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Wind farm consequences

Mike King surprised our office staff Wednesday morning when he stood outside The Journal-Standard building with picket signs, awaiting the arrival of Congressman Don Manzullo.

His hope was to draw Manzullo’s attention to the plight of neighbors in Dakota who are fighting an uphill battle against the development of wind farms in the community.

Instead of greeting his constituent, Manzullo was literally shielded by well-dressed aides who scurried him into the building and away from King, much like a president is protected by his cadre of Secret Service agents.

Too bad.

Mr. King proved to be articulate, well-informed, and very patient about a situation that for him and some of his neighbors must be at once frightening and frustrating.

Employed by the Social Security agency, Mike King finds himself out in front of a battle to stop what might become a national progression of wind farms.

What’s not to like about those big white propellers that stand on the landscape representing our hope for an oil-free future? Opposing a renewable energy source at a time when we are being told the inconvenient truth about global warming is comparable to being in favor of killing those cute, white-furred baby seals. It just seems wrong.

Unless you listen to Mike King.

“It’s like everything we do in this country. We jump in with both feet and we don’t think about any of the consequences,” King said.

Erecting 35 massive wind towers, standing 399 feet at the apex, with 73 homes located less than a half-mile from the “farm” will drastically change the landscape and the view these neighbors now have in Dakota.

And it doesn’t end there.

Plans are on the board for more farms, and eventually, even bigger wind towers.

It might be easy for you and me to be passionate on the issue of renewable energy, but somehow I wouldn’t blame Mike King’s neighbors if they are less than enthusiastic after these towers take over the farmland.

The kicker in the argument, according to King, is that local people will not be the benefactors from these wind towers.

“Electricity goes where it’s needed,” King said.

As a result, electricity generated by these turbines will be purchased by ComEd, possibly bumping up local electricity rates, and get shipped off to the place that usually draws the most, probably Chicago.

By Eric Petermann
The Journal-Standard


23 February 2007