The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) should protect the citizens of rural South Dakota by placing a moratorium on wind turbine projects until the state legislature can amend SDCL 43-13-24. Nearly all the counties in the state are using a standard suggested by the PUC 10 years ago in 2008. At that time the wind turbines were roughly half the size they are now. The PUC document was abolished in 2017, but it is still in use today. A significant amount of current research data regarding the ill health and quality of life issues is now available. This data should be used to formulate fair and reasonable setbacks in accordance with the size of the wind turbines.
The PUC has indicated the Department of Health (DOH) provides direction about health and safety regarding wind turbines. The DOH has the expertise to provide current information regarding the health effects and quality of life issues related to wind turbines. According to Tom Martinec at the DOH, their position on wind turbines stands firm utilizing data previous to 2012.
October 2018 information from the World Health Organization (WHO) enlists current peer-reviewed data to develop guidelines for legislators and policy-makers at the local, national and international level. Their goal: “to create resilient communities and supportive environments in the Region.”
Both the PUC and the DOH are playing Russian Roulette with the health of their constituents if projects permitted in 2018 use 10-year-old data for guidelines on safety and quality of life. Inadequate protection by policy makers will result in jeopardized public health and exorbitant legal expenses to defend inadequate guidelines based on outdated data.
Place a moratorium on wind turbine projects until the S.D. PUC and the S.D. DOH can critique the current research data and incorporate it into safe and reasonable guidelines to support “resilient communities and supportive environments.”
Mary Walkes, Avon
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