I was reading through the new Trempealeau County wind ordinances that were just adopted Dec. 17, 2007. Two things that I noticed they adopted were:
1. Each wind turbine shall be set back from the nearest structure used as a residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment or public library, a distance of one (1) mile, unless mitigation has taken place and agreed by owner/operator and affected property owners involved.
2. Audible noise due to Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operations shall not exceed the lesser of 5 decibels 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 existing on the date of approval of any Wind Energy Facility Siting Permit or Wind Turbine permit.
The Ad Hoc Committee that was appointed in Calumet County, after much research, documentation and testimonials has come up with similar but even more lenient ordinances. The County Board members, who do not have a conflict of interest on this subject, will be asked to pass an ordinance of an 1,800-foot setback from a residence. This is much less than the one mile passed by the Trempealeau County ordinance, but hopefully will be enough based on their research. This was passed with a 6 for and 4 against vote. There are three members of the Ad Hoc Committee that I believe are proposed to be putting up wind turbines on their property. If none of these members had a financial interest in this project, and were just voting based on research that was done the vote may have been unanimous.
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 that was passed. The Ad Hoc ordinance states that audible sound emitted by WES operations shall not be greater than five decibels above the background noise level for the quietest period of the day. This is a good recommendation but a man down at the Crescent Ridge Wind farm has told me that there is a proven noise problem there, but the energy company is passing the buck, and promising to sue the manufacturer of the generators, saying that the generator is noisier than the manufacturer said it would be. Would they sue a company that they plan on doing business with in the future? They told him this just hoping that he will give up and go away like others have. An ordinance based on noise is good, so it should be passed, but it’s not enough when dealing with big energy companies.
Therefore our elected Calumet County Board members, who do not have a conflict of interest, need to pass both the 1,800-foot recommended setback ordinance, and the five decibels above background noise ordinance to protect the health and safety of the citizens that elected them.
11 January 2008
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