April Retherford’s accounting of her experience living in the midst of a Tipton County windfarm is a personal story. It is not representative of everyone’s experience. Perhaps receiving annual payments from the wind company can greatly enhance one’s personal contentment, and greatly shift the focus off of any ill effects related to living close to a wind turbine. A simple search will show that the Retherfords have a tower on their property and thus are being paid.
Not everyone in the county felt the “Pollyanna” euphoria described by Retherford as the towers were being installed. In fact, as county commissioner, I received daily protests regarding the unacceptable conditions of the roads during the construction phase and many rural postal carriers lodged complaints of flat tires and unnatural wear on their vehicles. Dust in the area was unbearable to some. The red blinking lights are visible more than 15 miles away, therefore it is simply not true that those on the western side of the county cannot see the towers. If everything is so hunky dory as Retherford describes, then why are some counties banning the construction of wind farms?
Retherford did an excellent job of proving to the Montgomery County citizenry how divisive the issue of “wind” really is and how it indeed rips communities apart. She mocked her fellow citizens who are not receiving payments from the wind company, yet must live with what they believe are ill effects. She paid no respect or regard for accounts of how the towers had changed their lives in a negative way and listed each of their complaints as “preposterous” and that “none of them could possibly be true.” Are we to believe that only her experiences and accounts are the ones that are absolute, across the board and categorically true? After reading how Retherford attacked the statements of anguish (whether real or perceived) made by her own fellow citizens and how she said they disrespected hers, the people of Montgomery County should have no hesitation in coming to the logical conclusion that the advent of “wind” can incite a lynch mob mentality, destroy families, erode community camaraderie and end friend/neighbor relationships. What is that worth to you?
Regarding the financial “facts” and how “everyone in the county benefits from the windfarm,” Montgomery County citizens can decide what price can be put on quality of life and community. You can’t lose something you never had. You never had the money from the towers, so you’re not losing it if the project doesn’t come. However, many citizens can lose a way of life as they know it now. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don’t want 500-700 foot “spinning sky scrapers” to spoil your “scenic vista.” If the current landscape of Montgomery County is pleasing to you and you chose your home because of a certain placement of the house in relation to the land, then the towers are going to mess up your view. If you like a dark night sky with only stars shining, then the red blinking lights are going to mess up your star gazing. If you like “nature” sounds, then on certain days depending on certain climate conditions, you’re going to hear unnatural noise that will annoy you. If you like the intensity of lightness on your property/in your house to be a constant, then the “strobe light effect” of shadow flicker will bother you. There is nothing wrong with “being there first” and wanting to continue living in the environment that you chose.
Wind companies prey on counties with weak ordinances. Think about why they chose you. It’s nothing more than a business deal to them in order to make money and they care not about the chronic wounds of strife left behind. To most, the price of happiness and serenity and community cohesiveness is price-less, and no amount of money flashed in front of county leaders from a wind company “for the good of the county” will make a measurable positive difference in one’s daily lives.
So the “numbers” of what “wind” brings to the community are immaterial if you all believe that happiness does not have a price tag.