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Wind turbines considered in Hazelton Township

HAZELTON TWP. – During the June 12 meeting of the Hazelton Township Board, residents brought their concerns about the wind turbines. Residents invited a couple of very knowledgeable individuals who had a lot to say.

In last week’s issue, the Citizen focused on what Norm Stephens had to say about wind turbines. This week, the focus is primarily on Robert Callard’s statements.

Richard White, president of the New Lothrop School Board, explained the purpose of the wind ordinance is to protect the public.

He said, “Any person on the township board should remove themselves from voting on it, if they have a conflict of interest.” He went on to list some of the specifications he recommended to protect residents, such as the decibel levels, absence of shadow flicker, distance to neighboring properties.

Robert Callard of Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County told the Hazelton Township Board, “I’m surprised, you’re very much ahead of the eight ball. There are things like bird and bat kills [that should be considered].”

Callard introduced himself as a graduate of Chesaning High School, with a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University.

Callard talked about the problem of wind turbines resulting in bird and bat kills. He told the board there was a study in Canada which calculated that each wind turbine kills approximately 85 bats per year.

“Being this is a farm community, there are other farm impacts to consider. A lot of times the farmer thinks he has the control over where access roads are built,” he said. Callard explained there have been instances where the access roads have been placed in such a way to hinder farming.

Callard also talked about a problem with wind turbines interfering with internet, cell phone service, and even 9-1-1 emergency service calls.

He explained land owners need to have a good lawyer looking over the contracts. Callard gave an example of a case where a contract allowed the lease holder to use the farm as collateral on loans. The wind company borrowed money against the farm, without informing the landowner.

“There’s a lot of Teflon in those blades and it’s ending up in the ground water,” Callard said. He also said, Teflon is a toxin.

As the public comment closed, Hazelton Township Supervisor James Sheridan said, “We had a lot of good discussion tonight.”

The Shiawassee County Planning Board has also been preparing an ordinance to govern wind turbines across the county. The next meeting of that board is Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. on the first floor of the Surbeck Building, 201 North Shiawassee St. in downtown Corunna.