Everyone has heard about the pros and cons of wind farms and those attending a recent town hall-style meeting hosted by some Livingston County Board members heard mostly about the latter.
District one county board members Carolyn Gerwin and Earl Rients shared their own thoughts on wind energy and listened to questions and comments from a few audience members during Saturday’s event at Pontiac City Hall.
“We campaigned on more transparency and public involvement,” explained Gerwin.
Invenergy has revealed plans for the Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy Center, which would be located around Forrest. A handout from Invenergy indicates the wind farm would feature up to 140 turbines and would be sited on over 30,000 acres of private farmland throughout Livingston County.
No formal application has been filed with the county yet, although the company previously listed a targeted construction start date this fall with a targeted commercial operations start date in the fall of 2015.
“The new Invenergy turbines are 500 feet tall. They are massive structures. You can see them for miles and miles,” said Gerwin.
Guest speaker Ted Hartke discussed his family’s experience living in an Invenergy wind farm in Vermilion County.
“In January, they turned on these wind turbines and we all had sleepless nights. We prayed that we’d get used to the noise, but we did not. It got worse,” Hartke explained.
During his speech, in which his voice cracked with emotion a few times, Hartke said the noise of a “thump” from nearby turbines kept his family from falling asleep each night. He also said his family’s home was no longer peaceful and everybody was on a short fuse from a lack of sleep.
“We abandoned our home and now live in a double-wide mobile home trailer,” he added.
Livingston County Board member Earl Rients admitted there are two sides to every issue and called on people to look to God to determine the moral thing to do.
“Looking at the really big picture, I cannot see any benefit to our country,” stated Gerwin.
An out-of-state landowner attending the meeting asked who wind farms help while another man questioned the amount of electricity turbines produce.
Once Invenergy files an application for the wind farm, a series of meetings and public hearings will be scheduled and will involve the county’s Regional Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. The Livingston County Board eventually gets to vote on the matter once the hearing process is complete.
Gerwin and Rients also presented information on a hog farm near McDowell, which will be close to County Road 1400 North and the Weston Blacktop. It has reportedly been approved by the state but not constructed.
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