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Wind turbine setbacks not far enough

When my Grandchildren come to our place, we fly kites, watch eagles and roam the trails we have mowed along the edge of our property line. Like many people we enjoy our property from fence line to fence line.

Setbacks in the agreement (suggested by Invenergy/MidAmerican) from property lines to wind turbines are 650 feet for a 600-foot-tall wind turbine. Setbacks from wind turbines to hog, cattle, and chicken farms – “edge of the structure” (building they are housed in) are twice that – are 1,300 feet.

Why do buildings with hogs in them get twice the setback distance to wind turbines as we do from our property line (where our Grandchildren play) to wind turbines? Are the lives of hogs, cattle and chickens more valuable than our Grandchildren’s lives?

If the setback for buildings housing hogs, cattle or chickens is 1,300 feet from a wind turbine. People ought to also have a 1,300-foot setback from our property lines so we can safely enjoy ALL of our property. Any agreement the Supervisors approve should at the very least show as much respect for children as hogs.

What was reported in a local newspaper was that the setback to a human residence from wind turbines is 1,600. That’s true – but not what I am talking about. And unless we are expected to remain prisoners in our own homes and never go outside – we and our loved ones will be twice as close to wind turbines as hogs, cattle and chickens (in farm structures) every time we chose to use our property close to our property line.

Other Counties require scientific studies or reports to base their decisions on and ensure public safety before they approve construction of wind turbines, as is the case in Monroe County, Iowa:

J. Ice Throw Calculations: A report from a Licensed Professional Engineer that calculates the maximum distance that ice from the turbine blade could be thrown. The basis of the calculation and all assumptions must be disclosed …

K. Blade Throw Calculations: A report from a Licensed Professional Engineer that calculates the maximum distance that pieces of the turbine blades could be thrown …

Taxpaying citizens and our children in Iowa County are the “guinea pigs” for 600-foot-tall wind turbines. No where else in the state has turbines that large. They will be taller than the tallest silo in the United States, taller than the Statue of Liberty, twice as tall as the California Redwood trees.

We don’t know how much noise they will make – how much shadow flicker they will produce or how safe they will be because there is nothing anywhere in the state to compare them to.

Invenergy and MidAmerican have suggested the setbacks for these massive industrial turbines for an agreement that will have no public hearing or any readings. Why? Is the oil industry, natural gas, or coal industry allowed to regulate itself? Of course not – that would be ludicrous.

Denise Leubka