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Size of proposed wind turbines worth contemplating

Perspective is everything and numbers, even measurements, mean nothing unless you’re given something by which to compare objects to.

I can tell you that an adult male killer whale’s dorsal fin stands at an average of 6 feet tall, but until you see a man of that height standing beside one, it’s hard to comprehend just how tall 6 feet truly is.

Now, if you happen to be driving through New York City or Hoboken (or if you’re lucky enough to cruise past by ferry or visit the island in person) and see the Statue of Liberty, you will be impressed by her amazing height. Lady Liberty, one of the most visual representations of our freedom, of our country, stands at an impressive 305 feet tall, including her pedestal. Without it, she’s still impressive at 111 feet in height. She is dwarfed, however, by another symbol of America: Saint Louis’ Gateway Arch. This one-of-a-kind national monument, an icon of America’s expansion west, stands at 630 feet tall and is visible for miles upon miles. By comparison, France’s esteemed Eiffel Tower (built by the same man who erected the Statue of Liberty) comes in at a commanding 984 feet tall. Leave France, hop the pond back to New York and you’ll find the Empire State Building standing at 1250 feet tall… 1454 feet should you choose to count the 204 foot radio antenna attached.

By now you must be wondering why I’m filling your heads with these familiar images and listing off their heights. I promise you it’s more than a historical architecture mini lesson, and far less innocuous.

You see, the wind turbines proposed to be erected in northern Cass County by RES are 600 feet in height with a blade span (width of two) of 500 feet. At that point they are near double the height and width of Lady Liberty, challenging the Gateway Arch (which is 630 feet x 630 feet), a smidge shorter than the Eiffel Tower (still rivaling its width) and a little less than half the height of King Kong’s favorite roost, while towering over its benign radio antenna.

And they want to put 300 of them across our picturesque northern Indiana countryside.

If you do your research, you will find that no other land-based wind farm dares to boast these monstrosities as a “norm.” The wind fields customarily harboring them are planted firmly off the shores of New England as industrial turbines of this size are considered too dangerous to run in land-based operations.

In fact, the largest turbine currently running on dry land is the 557-foot-tall, counting blade tips (for without them it’s only 379 feet tall), a Macksburg, Iowa-based turbine owned by MidAmerican Energy. Its concrete construction, 100 feet taller than its steel cousins, was put together out of 24 segments. It is taller than the Washington Monument, which stands at an impressive 555 feet, if you must know. Furthermore, MidAmerican Energy considers it a “test” with its 70 truckloads of concrete and 90 tons of steel rebar used to create it. That’s about 80 miles of reinforcing steel running through it and it’s still not considered “tornado proof.” Its 2.4-megawatt turbine, weighing 1200 tons, is its most prone point of anatomy.

Fascinatingly, Macksburg, Iowa only has a population of 130 individuals with a median age of 35. They have seen a 7.95% decline in median household income and 28.09% decline in employment since the field went in – just another unit of measurement to consider as you continue to run numbers while weighing our future against instant gratification proven to be an indelible failure.

— Tia R. Justice is a resident of Logansport