In response to the recent letter to the editor by Brian Minish, Lincoln County Commissioners are not stuck in the past. They may have indicated several years ago that a wind farm looked somewhat appealing until they did their homework. When they began to learn about the facts and problems surrounding the industrial wind energy that Minish is proposing, they did exactly what the citizens of the county elected them to do; they put the current and future safety of the community first.
The thought of erecting hundreds of 500-foot wind turbines over half of the county raises justifiable concern about placing this kind of industrialization in one of the fastest growing counties in the USA. It raises concern on how this type of project fits into the long-range planning this county has done for land use. It raises concern that a company could march into a community touting their plan as green energy when, the facts actually prove just the opposite.
Industrial wind energy systems do not decrease CO2 emissions. It does little to decrease global warming, because wind is so unpredictable that we still have to have fossil fuel plants to back up the turbines. The fossil fueled plants have to stay on line to prevent black or brown outs when the wind is not blowing at a sufficient speed. It is also environmentally irresponsible, as it fragments wildlife habitat, can cause soil erosion and can even impact our ground water.
Furthermore, science from around the world has proven that the noise and infrasound produced by the turbines that Minish and his associates propose to erect, are more than an annoyance, it has been declared by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect. Further numerous studies have found that up to 30-40 percent of people are sensitive to this kind of modulating noise and that people do not become desensitized to this noise. In fact, they become more sensitive over time and longer range adverse health effects arise.
You see, the wind industry has known about these problems for over 30 years, but have denied their existence and have continually placed many humans in a sacrifice zone to promote their greed energy projects. When what they are really after is huge federal tax production credits (aka subsidies from our tax dollars) to build their projects, while paying no property or income taxes. Once they start building they don’t stop, and by the time the community knows the truth, the damage is done and they leave the community and local government trying desperately to protect its own constituents after the harm is done.
And yes, aesthetics does play into this decision. Who wants to live 1,200 feet from a 500-600 foot tower of oppressive dimension? Who wants to hear the modulating noise of an industrial wind turbine and have infrasound and shadow flicker penetrate your home, while watching some of your family suffer the adverse health effects?
Our county commissioners are doing their due diligence, just as any citizen would expect them to do on any topic. They are learning the facts, weighing all of the consequences of this proposal looking for what will protect this community now and in the future. That is their job. They are smart enough to know that guiding this county forward, into the future, means protecting our rural heritage, citizen health and safety, as well as property rights and values. As one commissioner said so well, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once you have let the genie out.” I support the efforts of our commissioners who are cautious and skeptical. Jim Schmidt, Dale Long and Dan King should be commended for their service to the county and I encourage them to keep doing what they are doing. After all, our quality of life should never be for sale.
Cindy Thomas is a retired registered nurse and along with her husband, have lived in rural Lincoln County the last 14 years.
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