A group of Brown County residents opposing the rules for wind turbines in four communities located in the southern part of the county is accusing the regulatory agency that came up with the siting regulations of dirty politics.
“Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy believe these rules directly threaten the health, safety and financial well-being of countless rural Wisconsin communities,” said Steve Deslauriers of Greenleaf, a spokesman for the group.
The PSC last week voted unanimously to send updated wind turbine siting rules back to the state Legislature.
The updated rules reduce the setback requirement from nonparticipating property owners to either 1,250 feet or three times the maximum blade tip height, whichever is less. They also reduce the amount of payments to nonparticipating property owners adjacent to land that includes a turbine.
According to Deslauriers, the new rules ignored concerns from a Senate committee and those of many organizations that the setbacks were insufficient and that there should be further study of the potential health impact of turbines.
He also said the timing of the rules update is unfair because the Legislature is in transition after the recent election and legislators are preparing for the holidays. He called the PSC action “the embodiment of dirty politics.”
The House and Senate energy committees have until Dec. 23 to respond to the updated rules. If no action is taken, the rules will go into effect Jan. 1.
The original wind siting rules approved in August by the Public Service Commission are not expected to have a big impact on a Chicago-based company’s attempts to build a 100-turbine wind farm in southern Brown County.
Invenergy wants to build a 100-turbine wind farm in the towns of Morrison, Glenmore, Wrightstown and Holland. The company has said it will re-submit its application once the siting rules take effect.
The PSC established guidelines for local governments to set restrictions on projects less than 100 megawatts in generating capacity. But the Ledge Wind project proposed by Invenergy would exceed 100 megawatts.
A spokesman for the PSC said Tuesday officials were in meetings an unavailable for comment.
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