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What’s the true cost of wind energy?  

Credit:  New Richmond News, www.newrichmond-news.com 5 November 2010 ~~

The wind turbine developer called the plan for Forest Township a “wind farm.”

Some 39 wind towers 50 stories tall, in a 36-square-mile community with six homes average per square mile doesn’t sound like a wind farm to me. It was unimaginable to many people that our town government would enter into an agreement of this magnitude without a public hearing.

Yet, this pattern of irresponsible developers, secrecy in signup, town board manipulation and outright lies has been repeated throughout Wisconsin. Good people made bad decisions. Families and friendships have been torn apart.

All of this happened because one energy outfit on the government dole stood to make a lot of money and cast its line into our community. The hook was set and the bait was swallowed. Renewable energy is important, but to call this particular flavor of divide and conquer “responsible energy” is in the least an oxymoron.

Good people made decisions to site wind turbines on their land for cash payment. I understand times are tough and people are suffering financially. So is my family.

Our 40 acres is part of my family’s Century Farm. We love our land. But, if we are forced to live next door to Turbine No. 18, our acreage will become a buffer zone limiting our right to use and enjoy our land. If we are forced to sell, good luck to us to get fair market value or even an offer. Property studies reveal an undeniable trend of decreased values ranging from 12 to 40 percent. And we are just one of more than 200 landowners facing property devaluation.

Health, safety, noise, as well as property devaluation – these are the issues of irresponsible wind turbine siting. Low frequency vibration is not harmless and affects muscles, organs and bones. Perhaps you won’t sleep well at night because of noise or are sensitive to motion and prone to migraines. Consider interruption of your favorite TV program and loss of cell phone service.

Imagine your windows blacked out with blinds, shut tight against noise and shadow flicker, even on those delightful days and nights of late spring and early summer. These claims and health issues are not fabrications; they affect humans at least within a one-half mile setback. Some experts claim only a one-mile setback is safe; others claim two miles. People throughout the state are living daily with these problems. Irresponsible wind siting projects will not stop in St. Croix County, unless rules that create de facto eminent domain are stopped at a state level.

Hosting landowners argue that they have the right to use their land anyway they wish. But it’s one thing to site a 500-foot turbine 1,100 feet from your own home and another to force it on your neighbor. Some developers offer “good neighbor” payments to occupied residences within a certain distance of a turbine. However, accepting a token payment eliminates the neighbor’s right to lodge complaints against wind turbines grievances. And what about those good neighbors whose homes are just outside the mark?

As nonparticipating landowners in Forest Township, we will not stand still to be judged as collateral damage for the benefit of big wind. Everyone in every township should know the truth and responsible decisions need to be made.

The quality of everyone’s lives depends on it. In conclusion, I would like to pose a question to everyone reading these words. Please – ask yourselves, what is the true cost of renewable wind energy?

Brenda Salseg

Forest Township

St. Croix County

Source:  New Richmond News, www.newrichmond-news.com 5 November 2010

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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