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Soapbox: Windmill moratorium

I traveled to Boise on February 22 to speak in favor of the wind farm moratorium bill, sponsored by Rep. Erik Simpson of Idaho Falls.

I was disappointed that Power County Building Administrator Robert (Bob) Steinlicht was at the Capitol to speak on the side of the multinational wind corporations who do not want a moratorium.

Idaho has put off, for far too long, a realistic evaluation of the true costs of wind farms. These turbines are causing power rates for you, the homeowners, and irrigators, to increase. They are fueling the push for transmission lines, including – Gateway West and MSTI – across Power, Cassia and other Idaho counties.

The wind farm building frenzy has been fueled by the tax subsidies these companies receive and by the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), which forces utilities to purchase electricity produced by these wind projects.

At the hearing, John Eaton of the Idaho Realtors Association spoke of the decline Idaho realtors have seen in property values surrounding wind farms. I can now see turbines out every window of my home and hear them every time I step outside. My quality of life, my property value and my electricity rates have been negatively impacted by the Rockland Wind farm. Unlike wind corporations and participating landowners, I receive no profit from wind turbines.

It is the Building Administrator’s job to enforce the County’s regulations, not to take political sides. I don’t appreciate my tax dollars funding the Power County Building Administrator’s trips to the Capitol and his endorsement of future wind projects.

Rayma Cates

American Falls, Idaho