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Wind farm cause for concern

Montgomery County landowners have begun breaking ground for the 100 turbine wind farm in Sugar Creek and Madison townships. Plans began in 2008, and were finalized in 2013. I encourage anyone living in rural Montgomery County to view the document online at the county recorder’s website. The economic development agreement between Sugar Creek Wind LLC and Montgomery County, Indiana, features a road use plan showing tower locations. Residents need to know where these towers will be placed.

Some experts state the safe distance for living beside a wind tower is 2-3 miles. In 2009, commissioners decided the towers can be placed just 1,300 feet from your property line. Research has been done worldwide that has proven potential health effects from living too close to wind towers include sleep disturbances, headaches, anxiety, memory dysfunction, dizziness and high blood pressure, to name just a few. In Brown County, Wisconsin, the health department there declared their local wind project a “human health hazard.” In Oklahoma, it was ruled that turbines cannot be placed more than 1.5 miles from schools. Indiana is lagging in its wind power regulation. Next door in District 54 Indiana State Rep. Tom Saunders wants a temporary suspension of wind development in Indiana due in part to the health issues they can cause.

I attended an economic development plan public workshop April 12. Participants were asked to place dots on places in the county where they felt industry should be. I heard some people comment that it was not a good practice to tell others what they should have in their backyard. The 2013 agreement exhibit B description of the development area states Madison and Sugar Creek townships as “undesirable for … normal development and occupancy because of a lack of development, cessation of growth, deterioration of improvements or character of occupancy, ages, obsolescence, substandard buildings.” I am amazed at the county’s description of the rural community which I treasure, and I fear the power of the almighty dollar is what’s driving this skewed view. If our townships are in fact so run down, it does not make sense to reduce property values by adding a highly-contested factor like a wind farm.

The wind industry is actively recruiting landowners in Coal Creek township. It may be too late for us in the eastern part of the county. I just remind those in the west to be informed as early as possible. The wind farm companies Apex and Akua are powerful corporations which have proven to not pay much mind to the rights and safety of the little guy. Not many of us were paying attention in 2008. The whole county needs to pay attention now. Don’t let the dot get put on you. Join us now on Facebook at No Wind Farm Montgomery County IN.

Tisha Southwood