The local wind farm is finally seeing some progress, and the same company is starting a new development in a nearby town. I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time, however, before the crybabies start squealing again.
Now, I understand opposition. In fact, I expect it. It’s just a fact of life that you’re not going to please all the people all the time, and the good ol’ Bill of Rights guarantees the crybabies the right to speak up. What I can’t abide, however, is the horseshit they come up with to defend their tenuous position.
A particularly vocal crybaby says the wind farms aren’t paying the tax money they promise, yet offers no examples of this happening. The Mendota Hills Wind Farm not 70 miles from here has been up and running for five years, and I don’t see anyone bringing their bad news to our board. Wind farms are sprouting like weeds in Indiana, and my folks say the local communities have been very welcoming of them, and some of the schools are already starting to reap the benefits.
Board meetings throughout the summer were packed with people wanting to witness the hearings, and once the board even had to postpone a meeting because the crowd was so large it violated fire codes for the meeting place. However, near the end of the summer as those hearings wound down, it was down to about 30 people showing up to speak against the wind farm. When the board approved the wind farm building permits, they were accused of ignoring the voice of the people.
Hmm. 30 people is the voice of the people? I just did a quick calculation and 30 people is only 1.5% of my town’s population. How is that representative of a county that had nearly 25,000 registered voters in the last election? I guess some people have a very selfish definition of democracy.
I would hope the new wind farm would face less resistance with the board, but it overlaps Livingston County, and the folks in Livingston County are already fighting another development tooth and nail. They’ve already filed a lawsuit, and their wild claims make the Woodford crybabies sound perfectly sane. I saved a news clipping from the Woodford County Journal a few weeks ago — I don’t have the date, unfortunately — and it has a rather juicy quote:
Construction of the turbine will “endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort and general welfare” of owners nearby, according to the lawsuit.
Gee, that sounds pretty bad. Let’s break it down, though, shall we?
Health: This no doubt goes back to claims that the electromagnetic fields surrounding the turbines cause cancer, or the same fields running along the power lines kill the farmers’ cows. So far, nothing’s been proven.
Safety: This usually involves everything from tornadoes knocking the towers over to planes crashing into them. The towers are supposedly built to resist winds up to a certain speed, but the other side of it is the towers are all required to be a set distance from homes. If they fall over, they’re not going to land on a house. F5 tornadoes can blow something fierce, but I don’t see them carrying off gigantic turbine blades and spearing houses.
Comfort and General Welfare: These probably tie right back into the above, with the possible addition of the towers ruining the view or being noisy. I can address view with this picture:
You see a view to block? I just see a long pancake of farm fields and nothingness. I happen to think the wind farms in Indiana and up in Paw Paw look pretty cool. As for noise, I don’t hear much of anything as I drive by them.
Morals: No, I didn’t skip it. I saved the best for last. The problem is, I don’t have any idea where they’re coming from. How are morals threatened by windmills? Are they accusing someone of bribery? Are they afraid “undesirables” will take the construction jobs to build the farms? Is the company going to put a hooker under every tower? Do the towers sit on ley lines? Will angels get smacked around by the turbine blades? Help me out, here!
Amazing, isn’t it? People are all for green power and renewable energy until you try to put a wind tower in their back yard. Meanwhile the county is half a million dollars in the hole and is raising property taxes. They’re knocking small pieces off the budget, trying things like cutting the county clerk’s hours by a half hour a day. Road salt prices have gone from less than $40 a ton to $117 since last winter, so we can’t afford to salt the roads (and as I type this, there’s a good 2″ of snow on the ground). The school district is seeing increases in utility bills, insurance premiums, and transportation costs, as well as facing an unfunded state mandate for additional testing for a big chunk of the student population. And let’s not forget our wonderful state and our corrupt governor have fallen behind on state aid payments and transportation reimbursements. As a result, the school is putting forward its own tax levy, which is a euphemism for “we’re asking for more money, too.”
The short version? Hooray higher property taxes!
At least it’s almost over for one wind farm. They’re supposed to start building pretty quick, so we’ll see if these people are right. Personally, I doubt it.