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Protesters, commissioners get tour of proposed wind turbine sites  

HUTCHINSON ISLAND – Dozens of people, some wielding protest signs, showed up Friday morning as commissioners toured two sites where Florida Power & Light Co. wants to place wind turbines.

Drawing the most ire from residents is a proposal to place four of the wind machines, which stretch more than 400 feet in height when a blade is fully extended, on public land at John Brooks and Frederick Douglass parks. The other five would be on FPL land near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant.

The crowd of people surrounded FPL officials at the two sites, firing off questions about the environmental impacts, the noise and the feasibility of the turbines working in Florida.

“I just didn’t expect there would be this kind of response,” said Commissioner Paula Lewis, one of three county commissioners who took part in the tours. “Please give us your questions.”

Commissioner Chris Craft said he expects commissioners may travel to visit the wind turbines FPL has in other states. The machines would be the first of their kind in Florida.

Craft said he had concerns about the shadow cast by the structures and noise.

“I want to stand underneath it. I want to walk 200 feet out from it,” he said.

Commissioner Doug Coward is the only commissioner so far to come out strongly against putting the wind turbines on public land. Other commissioners have said they are open to the idea, but Craft and Lewis stressed they were still learning about the technology and had made no final decision about whether it’s appropriate for the island.

County Attorney Dan McIntyre has advised commissioners not to consider the turbines for John Brooks park, though he said there are no legal impediments to placing a turbine on county land known as the “appliance dump.”

FPL is expected to approach commissioners, possibly as early as Tuesday, to seek approval for drilling into the land at the sites to test the soil.

By Derek Simmonsen

TCPalm

7 December 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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