Yolo County is in the final stages of granting a permit to CEMEX to put a large-scale wind turbine in Cache Creek at its gravel mining plant near Madison along Hwy 505. (The Yolo County Planning Commissioner heard the request on Thursday.)
The county claims that the wind turbine will have minimal to no effect on the surrounding environment and people who live in the area. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
First, the wind turbine will be monstrous. At 335 feet, it will be higher than the Statue of Liberty and will have flashing lights for aviation. As a result, the wind turbine has the potential to substantially degrade the existing visual character and quality of the scenic riparian area of Cache Creek and it’s surroundings.
Second, the county notes no impact with noise because the turbine will be located in a rural agricultural area with the nearest group of homes in Wild Wings, with no sensitive groups nearby. In fact, the Madison migrant center is only 1.5 miles away with a well attended pre-school and school. Wind turbines are well known to create excessive noise that affects people’s health with children especially sensitive. Oregon currently requires a two-mile setback to protect people from wind turbine noise.
Third, impacts to biological resources will be significant because the presence of an enormous wind turbine in a riparian corridor that concentrates wildlife is akin to putting a huge blender in the middle of one of our freeways!
Tens of thousands of birds and bats are killed by wind turbines every year. Birds are killed when hit by the blades; bats die when they fly into a low pressure zone created by the turbines and their lungs burst. There are 20 active Swainson’s hawk nests in the vicinity of CEMEX; as endangered, these birds must be protected.
Lastly, there are potential impacts to agriculture. Birds and bats are well known to feed on crop pests, providing a valuable service to farmers. A recent report by Science News reported that bats alone likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year.
• Contact the Yolo County Planning and Public works and your board of supervisors to oppose this project. At the very least, our county must require an environmental impact report.
DAVID LONG, Zamora
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