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Strict rules needed on wind turbines  

I was reading through the new Trempealeau County wind ordinances that were adopted Dec. 17 and noticed two things:

n A one-mile setback for each wind turbine from the nearest structure used as a residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment or public library, unless mitigation has taken place and agreed to by affected property owners.

n Audible noise due to wind energy facility or wind turbine operations shall not exceed the lesser of a 5-decibel increase over the existing background noise level, or exceed 40 decibels for any period of time when measured at any structure used as a residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment, or public library.

The ad hoc committee that was appointed in Calumet County, after much research, documentation and testimonials has come up with similar, but more lenient ordinances for wind power-generating systems.

The ordinance calls for an 1,800-foot setback from a residence. This is much less than the 1-mile setback in Trempealeau County, but hopefully will be enough based on the committee’s research.

After much research, documentation and many testimonials, the ad hoc committee has also come up with a recommended noise ordinance, which looks to me to be similar to the Trempealeau County ordinance. The ordinance states that audible sound emitted by wind turbine operations shall not be greater than 5 decibels above the background noise level for the quietest period of the day.

This is a good recommendation, but must be strictly enforced in order to be effective.

I call on the elected Calumet County Board members, who do not have a conflict of interest in the issue, to pass both the 1,800-foot setback ordinance and the 5 decibels-above-background-noise ordinance to protect the health and safety of the citizens who elected them.



The Sheboygan Press

11 January 2008

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