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Brown County weighing its options for wind turbines

Brown County’s board of health is deciding what to do with eight wind turbines in the Town of Glenmore.

Last month, board members declared the Shirley Wind Project a human health hazard. No county or municipality is believed to have ever done that in the U.S.

After four years of researching wind turbines, the head of Brown County’s Board of Health says two studies and dozens of resident complaints led to its declaration.

“The first thing I want to say is the board of health has never ever said that we are opposed to wind energy,” said Audrey Murphy, the chairperson for the board. “Our only concern is the health of our citizens of Brown County.”

County officials say Glenmore area residents have filed 80 official complaints between the town and county. They say more than 50 affidavits have been filed with the state’s public service commission. The health complaints range from headaches to nausea, ear pain, vertigo, and sleep deprivation.

“Duke Energy Renewables operates more than 1,100 wind turbines across the country,” said Tammie McGee, a spokesperson for Duke Energy. “The only health complaints we’ve ever received are about the eight we have in Brown County.”

Brown County’s Board of Health says it wants to hear from Duke Energy before it makes any other decisions about the turbines.

“This is just the first step,” said Murphy. “I think we’ll move slowly and we’ll see what happens.”

A lawyer for Duke Energy says the company sent a letter to the county’s lawyer stating the company objects to the board of health taking any action correlating to any restriction and/or regulation to the Shirley wind turbines based on existing Wisconsin law.

The county hopes to meet with Duke Energy at a special meeting in January.