Tilting at Windmills” on May 18 may have left some readers unaware that there are factual reasons for intelligent, well-adjusted people to oppose the construction of wind turbine complexes in the county. Conflict lies between those who wish to preserve the natural character of large tracts of undeveloped land and those who do not care or are among the few who will benefit financially from turbines.
Large tracts of land in its natural state become scarcer every year. Attractive natural landscapes provide both financial benefits to the tourist industry and non-financial quality-of-life benefits.
Wind turbine complexes generate modest financial benefits to a few locally and huge profits to giant players on the world financial stage. This is the real trade-off, not the environment. Even the widest foreseeable use of wind power will not reduce America’s oil dependence.
The cited $2 million payment toward the townships is misleading. The proposed $67,000 annual payment to Jackson Township actually amounts to less than $14 per resident per month – less than one restaurant meal! Furthermore, to accommodate heavy equipment the townships will likely incur additional road widening, straightening and maintenance costs, which the wind energy company has no obligation to pay. And, we do not know what the township will do with any balance that might remain.
Allowing all parties to testify about a nearby major ($111 million) land development stretching over seven miles is a duty of a government, not a “dog and pony show”.
If conducting hearings is too expensive, the county should charge the applicant, the party causing the additional expenses.
There is no need to allow wind turbines in agricultural or resource protection zones. There is no need to guide developers of wind turbine projects. Legally, their facilitation is not a function of the Planning Commission.
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