Town Board of Forest has announced that on August 27, 2015, the St. Croix Circuit Court ordered the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to hold further hearings before approving the construction of the Highland Wind Farm project. Judge Edward Vlack found that the Commission failed to provide a fair process during the original hearings, and failed to base its findings on evidence in the record. Judge Vlack wrote that “the Commission seems to have forgotten the PUBLIC part of its name, because it simply argues that because it was not under any obligation to grant any accommodation, then whether the evidence in the record is substantial or not is insignificant.”
On remand, the Commission will have to re-examine the compliance standard governing the noise the wind turbines will generate, and the inclusion of additional residents with health problems into a sensitive residents groups afforded lower noise limits. The Town of Forest looks forward to the new hearing before the Commission, and to the opportunity to be heard on the public health concerns its residents have raised over the Highland Wind Farm project.
The Town has long fought and will continue to oppose the Highland Wind Farm project, which would place 42 500-foot tall wind turbines close to homes. The Shirley Wind Farm project, a wind farm designed by the same company behind the Highland Wind Farm project and which uses similar turbines, has been declared a public health hazard by the Brown County Board of Health after its excessive noise led families to abandon their homes.
In the next set of hearings before the Commission and beyond, the Town of Forest will use its resources to the fullest extent to prevent the same outcome for its residents. Jaime Junker, town of Forest Chairman has expressed, “Although the Town of Forest will continue to push for a thorough review from the PSC, the town hopes that the PSC will take a cautious step back and look at the situation of Brown County’s Shirley wind farm very carefully. It would be a mistake for the PSC to keep pushing this project forward while creditable information exists that a smaller, nearby project has failed to gain it’s community’s support for significant, documented health reasons. Health issues at the Shirley wind farm cannot be overlooked by the PSC at this time and need to be included in the re-hearing conversation”.
The content of this news release has been authorized by a unanimous vote of the Forest Town Board during a properly noticed board meeting.