The verbal exchange between juwi’s attorney with BZA President Jerry Acres at the Aug. 28 public hearing, relating to the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm property value guarantee, was eerily reminiscent of a conversation I had a couple weeks earlier with my 3-year-old son. Knowing better but feeling a bit ornery, my son insisted that the color blue was actually red and was adamant that I believe him. At the BZA hearing, juwi’s attorney made an appeal to Mr. Acres that was as absurd as my son’s. Yet, while such nonsensical persistence is cute when coming from an innocent 3-year-old, it lacks an endearing quality when coming from adults with ulterior motives.
The disrespectful tone of juwi’s address and the groundless accusations hurled at Mr. Acres, coupled with the characteristically untrue public statement issued by juwi’s CEO Michael Rucker last week, are a mockery of our county’s procedures and an insult to the intelligence of the county officials and citizens present that evening. Juwi revealed its true colors in what will go down in Tipton County history as one of the most bizarre public hearings. BZA President Jerry Acres proved his integrity and protected the integrity of the BZA that evening and will long be remembered as a hero of Tipton County.
Juwi has not forgotten the unprecedented nine-hour public hearing in March, filled with expert and public testimony that led up to the BZA’s decision to approve the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm with two clearly stated conditions. Juwi had its due process. It simply does not like the result of that process. Contrary to juwi’s unintelligible claims, ground rules were not arbitrarily changed at a moment’s notice. Juwi had no uncertainty of the ground rules for the Aug. 28 hearing; it simply made its best attempt to convince Mr. Acres the color blue is actually red. Thankfully, Mr. Acres did not fall for juwi’s illogical assertions.
Unfortunately, juwi and other wind energy companies seem willing to continue their efforts to cover residential rural areas with nearly 500-foot tall industrial wind turbines. As a county, we must prevent the invasive and unethical practices of such companies going forward. As revisions to the ordinance are set to take place in the very near future, the Planning Commission has the prime opportunity to ban industrial wind turbines in Tipton County. Tipton can easily follow the lead of Marshall County, which has already taken such action to preserve the unity and integrity of the community. If the Planning Commission and our commissioners leave the door open for wind energy companies in the future, the absurdity of the Aug. 28 BZA hearing will become the norm, and litigation will be a new way of life for Tipton County. The true colors of wind energy companies have been clearly revealed in this lengthy process.
Nathan D. Salsbery