Opponents of wind energy in Floyd County asked the county board of supervisors Tuesday to keep out or severely limit the industry, saying turbine farms will harm the countryside and spoil scenery.
Wind energy was not on the board’s agenda. Speakers used an open-comment period to submit a petition and an informational folder to county leaders, who took no action.
Opponents say their immediate aim is to protect Wills Ridge, whose heights are of interest to two wind-energy companies that have begun exploratory talks with landowners this summer.
“I don’t know what you might be able to do, but we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d try to do something to prevent this,” farmer Wayne Boothe said.
Boothe said he and three others collected 424 signatures on a petition titled “Floyd County Wind Turbine Buffer Zone Petition.” Three people declined to sign when he was taking it around, Boothe said.
The petition calls on Floyd County to adopt ridgeline protection. The goal is to prohibit structures as tall as a typical wind turbine, said Dave Dixon, who like Boothe lives in the Beaver Creek Road area north of 3,200-foot Wills Ridge.
The opponents said they would like to see Floyd County copy Patrick County, which passed a law designed to prohibit structures more than 100 feet tall, except telecommunications towers and church steeples, towers or spires.
If any wind turbines are allowed in Floyd County, they should be required to be at least half a mile from any home and a mile from any school or church, the petition pleads.
Horizon Wind Energy of Houston and Nordex USA, based in Chicago, have confirmed they have had exploratory talks with landowners in Floyd County about the possibility of leasing land for wind farms.
Wind power is clean, homegrown energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which says the domestic industry is progressing toward a presidential goal to generate 20 percent of electricity consumed in the United States by 2030.
Critics of wind energy believe the construction of turbines and generators will displace trees and topsoil, require placing roads in woodlands, threaten aquifers and turn neighbor against neighbor, while the operation of the equipment will make noise, require flashing lights, throw shadows, kill birds and wildlife, and spoil the scenery that makes Floyd County a special place to live and visit, according to the material given to supervisors.
“The people of this area don’t want to see this ridgetop destroyed,” Raymond Sinclair told supervisors.
The meeting marked the first time that Floyd supervisors heard sustained resident comment on the wind issue. County Administrator Dan Campbell said supervisors, who continued to meet for several hours, did not discuss the public’s comments or take any action. The wind matter could be placed on a future agenda, he said.
“Stay tuned,” he said.
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