The front lines of Indiana’s wind farm debate have returned to Clinton County, where residents gathered Thursday night to hear from researchers and industry experts hoping to build a wind farm there.
E. ON Energy hosted a public information session hoping to dispel rumors about turbines’ impact on health, environment and the local economy.
E. ON Midwest Director of Development Lael Eason says the goal was to start a dialogue with residents.
“To figure out if a project is a good fit for the community, and if so, maybe we move forward. If not, maybe we don’t,” Eason says. “But at least it brings it forward into the open for discussion.”
Researchers and professionals attempted to dismiss common fears of adverse effects turbines are believed to have on health, environment and the economy.
But resident Dean Huddleston says he wasn’t persuaded.
“They didn’t address the issues or the problems, they just want to promote their side of the story,” Huddleston says. “I understand that; that’s what they’re here for.”
Neighboring Tippecanoe County banned industrial wind farms earlier this year, and Montgomery County has enacted a zoning ordinance with restrictions that make large-scale projects nearly impossible.
Other areas, such as Benton County, have tried to capitalize on wind power. Clinton County resident Don Blanch says he thinks officials in his county should do the same.
“I think the county’s financial situation is something they’ll have to address eventually. And maybe they have some other solution to it, but we haven’t heard that yet,” Blanch says.
Clinton County resident Dana Andrew Robertson says he doesn’t think wind energy is the best way forward.
“I don’t think you build a future by turning the eastern half of your county into an economic dead zone,” Robertson says.
County commissioners placed a moratorium on wind farms just more than two years ago. E. ON Energy officials will speak at the commissioners’ Monday meeting in hopes of having that moratorium lifted.
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