February 11, 2012
Opinions, Wisconsin

Allowing wind siting rules to become law harms families, creates taxpayer burden

Steve Deslauriers, Wisconsin Citizens Coalition, www.wisinfo.com 10 February 2012

We commend the actions taken by the Brown County Board of Health, which continues to protect and advocate for the health and safety of Brown County families. The Brown County Board of Health resolutions make the clear connection from the state’s negligent actions since 2009 to the harm they have caused in the town of Glenmore. They call for emergency temporary relocation assistance (not medical payments) from the state for those suffering in the noise, electric pollution and shadows of the Shirley Wind Project.

The Shirley Wind Project included the construction of eight 500-foot-tall German made turbines at an expense of more than $13 million in taxpayer money, and after changing hands three times in its first year of operation, it is now owned by a North Carolina company. At least six families living in the Shirley Wind Project are reporting health issues, and two of these families have reluctantly vacated the homes they still own to regain their health. This suffering was the impetus behind the Brown County Board of Health taking the action they did – calling for the state to temporarily assist the families that they had a large role in harming. (All of this taxpayer charity and citizen suffering has resulted in one permanent Wisconsin job.)

Wind turbine setbacks need to be based on science. The siting criteria used for the Shirley project is strikingly similar to the pending PSC wind siting rules. These siting rules were suspended last March by the state legislative Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR), stating that its contents “… create an emergency relating to public health, safety or welfare; are arbitrary and capricious; and impose an undue hardship on landowners and residents adjacent to wind-turbine sites.” Never have truer words been spoken.

The state’s missteps that led to this suspension were numerous. The majority of members on the Wind Siting Council had huge financial interests in wind development and created regulations that would directly financially benefit their own interests. The staffing requirements in the law that formed this council were ignored in some appointments. The peer reviewed health studies that were available during the creation of the rules were completely ignored. The rules contain different turbine setbacks from homes than from property lines, constituting nothing short of state-endorsed property takings. And unless the PSC drafts new regulation or the state Legislature passes new legislation, these very rules, which created the “public health emergency” and “undue hardships” last March, become law in five weeks.

Every wind-developed area of Wisconsin has left in its wake divided communities, broken families, health issues and home abandonment. Now Brown County is the site of the state’s latest natural experiment on wind development, and its own citizens are the guinea pigs. The state’s liability is clear. It is simply un-American to force families from their own homes due to no fault of their own. Or worse, because of the financial inability to flee their homes to regain their health, force people to live in an environment making them and their children extremely sick.

Letting the PSC’s wind siting rules become law in March will harm more Wisconsin families, create another taxpayer burden for all Wisconsin citizens, and cement the legal liability of the state by knowingly creating the “public health emergency” that the JCRAR suspension last March sought to prevent.

Steve Deslauriers is a volunteer spokesperson for Wisconsin Citizens Coalition, the group of organizations listed as authors of the “Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines” http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wisconsin-Citizens-Safe-Wind-Siting-Guidelines.pdf

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/02/11/allowing-wind-siting-rules-to-become-law-harms-families-creates-taxpayer-burden/