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There's nothing farm-like about turbines

On July 17, I had the opportunity to drive to Copeland for business. I hadn’t been on Highway 56 for several years. I was shocked that after leaving Kinsley I could see many huge structures looming on the horizon.

It wasn’t hard to realize that I was looking at the wind farm I had been reading so much about.

As I drove on, I was less amazed and more distraught that anyone would call what I saw, a farm. My uncle is a farmer and his farm doesn’t look anything at all like what I saw. The words wind and farm conjure up a friendly pastoral connotation. An image that is harmonious with nature.

What I saw is an industrial wasteland. Row after row of huge machines placed menacingly along the highway. They evoke images of the future and the “Terminator,” a science-fiction/horror film. It doesn’t look anything at all like a farm. The vista looks like a factory, a huge money-making, profit-sucking corporate machine.

There weren’t any farm hands working the area. Machine after machine of cold hard steel and there was no one working.

How does that benefit the area?

They are a distraction to drive by as one wonders who would do that to the land, and why? If we need to make an economic impact on the land why not put in pig farms and raise animals? At least we would only notice it if the wind was blowing from the west, but at least we could in clear conscience call them “farms.”

The scene was repeated later at Montezuma, but the machines were somewhat smaller. I can see why they are placed there. No one lives there. No one has property to take advantage of a view or a lifestyle.

What they did in those areas bears little resemblance to what they will do to the people who live in and around Hays. Those huge monsters will rob the people of Hays and the surrounding area of one of the few natural gifts we have in Ellis County: our “view.” It is the view that was enjoyed by people who settled in this area long before us.

Those early settlers were true stewards of the land. They raised animals and crops in the area. Those people improved the area rather then destroying it by greed and misinformation promoting a sense of progress.

Arriving in Copeland, I visited with my client and remarked about what I had seen. She would only say she was glad she didn’t have to look at the turbines or have them spoiling what she had come to enjoy.

Without having made the trip, I would have never been aware at how surreal or even frightening the turbines must be to live under and with.

To have huge 40-story machines towering on the western skyline of Hays, tells everyone who will visit Hays, that we forfeited a precious resource, God’s grand landscape, and it was done for money. Not green energy, but greed energy.

When our heritage of our homes and lives is ruined, what will the people of Hays do?

Michael Fellows
2725 B Augusta Lane
Hays, Kansas

Ellis County Environmental Awareness

18 July 2007