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Officials say turbines legally a local decision

We have all heard the opinion expressed that local officials’ hands are tied as far as regulating wind energy development, and that if concerned citizens want changes they need to contact their state lawmakers.

So I contacted Alan Lasee, and he wrote me back with the following comments in a Dec. 6, 2007 letter: “The decision to approve or reject the construction of windmills will be made at the local level. If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to contact your local elected officials so they are aware of your views. I will continue to monitor this situation and keep in touch with local elected officials.”

I also contacted Representative Al Ott, who responded to me this way in a Dec. 6, 2007 letter: “As you know, the permitting of commercial wind energy projects generating under 100 megawatts of energy falls under the jurisdiction of local town and county governments.”

So it is clear that the state has no intention of regulating wind energy projects, or of getting involved in local regulations. And do not depend on the federal government to play a role either; they are too preoccupied with passing reckless energy policies and farm policies in response to political and special interest pressures.

On the other hand, it has become clear to me that local ad hoc advisory wind energy groups working both for the Town of Chilton and for Calumet County have done a fantastic job of gathering significant, unbiased facts regarding the health and safety effects of wind energy projects, and have put forth excellent recommendations to elected officials based upon those facts. It is now up to elected officials at the town and county level to act responsibly on these ad hoc group recommendations. Now is not the time for elected officials to be intimidated by the threats, promises, or smooth talk of the wind energy developers.


Donald J. Voogt PE

Town of Chilton

Tri-County News

17 January 2008