One of the three members of the Public Service Commission who voted for the wind turbine siting rules last month noted in a letter to two top state lawmakers that the panel can revise the rules to address the potentially harmful health effects of the turbines.
“While I support the overall rule because it will promote the development of wind in Wisconsin, the rule fails to provide a much-needed safety net for people whose health declines because of a wind turbine located near their home,” Commissioner Lauren Azar wrote to legislative officials in an Aug. 31 letter.
“As new information becomes available, the Commission can revise this rule.”
Azar wasn’t available this week to comment on her proposal that would require wind turbine owners to purchase the home of anyone who can prove that the turbine has a significant adverse health outcome. An aide in her office said Azar’s letter speaks for itself.
Invenergy LLC wants to build a 100-turbine wind farm in the towns of Morrison, Glenmore, Wrightstown and Holland with turbines that produce more than 100-megawatts of energy. CH Shirley Wind LLC is erecting eight 20-megawatt turbines in Glenmore.
An Invenergy spokesman said last month that the company plans to resubmit its application for the Ledge Wind Farm project, noting that the health issue has been studied by numerous groups that concluded there is insufficient evidence to prove the turbines put people and animals at risk.
That proposal has prompted the creation of a Brown County citizens group speaking out against the wind turbine industry, arguing there hasn’t been sufficient study on health impacts.
Carl Kuehne, a member of the board of directors of the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, said the absence of definitive evidence on the health impact of wind turbines is reason enough to conduct more studies.
“No. 1, there is no need to move ahead today with more wind turbines in Wisconsin,” Kuehne said.
“The utilities are currently meeting the energy mandates set by the state government. So let’s study the situation. There’s certainly enough ad hoc evidence that wind turbines do have an impact on people and animals. Let’s study it and find out before we create more destruction on people. We have the opportunity.”
Last month, the PSC adopted rules for projects less than 100 megawatts. The rules can be altered by the state Legislature and lawmakers can ask the PSC to make changes. The issue has been assigned to the Assembly’s Committee on Energy and Utilities, which is led by Jim Soletski, D-Ashwaubenon, but no meeting date has been set.
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