March 25, 2018
Iowa, Letters

Industrial wind problems blow across Iowa

Stop putting industrial power plants close to people’s homes. The industrial wind industry is helping make rural Iowa unlivable. This is not a question of renewable energy or money or jobs, it is a question of whether or not it should be allowed based on the one fact that they are electrical generating units 500-600 feet tall being placed 1200-1600 feet from and often surrounding homes.

Only an average of 6% of the people who are signing contracts will actually live next to a turbine. Even in the midst of the worst farming economy since 2006 most rural Iowans will not sign industrial wind contracts. In Ida County residents collected a petition of 600 names against wind turbines, in Clay County only 9 residences out of 143 in the proposed project area signed contracts, in Palo Alto only 13% of the residences within the proposed wind installation signed contracts and 1/2 of the land was signed by 4 people. Only about 8% of those will live within a few miles of a turbine. In Sac County almost all the land was signed by absentee landowners. In Kossuth County the wind company Amshore has asked to raise the height requirement because so few people signed. In Fayette County residents successfully sued to have some of the towers removed and collected a petition of 330 names against the wind turbines. In Webster County residents are dealing with wide swaths of ruined farm ground from industrial wind. There are installations in Nebraska where NO residents signed and an organization of farmers just over the Iowa border in Minnesota who have formed an alliance of farmers called Windlocked as a promise to their neighbors not to sign. It is much the same in almost every installation all across the US and around the world.

In Iowa industrial wind is avoiding the law so that these projects can be built with no way for people to defend themselves from the many negative impacts except by lawsuit. The wind companies like to say that the impacts are negligible.

In Clinton County Missouri the residents disagreed. They hired lawyers and expert witnesses to defend them to their local government. Next Era, a gigantic energy company came with their many lawyers and their own expert witnesses. Using court rules they went head to head for a total of 55 hours of videotaped testimony covering 9 points. In the end Clinton County banned industrial wind. Not because of money or jobs or whether or not it was renewable energy but because it is damaging to put them so close to homes and property lines.

I throw the gauntlet down to our utility companies. Desist with building wind installations until the rural residents of Iowa can meet you in a court of law to defend ourselves, our families, our homes, our wildlife, our land, our economy and our businesses from industrial wind.

Janna Swanson
Ayrshire, IA

Coalition for Rural Property Rights board member
National Wind Watch board member
Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance member

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