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Let the people vote on wind farms

Regarding the Nov. 9 article, “Officials rail against ‘false accusations” (Page 1A):

Personally, I found the commissioners’ approach to the Dan’s Mountain residents to be immensely insensitive and callous.

Their attitudes smack of “Get out of the way; you don’t matter.” These residents are people who are fighting for their homes and their quality of life. Our homes are our only sanctuary. At the end of each day, our homes are where we come for peace of mind and what we love about where we chose to live. That’s worth fighting for.

This conflict is about two things: aesthetics and economics. It has nothing to do with fighting against change, as Commissioner Dave Caporale says.

There are the visual aesthetics of our beautiful mountains and then there are the aesthetics essential to our quality of life.

To your readership: Have you ever heard anyone remark about how the glut of wind farms on our mountain tops have made them so much more beautiful and appealing. Anyone?

And what about those aesthetics that are fundamental to our quality of life? Things like pulling into your drive and seeing the scene that brought you there to live. Then put a wind turbine in that scene.

How about watching the sun drop below the horizon and seeing beautiful reflections off the bottoms of the clouds. Now put huge churning turbine blades in that picture. Finally, there is no price that can be put on a family’s peace of mind.

I have yet to see anywhere in this paper’s print what the business case is for the wind farm project. Yes, a company is willing to invest millions. But they won’t invest unless it is of great advantage to them.

Caporale says, “and generate almost a million dollars in revenue in your county.” Lots of companies generate revenue in the county, but that doesn’t mean that the revenue stream goes to the county. So, what exactly is the nature of the actual revenue going to the county?

The commissioners seem to believe that wind farms don’t affect property values. Firstly, I think that your readership can all agree that wind turbines aren’t going to raise property values.

Now let’s think about wind turbines lowering property values. Hypothetically, suppose you have an unaware prospective buyer ready to sign the sales agreement.

They are buying your property because of the beauty of its location. Just as their pen approaches the dotted line you say, “Oh, by the way, there’s going to be a wind farm right over there.” How many of your readers would sign that dotted line?

I believe there are very few public officials who will take the high road and say that we’re going one wind farm too far. It’s not politically correct to be against free green energy, no matter how ugly they are. I’ve always wondered that since wind energy is free, why the utility companies don’t give us proportional reductions to our electric bills.

Maybe the solution to this whole dispute would be to have countywide referendum and put it to a ballot vote. Put it in the hands of the people and not just three zoning board members.

Glenn Fruehan

Ridgeley, W.Va.