Recently, a guest column by Brian Duncan appeared under the headline “Local farm bureau supports wind energy development”.
I object to that article on two levels.
In the first place, as a member of the Ogle County Farm Bureau (OCFB), I object to Mr. Duncan presenting the appearance that his support is not his personal opinion but the opinion of the local Farm Bureau membership.
Secondly, I object to several of the arguments that he presents as emotional and not based in reason.
I know local farmers that do not support wind farms in Ogle County, so I ask Mr. Duncan what portion of the OCFB membership does support them?
Furthermore, I contacted the office of the president of the Illinois Farm Bureau about the official Farm Bureau position on wind energy.
I received a reply from Rae F. Payne, senior director, Business & Regulatory Affairs, Illinois Farm Bureau.
Mr. Payne wrote, and I quote, “Illinois Farm Bureau has policy supporting wind energy as a component of a national energy policy. We do not, however, take a position either for or against individual wind farm projects. We work through County Farm Bureaus to provide information to landowners who have been approached by wind developers regarding their rights and what they should know before they sign easement agreements, etc.”
I feel that the actions of Mr. Duncan and others at the Ogle County Farm Bureau have gone far beyond “providing information to landowners.”
I also find some of his reasoning to be questionable.
This topic has received a significant amount of attention in the last couple of years and as residents of Ogle County we know much more than we did a few years ago.
Maybe we do not know enough yet, but we are learning.
Mr. Duncan seems to have a problem with the fact that “(n)ow, before one wind turbine has been constructed in Ogle County, the county board has undertaken a complete review of the permit standards.”
I would ask Mr. Duncan what better time is there to review the standards?
Why wait until some towers are built and we have to live with the problems that they may cause? Let’s do it right the first time!
Mr. Duncan presents his opinion that the WECS recommendations should be ignored.
As he acknowledges, he was a member of that committee.
The recommendations received at least a majority of support and some recommendations did receive unanimous support.
So why should we ignore them just because they are more restrictive than the requirements set up in other counties several years ago?
We have no way of knowing how much work and knowledge went into the regulations adopted by those other counties.
Maybe our proposed regulations are more restrictive because our representatives did a better job.
The membership of the county board has changed since 2005.
That is because the voters decided they were not happy with some of the work that was done previously.
That is also a good reason to ask if some regulations should change.
Mr. Duncan says that the recommendations would “create an environment that is anti-business and anti-economic development.”
Are wind towers the only kind of economic development there is?
If wind farms are bad for the health of the residents, why is it justifiable to build them just because they would bring some short term jobs?
A few weeks of work does not justify 40 years of flicker, strobing and vibration.
Yes, Ogle County needs jobs, but we need long term jobs doing safe work that does not degrade the quality of life here.
Mr. Duncan points out that local government bodies are “experiencing revenue shortfalls”.
As he says the taxes on the wind farms are set by the Illinois General Assembly and are reviewed every five years.
The wind farms, if built, will be around for many years.
Are you sure that the taxes will be there as long as the towers will be?
Byron is dealing with the reality of the changing taxes from the nuclear plant.
Shall we create another similar situation?
He complains that the setbacks are excessive and would allow the owner of a small piece of land to control the placement of wind turbines on a larger area.
Is he trying to say that the small land owner doesn’t have the right to protect his land just because a wind tower would generate some tax revenue?
How much property tax revenue will the county get if that small land owner has to move for health reasons and cannot sell his land because no one wants to live near a tower?
What if that non-participating landowner owns a large amount of land?
Is Mr.Duncan saying that a tower too near his house is not a problem because he has enough land to just build another house?
Setback from a residence is the issue not whether that residence is on five acres or 500 acres.
All of this discussion is revolving around a flawed concept.
A lot of people support wind farms because they are a type of renewable energy, regardless of all other facts.
Yes, they would produce some electricity if there was enough wind to turn them at a fast enough speed.
Wind turbines that do not turn, do not produce energy!
If you want to develop and encourage true renewable energy, support reasonable government subsidies that are based on energy actually produced, not capacity that could be used if we had as much wind as Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wyoming.
Illinois doesn’t need more wind towers to get more energy. We need more wind!
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