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Wind turbines don’t belong near homes

This is in response to Don Smucker’s Guest View from the March 20 issue of the Daily News. His opinion piece included a variety of claims and accusations – all of which had no supporting documentation or sources. 

We are calling out a few specific quotes from that article, with some supporting links as well. Additional facts and testimonials regarding wind turbines can also be found on the Montcalm County Citizens United Facebook page.

1. Mr. Smucker wrote: “The townships and municipalities in which these are located are now enjoying a new and substantial source of tax revenue …”

He never defined “substantial” tax revenue. The typical township “might” receive enough money for the first five to 10 years of the project to install less than one mile of a 1½-inch topping of asphalt. After several years, that tax revenue decreases substantially.

2. “This new tax money ‘may’ help them to provide some much-needed amenities such as a new football field …”

May help? Does he realize there is nothing to stop Apex or the next wind development owner (like DTE) to challenge each wind turbine’s tax assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal – especially since DTE has shown an extreme willingness to challenge tax assessments across the state? Mr. Smucker didn’t even guess at the amount a school “might” receive because he has no idea. That dollar amount normally increases the state’s coffers and not the local schools.

3. “Their agenda is to secure a moratorium during which they will attempt to rewrite all wind ordinances …”

A moratorium or a pause gives the townships time to draft wind ordinances that address townships’ outdated regulations that were written when wind turbines were closer to 400 feet tall and not over 600 feet tall.

4. “They promote as negatives noise, shadow flicker, infrasound…and claims that turbines are not clean energy.”

The World Health Organization, Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty of Massachusetts who ruled wind turbines a nuisance, the Brown County Board of Health in Wisconsin, the Madison County Iowa Board of Public Health and experts such as Steven Cooper, Paul Schomer, Robert Rand, Stephen E. Ambrose, Rick James, Kerrie Standlee, Alec Salt, Dr. Geoff Leventhall and others beg to differ with Mr. Smucker and the wind energy salespeople on noise.

Dozens of additional articles and reports are available at wind-watch.org online.

Clean energy? Is Mr. Smucker aware that Baotou Toxic Lake is six miles in length and is filled with barely liquid radioactive and toxic black sludge that was created on former farmland from the mining of rare earth minerals used in part for the manufacture of large magnets used in wind turbines? China controls the vast majority of rare earth minerals. This information is never mentioned by wind representatives and is kept from an unknowing public (bbc.com/future/article/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth).

5. “Perhaps we should be checking with … the people who live around these.”

There is no need to do that, because the voters of Huron County spoke loud and clear on May 2, 2017. In 2017, Huron County residents had as many wind turbines as the rest of the state combined. They know better than anyone what it’s like to live among the 450 wind turbines that blight their landscape.

In 2005, Huron County originally had 1,000-foot setbacks from the inhabited structure, which is the same outdated, old and irresponsible setback that almost all of the Montcalm County townships currently have in their wind ordinances. Years later that distance was extended to 1320 feet. Finally, in 2015 the Huron County setback distance grew yet again to 1,640 feet at the inhabited structure. These setbacks were set for wind turbines that were 400 feet tall. Today’s projected height of turbines for Montcalm County is 600-plus feet tall.

Two wind-energy issues in Huron County were voted down 1,900 to 1,100. So, yes, Mr. Smucker, the people of Huron County who live by hundreds of wind turbines have already told the rest of the state, if not the rest of the country, exactly how they feel about industrial wind turbines (thumbwind.com/2017/05/07/michigan-thumb-voters-reject-wind-projects/).

The residents of Montcalm County do not want industrial wind turbines anywhere near our property or homes. Given the opportunity to vote on this issue, Montcalm County will yield the same results as Huron County, and Mr. Smucker knows it.

Norm Stephens lives in Tuscola County, Michigan. He has assisted residents and officials from more than a dozen townships to draft protective and safe wind ordinances. Montcalm County residents Renee Smith of Evergreen Township, Yvonne Cunningham of Evergreen Township, Sarah Kelley of Douglass Township, Cristina Pierce of Home Township and Lindsey Simon of Pine Township have cosigned this opinion piece.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Daily News.