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Howard, Tipton folks are on equal footing

On July 22, a letter writer stated the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development does not understand how local government works. She speaks of the wind farm opposition showing up at the 11th hour to voice their concerns about wind farms at the County Planning Commissioners meeting at the Fairgrounds.

I believe the Tipton County CRD knows full well how the local government is supposed to work and is trying to adhere to the guidelines in the Indiana state governing rules. However, when leaseholders and wind farm developers have been signing leases and making plans behind closed doors since 2008 or earlier – meetings the majority of Tipton citizens have not been privy to (in fact, one landowner in Windfall was escorted out of a planning meeting for current and potential leaseholders before the Wildcat I Wind Farm broke ground) – then it is only at the 11th hour that the wind farm plans become public knowledge.

By this time applications have already been made, county commissioners have received payments, and leaseholders have received and continue to receive annual payments in anticipation of their bounty when the turbines are up and running.

As for surveys being a valid representative sampling and the procedures followed, this is the legal means of local governments revising their comprehensive plans to gather information. Did the leaseholders not get the memo?

As for the statement, “more than 40 of the 125 people who opposed wind farms in Tipton County were not even Tipton County landowners” in February, many landowners of Howard County received letters (18 households in Chippendale received these certified letters) from the juwi lawyers stating that their property would be affected by the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, thus giving them a right to attend every meeting and speak up for their rights. When one county infringes on the property rights of the citizens in their neighboring county, then they are on equal footing with that county’s citizenry.

At the July 18 Planning Commissioners’ meeting, the following question was asked of the commissioners: If the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm becomes operational, how would the complaints of the Howard County citizens be handled? The planning commissioner’s answer was that Howard County citizens’ complaints would be handled just like Tipton County citizens’ complaints. I believe that says that Howard County citizens equal Tipton County citizens in terms of wind farm development.

In addition, I take offense when someone says they believe America needs wind energy, but they don’t want to give up any of their rights to fund this energy. They just want to put it on their neighbor’s tab. They will force their neighbors to give up their value in their home, their ability to use their own land safely, and their neighbors’ health may even suffer. Oh, but they are doing this because of their love and concern for America. Were the roles reversed, they would be screaming foul.

These statements of concern for America and the environment are hollow. If there were no monetary gain, there would be none of this “clean energy talk” and caring for America.

Kim McNeill