The future of a northern Michigan wind farm is in question – at the mercy of a lawsuit from a local family.
Charles and Debby Wiltzer filed a lawsuit against Heritage Sustainable Energy.
They say the turbine near their home in McBain, which is a part of the Stoney Corners Wind Farm, has made them sick.
According to court documents, the Wiltzer’s say infrasound from the turbines have made them ill in a number of different ways, on multiple occasions.
The lawsuit has many concerned about how it will impact them.
“I think they’re a great thing. If the wind farm is causing health effects, everybody that lives in that group, or underneath them or around them, we’d be dropping like flies.”
A turbine from the wind farm sits on Aaron Pluger’s property, he’s not convinced of the Wiltzer’s claims. He says overall, the benefits from the turbines are a great thing for the community.
“At the end of the month you get a little bit of a check in the mail, and you spend that money locally,” Pluger explains.
Those hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties, plus a $32 million taxable value could be at risk if the Wiltzer’s request is granted.
“Amongst other things, the Wiltzer’s have requested that the judge grant an injunction down one or more turbines as far away as 1.25 miles from their house is what’s in their pleading so that could be several turbines.”
Heritage Sustainable Energy, the developers of the park, are standing by their renewable resource.
“We don’t believe the lawsuit has merit. We believe all the evidence is in our favor, that what they’re alleging is not happening because of these turbines. We have consulted doctors who are experts in this and they agree, it’s not happening because of our turbines,” explains Heritage Sustainable Energy CEO, Marty Lagina.
Both Heritage and those who support the wind farm now vowing to fight to keep the turbines turning.
“If you shut ’em down they’re just gonna stand there, and what good is that?”
The Wiltzer family and their attorney declined to comment when 9 & 10 News reached out to them.
A hearing on the lawsuit is being held next week at the Wexford County courthouse.
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