, director of the Renewable Energy Center at St. Francis University. “We could become the clean energy capital of the world.”
24 Dec 2006

Jordanville Wind Project Gets 80 Percent Tax Cut, But Provides Only 6-12 Permanent Local Jobs

Wind Project are two megawatt turbines, the taxation rate will be $16,000 per turbine. The county’s consultant determined that the full taxation rate per turbine would be $40,000 per megawatt. Therefore, the county’s offer represents an 80 percent tax exemption. This rate of exemption will apply to all wind projects in Herkimer County. The Jordanville Wind project will bring “six to 12 jobs” to the county, according to the Jordanville Wind Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement. By comparison, Wal-Mart brought over 200 jobs and generates over $1 million a year in sales-tax revenues at its distribution center in Schoharie County, which employs many Herkimer County residents.
15 Dec 2006

Landowners Fear Ruin From Power Line Route

The 15-story towers and crackling cables that are planned to cut across the Northern Virginia countryside are just red lines on a map, a paper illustration of what could come. But for Cameron Eaton, who learned shortly after Thanksgiving that one of the proposed routes for a new high-voltage power line slices across her Fauquier County property, they have already brought the specter of financial ruin. She bought her 100-acre Delaplane farm last year, when it was an overgrown slice of land anchored by a rundown old farmhouse just off Interstate 66. She plowed all her savings into it. To pay down her $1 million mortgage and build up her horse business, she planned to sell a five-acre chunk within a couple of years. Then came what her neighbors have come to regard as “the black cloud.”
11 Dec 2006

New line cost could hit Maine

A federal law designed to ease electricity transmission bottlenecks and improve power reliability could hit Maine ratepayers in the pocketbooks, twice. The measure could force the construction of transmission lines to move Maine’s surplus power south. Not only could the loss of the surplus increase the price of electricity in the state, but Maine consumers would also have to pay part of the cost of building the lines.
10 Dec 2006

Reunion’s offer to CV

Reunion has been using the phrase “sweetening the deal.” Is this an admission that the offer hasn’t been or still isn’t sweet enough? Reunion has also been stating, “wait until our application is in” to provide all the financial and environmental details of their offers. What strategy is this? Like the legendary Trojan Horse? Get in, then ravage?
9 Dec 2006

Wind Power- Will Nimbys Win?

Nimby-ism (Notin My Back) is almost understandable when talking about a gas pipeline or an ugly McMansion. But when it comes to environmentally friendly, quiet and- some say- beautiful windmills, an astonishing number of people are saying "no". Melanie Wold asks, "Why? Is it all the dead seagulls?"Editor's Note: This article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Shattered Magazine. The pdf version is available via the link below.
7 Dec 2006

Six counties lose residents last year

Six of Oregon’s 36 counties lost population between July 2005 and July 2006, with Sherman County losing the largest percentage — .08 percent.........County Assessor Dick Stradley says he doesn’t know for sure but guesses that the fluctuation is because of contract workers for power companies that move in temporarily to work on dams or windmills. “They come in here and we never see them,” he said. “Then in one or two months they are gone.”
3 Dec 2006
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