Make no mistake, in my opinion, Neosho Ridge Wind is not necessarily about green energy, or economic impact, or money for Neosho County, or money for Neosho County schools. It is about a large wind company and utility scrambling to start a wind project by the end of 2020 to capture production tax credits (PTC) that will expire at that time. Without federal tax incentives, the wind industry would not exist and we would not be having this discussion. These are the same tax incentives that fall squarely on your back and mine. Apex Clean Energy and its newly acquired partner Liberty-Empire, Joplin (a Canadian corporation), would not be trying to locate 139 of these 607-foot industrial power plants (i.e., wind turbines) among over 300 of our Neosho County rural homes without these incentives. Yes, that is what I said, 607 feet tall. That is equivalent to 1.7 football fields from end zone to end zone long, or equivalent to only 23 feet shorter than the Gateway Arch at St. Louis. I will give you a few minutes to grasp that in your mind. Now grasp approximately 139 of these mammoths towering over our landscape. These are 607-foot power plants that Apex has never built before. These are towers that the noise levels, shadow flicker and other potentially harmful effects have only been modeled. These are industrial power plants producing energy that if purchased by Empire will be on our soil for use by primarily Empire Missouri ratepayers. How convenient for us to have a project that they don’t have to see or hear for their Missouri customers over 50 miles away across the state line.
I am not opposed to saving our environment and finding green solutions to making our world work. I do believe there are environmental changes going on that we must change. However, I am against placing this project in such a densely populated area where so many citizens could potentially be harmed. I am against the potential for the same citizens to lose values in their homes that they have worked their whole life to achieve due to devaluation because of proximity to such a project. Everyone certainly has a right to their opinion concerning this project. However, the highest consideration must be given to those living in and next to this potential disruption to our lives. If this happens, it is essentially here forever. Our lives will never be as they once were.
The view of our county will not be the same, the night sky will not be the same, our birds and wildlife could potentially never be the same, the peace and quiet may never be the same. Educate yourself. A price can’t be attached to our health and well-being. Citizens of Neosho County within the footprint deserve to be protected. This is truly a David versus Goliath story. – ED SPIELBUSCH, Parsons
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