Just up the road from Mishicot, three families have been forced to move out of their homes because of 500-foot Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) that are too close to their homes. Their children were too sick to sleep and too sick to learn at school. Adults in the homes were sick, too. Because of this, these three families are paying for two homes, one they can’t even live in. Others in the area want to leave their homes, but they can’t afford to.
I don’t want to see this happen in Mishicot and neither does the town board. Yet the Manitowoc County Board doesn’t care. They are taking the easy way out and are choosing not to protect the citizens they should be putting first. Our government is supposed to protect us and there is still time for the county board to take the right course of action.
There is mounting evidence around the world, not just in our back yard, that IWTs cause health problems. In the country of Denmark, IWTs are no longer allowed anywhere on land because they recognize that families are hurt when they must live near IWTs. In other countries, they are placing ever increasing setback requirements.
The PSC wind siting commission was deliberately stacked with wind proponents and excluded evidence of harm to people to further the industry’s desires at the expense of regular families.
Several decades ago, it was believed that tobacco and X-rays didn’t hurt people’s health. Eventually cigarettes were proven to cause cancer and X-rays were, too. That’s why we wear protective jackets while getting X-rays and cigarettes carry cancer warnings. As history has shown, what is said to be safe today is proven unsafe tomorrow. Are IWTs going to be the next cancer-causing agent? Does the low frequency sound they produce cause real, lasting damage to kids and their families?
Alyssa Ashley, a young woman from Glenmore, and her family moved out of her childhood home because she was suffering from low frequency sound produced by 500-foot IWTs that were built near their home in October 2010. She had severe headaches, ear pain, and couldn’t sleep for weeks and months on end. Alyssa couldn’t concentrate at or perform her school work. In fact she often fell asleep at school because she couldn’t sleep in her own bed. This all started with the 500-foot wind towers near her home. Her nightmare partially ended when her family moved away. Now they pay two mortgages, one for a house they can’t live in and can’t sell.
Sadly, Alyssa’s story is not unique in the Glenmore area. Several other families have moved out of their homes and pay two mortgages. There are other families that simply can’t afford to move and pay twice for a place to live. Could you and your family?
I want to be clear. I am all for wind energy as long as it doesn’t cause health problems and isn’t subsidized by taxpayers and electric users. We do not need to rush to build more 500-foot IWTs; Wisconsin already has the capacity to make 35 percent more electric energy than we need. Why would we be paying for more electricity generation when we have a plant closing just up the road because of the abundant, less costly electricity available on the market today?
The Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors must take a stand to protect the health and safety of the people they represent because the PSC has failed them. A moratorium must be called for in Manitowoc County until further studies of the harm caused by low frequency sound from 500-foot IWTs have been conducted.
The experience of the families of Glenmore can be avoided. Mishicot families deserve this protection. I urge you to contact your county board supervisor to protect your friends, neighbors and pocketbook.
Frank Lasee is a state senator in the First Senate District.
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