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Committee: Taxpayers should pay medical bills of people sickened by wind energy farm

GREEN BAY – A county committee says Wisconsin taxpayers should have to cover the medical bills of people who got sick after a new wind energy farm opened near their homes.

The Brown County Human Services Committee said the state allowed a, “irresponsible placement” of industrial wind turbines at the Shirley Wind Farm south of Green Bay in the town of Glenmore.

The facility opened in 2010, and nearby residents have complained of anxiety, weight loss, depression, and higher risks of cancer.

Barbara Vanden Boogart of the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy said two adults only get an hour-and-a-half of sleep each night due to the noise – and a 70-year-old woman lost 20 pounds because the windmills made her lose her appetite.

The wind farm’s owners insist the site is run safely. But the county human service panel says the state should have consulted an expert on the health risks of living near wind turbines.

Panel members say they have no idea how the state will respond. And they’re not sure how much compensation to ask for until, “hardships are studied and resolved.”

Statewide rules for locating wind turbines were suspended by GOP lawmakers last March, and the matter has been in limbo since then.

Senate Republican Frank Lasee of De Pere has proposed a bill to let officials go back to establishing their own rules.