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There are many perceptions coming from developers of an industrial wind farm in Lincoln County, as well as the upcoming vote of ordinance improvements that the Lincoln County Commissioners, along with the Planning and Zoning Board, have been studying for three years. These perceptions are coming from for-profit developers and lobby groups whose concern is only about their pocketbooks and to further their agenda at the cost of those who call Lincoln County home.
The reality of the upcoming vote on Tuesday, July 18, in Lincoln County, is that it has nothing to do with a ban and it has nothing to do with whether or not you want renewable energy. The referendum that Dakota Power Community Wind forced on our county will cost us roughly $25,000-$30,000. This is after the county spent three years reviewing all the information that was available to them. They made an informed decision and decided that larger distances were needed between industrial wind turbines and homes to protect all of us who live in Lincoln County. This is not a ban on wind energy, the revised ordinance that the county approved is for 2,640 foot setbacks from homes, but also makes it possible for a home owner that is closer than 2,640 feet to sign a waiver to place an industrial turbine closer than the approved distance. Often, this signed waiver is accompanied by a payment to the home owner. This isn’t about wanting renewable energy in Lincoln County either – again, they are misrepresenting what this vote is actually about. It isn’t about whether an industrial wind energy farm can be placed in our county. It’s whether one can be placed in our county at a distance from a home that maintains the health, safety and welfare of those who live in that home. Don’t forget, these are 400-500 foot tall towers of steel, with a wingspan that is longer than a football field. Experts continue to use science and reality to prove again and again the negative effects that these large industrial wind turbines will have on our health, quality of life and property values. When you hear developers and promoters of industrial wind say that this isn’t true they simply are wrong and misleading you because they don’t want to accept these facts as it would have a negative effect on their massive profits.
Recently they have been speculating on the amount of money that those hosting industrial wind turbines, as well as the local area, would receive from this project that they are promoting. It should be noted that these financial guesses are based on nothing more than what they want us to believe. They have absolutely no idea how many turbines will be built, if any. They have absolutely no idea how much power will be produced and what that power will sell for. These financial speculations are only done on paper with unknown information. We all need to realize that the taxes that will stay local are limited and for the entire 30-40 year life of the project. Eighty percent of the gross receipts tax goes to the state, as well as 50 percent of the nameplate tax after year nine of the project. The schools receive 50 percent of the nameplate tax the first five years, after that time, the state starts taking its share away from the local schools until year 10, when the local school districts get nothing for the rest of the project. The rest of the tax money that stays local will be divided between many townships and possibly multiple counties. Municipalities will receive nothing. The reality is much different than the perception these speculators want you to believe. Remember, their only concern is about their profits, not your safety, health and welfare.
Over the last three years, the county has been doing their due diligence. The have studied all sides of this issue and based their decisions on fact, science and reality. They have determined that the best interest of the entire county is an increased setback of 2,640 feet from a home. This will decrease the negative effects of industrial wind turbines on the adjacent property, as well as attempt to maintain the massive growth that Lincoln County has experienced over the last years. Please join me on Tuesday, July 18, by voting on reality and not someone else’s perception whose only interest is in their own financial gains. Vote “yes” with me to support our county, commissioners, community and your neighbors.
David Brouwer, Beresford, is the lead respiratory therapist in Adult Critical Care. He holds a degree in respiratory care and healthcare management and is a board member and current president of We-Caresd.
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