The County Board of Trempealeau, Wis., is to be commended for its recent rejection of the proposed draft ordinance on wind turbine development in the county and for responding favorably to our petition to extend the moratorium on wind turbine development until a truly comprehensive ordinance can be put together with the guidance of a Citizens Advisory Committee, to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the county.
With all due respect for the hard work the zoning committee put in on drafting a wind turbine ordinance, we feel that in trying to be fair to people who stand to profit from developing wind energy, they are compromising the health, safety and welfare of the general public in their concern for mere logistics and economics of turbine placement in the county.
The six-month moratorium will give us time to demonstrate some serious and very real health issues associated with the larger turbines, especially for developing infants, elderly and sick people, who are particularly vulnerable to Vibro-acoustic disease.
Perhaps this is why the manufacturers of the turbines recommend that they be installed no closer than 1.5 miles from residences. The World Health Organization recommends two-mile setbacks, and medical expert Nina Pierpont recommends two to three miles in areas with hills and valleys. Having been provided this data, one would think our zoning committee could have done a little better than the one quarter mile they suggested in their draft version of the wind turbine ordinance. If there is no room for safely installing large industrial turbines in Trempealeau County, I guess there is just no room for large scale industrial turbines in Trempealeau County.
Let’s get on with some kind of plan to develop small residential and community sized turbines, which don’t have the health and safety issues, can still profit landowners who host them, can produce electricity at a lower voltage level that can be stored locally for local use, and can get us off the grid and make us energy self sufficient like they did in Northfield, Minn. They can actually reduce coal based generation instead of promoting the installation of even more base generation capacity (so commercial wind turbines can be backed up whenever the wind is less than 30 to 50 miles per hour); can eliminate all the taxes we’d have to pay to buy these large generators of “green” for the developers, and the electricity rate increases that are on the same horizon as those wind turbines.
By doing this, we could also tell the energy lobbies of Wisconsin that we don’t need their heavy-handed “state” mandates to reduce global warming.
This should make just about every reasonable and non-greedy person in our county happy and more self-sufficient.
By Ron Reimer
Reimer is a member of the Concerned Citizens of Trempealeau County and lives in Ettrick.
30 June 2007
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