Economic development is often identified as a reason to promote wind farms.
The Montgomery County Wind Ordinance (that was signed by our commissioners in 2009) stated:
“Whereas, the construction of wind farms could limit certain types of development within the proximity of the wind farms for other commercial/industrial purposes that could also create new jobs in the County.”
So, commissioners acknowledged that incoming wind farms would keep job creating businesses out of the county. So, this in itself, is offering favoritism to one industry over all other potential businesses. Even if a wind company created jobs, how many does it keep out?
Indiana Department of Education records show that in the counties where wind farms are placed, the enrollment starts dropping when plans for construction are announced. The school enrollments have dropped from 9-17 percent. This suggests that families are leaving the communities when they can. Please tell me how a 9-17 percent drop in enrollment benefits the county economy and schools?
Common sense suggests that if property values drop (McCann) 25-40 percent and school enrollment drops significantly, that the county will be hurt significantly. First economic hardship is the loss of property tax revenue. The second is hardship is on schools, loosing 9-17 percent of that “per student” money from the government.
Don’t forget, that with those families go some small businesses too. We already have small businesses that have plans to move out, if wind farms move in.
Another aspect that is rarely considered is at decommissioning. If the companies still exist when the turbines are due to be decommissioned, which they seem to be changing ownership often, will they truly pay to remove them completely, or will the tax payer be held with the huge bill to remove and discard these? Also, there is an expectation that the wind farms repair roads from damage done during set up, wouldn’t there be equal damage at decommissioning? Who pays for road repair or decommissioning if the company isn’t able to do so? Well, that would be us … the taxpayers of Montgomery County.
Restricted new business growth and jobs that come with it, reduced school enrollment, extra tax-payer expenses … that does not sound like good economic development.
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