I don’t intend to use a whole page of valuable space to present facts and figures about wind turbines. Either side can do that or look them up. I do have some basic concerns that hopefully sound like common sense.
Who wins: The obvious winners are the landowners who are getting turbines on their land. The losers are everyone who lives near them as property values, standard of living and quality of life go in the tank. Others getting the short end are taxpayers. The most famous hedge fund manager in the world, Warren Buffet, was asked why his company invests in wind. Without hesitation, he flatly replied, “We do it for the subsidies.”
The environment: The power that runs your air conditioner does not come from the Middle East. It comes from a 500-year supply of clean, domestic natural gas and, if I may borrow a popular quote, “Clean, beautiful coal.” Regarding CO2 emissions, imagine how much high intensity energy is required to manufacture the shocking amounts of rebar and concrete for wind turbines, not to mention the turbine itself. Additionally, how much fossil power is used to keep the generators fired, or to restart them on the days when the wind doesn’t blow.
School funding: School funding in Indiana went through a huge shift around 2008-09. In short, local tax dollars are not to be used for the day-to-day operations of schools. They do not go to pay teachers, aides, administrators, bus drivers, custodians, office staff and cooks. That money comes from the state capitol. Local dollars can be used to fund capital projects (new construction, major repairs) and debt service. Let’s face it, with 600- to 800-foot-tall turbines dotting the once beautiful county, we needn’t be too worried about a housing or population boom requiring more classroom space.
Finally, I think citizens should make a demand: An escrow account must be established before the first hole is dug. That account should contain sufficient funding to completely remove all turbines and concrete footers when they are worn out in 15-20 years or the owners file bankruptcy. Plus interest added each year at the rate of inflation. And throw in a 2,640-foot property line setback for good measure. How ironic would it be if the winners described above, and their heirs, ended up the biggest losers.
— Brian Papak, Union Township
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