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Moffitt addresses neighboring wind farm bill

PRINCETON – Though the state of Wisconsin is considering a moratorium on wind farm construction, Illinois legislators are not following that path at this time.

Wisconsin State Sen. Frank Lasee has introduced a Health Study for Wind Turbine legislation which would create a moratorium on future wind turbines in Wisconsin until the Public Service Commission receives a report from the Department of Health Services regarding the health impacts on people and animals.

According to Lasee’s press release, expert witnesses have stated industrial wind turbines can cause a variety of health problems, including sleep disturbance, headache, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, irritability, panic episodes, and depression.

Illinois State Rep. Don Moffitt said he was not aware of any similar bills in Illinois at this time, but that could change overnight.

When considering a similar bill for Illinois, Moffitt said he would want to make sure any positions are based upon objective and independent science, not on emotion. It’s good to raise questions and to get answers when it comes to concerns about public safety, but those questions need to be based upon independent, scientific and objective findings, he said.

The state of Illinois has already addressed issues surrounding the development of the wind industry within the state and has dealt with needed regulations, such as setbacks, Moffitt said.

In previous years, Illinois has gone through similar types of concerns with other land and farm-based operations, such as concerns about livestock farms causing health issues, the use of farm chemicals, and aerial spraying of crops, Moffitt said. Those issues were addressed and studies completed to make sure public safety is not threatened and is the top priority, he said.

Looking specifically at the wind farms, Moffitt said there are many merits to the wind farm industry. Wind energy is a renewable resource and a domestic resource, both of which are important. The wind industry create jobs locally in the construction and maintenance of wind farms. Plus, wind farms increase the tax base for local governments. These are all huge benefits, he said.

Again, concerns surrounding wind farms and any other industry all need to be addressed thoroughly and completely, but the issues must be examined with a scientific and objective approach, Moffitt said.