We moved to Madison County 35 years ago, drawn by the beautiful rolling hills, fertile farmland and unspoiled scenery. Now the county is under assault by a power company attempting to erect dozens of 300-foot tall windmills. The company in fact has already raised one in Adams County, nearly 400 feet tall. Wind energy sounds like a nice “green” idea, but think of what would happen if the company and a few proponents have their way with us. A forest of 300- to 400-foot towering turbines would destroy valuable farmland and hurt one of the most scenic counties in Iowa – our county – just for the gain of a few dollars. The money paid by the power company is insignificant compared to the permanent damage done.
There have been many discussions around setting at 1.5-mile setback of the turbines from objecting home and property owners. I don’t believe this is nearly enough. A setback of at least 5 miles would be much more appropriate. The turbines will adversely affect property values, the health of nearby “victims”, and harm wildlife. Additionally, turbines should never be allowed to be erected on property owned by out-of-state residents, most of whom would not care how local residents are affected. Turbines should only be allowed on property currently physically occupied by the land owners.
I have heard and read comments calling for replacing county supervisors or adding a couple more. Either approach would accomplish nothing. The voters of Madison County elected the current supervisors, presumably with the knowledge of the supervisors’ positions on various issues, including wind turbines. Adding or replacing supervisors would be costly and could still not resolve the problems concerning permits and setbacks. Calling for the removal of a supervisor because a few people disagree with their position on the matter is not a reasonable solution. Open, honest discussion and feedback should eventually lead to a reasonable conclusion. It would also be helpful for all to maintain our well-known “Iowa nice” attitudes.
I also heard someone describe stress caused by a nearby flickering windmill comparable to stress caused by not liking a nearby house painted red. To me, this sounds like comparing the stress caused by swimming near a great white shark to that of swimming near a minnow.
Finally, wind energy sounds like a nice, green idea. But in reality, it comes with tremendous costs to our county, and specifically to the people who live here. Let’s not turn our beautiful county into a flickering and blinking Red Light District.
Jim Haley, St. Charles
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