LANSING – While decision makers and wind energy manufacturers discussed the triumphs and challenges of the wind energy boom throughout the state, opponents worked to spread their message that turbines threaten public health, wildlife and the economy.
Approximately two dozen protesters marched in front of the Kellogg Center Tuesday while a forum hosted by the American Wind Energy Association was taking place inside.
The protest, which was organized by the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition Inc., was an attempt to bring awareness to the group’s belief that turbines are not only a waste of taxpayer dollars, they are destructive to those who live in their vicinity.
Following the protest, the group held its own convention, which featured speakers whose lives have been negatively impacted by wind parks and leaders who are attempting to change state policy regarding turbines.
Marcia Ledet, of Huron County, Ohio, made the trip to Lansing in hopes of protecting others from experiencing what she and her family went through. Ledet said her life changed after three turbines were erected near her backyard.
“We choose to live out in the country where it’s peaceful. To put these industrial turbines up in the sky, it’s just not a good picture,” she said.
She is also concerned about tax credits and subsidies wind energy companies receive.
“If they didn’t have a tax credit, they wouldn’t be putting up the turbines. They should stand on their own,” she said. “It’s like a disease spreading. It’s ran rampant. The more you know about wind, the less you like it.”
Susie Ploep, of Sanilac County, said she was pro-wind energy before she learned about the industry.
“I’m all for things that are better for the environment, but in the long run, wind energy isn’t,” she said.
Kevon Martis, senior policy analyst for the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, said the push for wind energy will drive up energy prices, destroy rural landscapes, harm wildlife and damage the health of people who live near turbines.
He said he the coalition plans to host an annual convention to continue to inform the public about the perils of wind energy.
“This may be a much smaller group than upstairs, but you can’t believe the impact you have,” Martis told convention attendees.
Cary Shineldecker, of Ludington, spoke of his first-hand experience with a wind development near his home.
He said his home and property is valued at $230,000. After the wind park was built, he put it on the market, where it stayed for four years. Recently, he accepted an offer of $139,000.
He said the closest turbine is located 1,139 feet from his home, and he can see 26 turbines from his property.
“We’re impacted no matter which way the wind is blowing, night or day,” he said.
The noise and light flicker generated by the turbines caused the family to experience multiple health problems. Eventually, Shineldecker and his wife moved their bedroom into the basement so they could sleep without disruption.
Shineldecker complained about the turbines, and testing confirmed they were in violation of the county’s zoning ordinance, but for noise and for flicker. He won a lawsuit for an unclosed amount for the damages the turbines caused, and he is planning to move to an area were turbines are not part of the landscape.
IICC is a bi-partisan renewable energy watchdog group committed to energy policy that is economically sound, environmentally sensitive and socially responsible. For more information about the group, see iiccusa.org.