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State asked to test wind turbine impact on health

The Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors thinks the State of Wisconsin should conduct and pay for a study on the health impacts of wind turbines on human health.

Supervisors voted 23-0 to send a resolution to Madison to try and get some answers for residents who told sad stories about their health deteriorating.

Light applause broke out in the Legislative Chambers at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“This is the best thing that has happened to us in the past five years,” Elizabeth Ebertz said after the show of support for the resolution. “I’m not against the farmers or anyone – I just want my sleep back.”

Ebertz lives near 12 turbines that are part of the Blue Sky Green Field wind project near St. Cloud.

Ebertz and several others who live near wind turbines spoke about the headaches, joint pain and exhaustion and other problems they experience when turbines are operating.

Jim Vollmer said he’s happy that the resolution will be sent on to Madison.

“Maybe it will get some of us some peace of mind,” he said, “and maybe some rest.”

Vollmer sold his house due to his health concerns but says he works near a wind farm near Eden.

Joan Lagerman of Malone said she could call police if a dog was barking but she “has no one to call” when she is awoken in the middle of the night from the noise of the turbines.

Supervisor Bob Giese said he didn’t believe the county had the expertise, time or money to conduct an independent study of the sound and light that appears to be impacting residents. He said he thinks a study is needed to find some answers.

Supervisor Jim Kiser said he never understood the benefit of having the turbines in the county. He said he believes they are federally subsidized and that none of the power is used in Wisconsin.

Those owning property where a turbine is placed reportedly signed documents that bar them from revealing the amount they are paid, but neighbors said it is around $4,200 per year (with increases) in the northeast part of the county and around $5,200 per year around Brownsville.

Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel said the turbines aren’t taxed but the county and townships receive payments through a revenue-sharing formula that is based on turbine output. The county receives $642,000 in total revenue, he said, and the townships divide a smaller amount.

There are 168 wind turbines in Fond du Lac County but the county was not part of decisions that individual townships made to allow them.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) who represents a portion of Fond du Lac County, was in attendance at the meeting. After the vote, he was in the hallway speaking to the dozen or so wind turbine neighbors who turned out. Grothman was planning to visit their homes and hear about the impact that the turbines has on their lives.