I want to comment on Brad Johnson’s column on Saturday, April 27: “Wind Industry holds all the cards.” I’m afraid it’s worse than that. In the last legislative session, the governor along with wind industry and the Sierra Club lobbyists pushed through SB15, which eliminates two of the four criteria wind developers must prove. Besides following the law, all that is left is “The facility will not substantially impair the health, safety or welfare of the inhabitants.” Johnson is right, the word “substantially” is up to the PUC to define.
In the Prevailing Winds evidentiary hearing last October, five citizens testified as to health effects, with one having to leave his home of 45 years. According to the PUC this did not reach the level of “substantial.” Neither did not sleeping most of eight nights in a row by another witness. Neither did the effects of “infrasound” by others. The PUC demanded a “medical doctor’s opinion.” And they got it, in the form of east coast doctors getting paid (by the wind industry) $500 an hour to refute the sworn testimony of these witnesses. None of these highly educated biased witnesses had ever lived closed to a wind turbine, but the PUC considered them “the experts.”
There will be one or two more evidentiary hearings (dog and pony shows) before SB15 goes into effect, after that Big Wind with the help of the governor and the PUC will have silenced the opposition. As Rep. Mark Willadsen so honestly put it at one of the committee hearings this session, “It IS all about the money.”
So, you folks finding yourself living under wind turbines soon, and even being forced to move, you need to understand the pecking order in this great state of South Dakota.
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