Good people wouldn’t do this to their neighbors. This common refrain is being heard over eastern Howard County where industrial development is planned for our farmland in the form of massive wind turbines.
It is amazing that county ordinances permit construction of the equivalent of a 40-story building without comment from those they will be near. Why did we come here in the first place? It was to get away from the noise and congestion of the towns. Unfortunately, those who sold us the land may be the ones who will wreck our solitude for a few bucks.
It is sad to have our farmland, some of the world’s most productive, abused this way. In the meeting held last week in the Greentown Library, we heard testimonies from our Tipton County neighbors who already have experience with these turbines and came to warn us.
Calling these machines “green” is mistaken thinking. They are industrial sized and will significantly impact our roads, farmland and quality of life. We’ve no idea how local wildlife will fare. Wind turbines adversely affect birds, and other creatures will simply leave or avoid this area.
Consider the land impact. The 500 yards of concrete needed to support each turbine weighs 2 million pounds. It will be deep and affect the aquifer and water quality of shallower wells. Cement is made of crushed limestone, heated to over 2,500 degrees and then ground into fine powder. This dirty process creates a lot of carbon dioxide, and more results from fossil fuels burned to produce the heat. Weren’t we trying to avoid CO2?
Once in the ground, it is there for good, and that part of the field will be useless for farming. If a turbine is eventually decommissioned, the top portion of the cement can be removed to make that land again farmable, but the cement’s effect on subsurface water movement will be permanent.
Wind energy costs more than conventional sources and depends on subsidies. Its present availability explains the “emergency” for building these turbines now. As our government has done poorly at picking winners and losers, there is no assurance wind farms will be viable. Some wind company contracts contain removal clauses at the end of life, but bankruptcy could easily occur sooner as in the case of Solyndra, and guess who is stuck with them. Ours will quickly become a blighted area.
Tom Cornell, Greentown
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