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June 18, 2021

5/19/2021 9:43:00 AM
Questions about wind power

Dear Editor;
There are four, fundamental facts that every community and every landowner approached by a wind power developer wants and deserves to know: What is the power size in megawatts of each turbine? How tall are the turbines? How many would be installed and over what area? With today's wind turbines more than twice as tall and 3.6 times more powerful/louder than those at Montfort, Wisconsin, the public deserves to know if the company has tested the turbines for noise and air impacts under Wisconsin's lower standards?
Three of the multi-national companies pursuing large wind power plants in Iowa, Lafayette and Grant Counties (Wisconsin) have provided none of this information either for the public, at large, or for directly affected landowners or their neighbors. To be specific, this fundamental information was omitted in PRC's mid-April brochure regarding the Red Barn power plant that would surround Montfort, it was not present in Invenergy's mid-February notice to Iowa County and Pattern LLC did not mention it in their interview with the Dodgeville Chronicle this month concerning their Uplands plant proposal aimed at Iowa and Lafayette Counties.
Further, when counties have received scarce information from developers, they have not informed the public about it or placed it into public records. The seriousness of these omissions becomes evident when one considers that Foxconn's much discussed $672 million plant proposal has only one-third of the value of Uplands when tax and other incentives are folded in over 40 years.
And, unlike large factories, these wind power plants would be glaringly obvious to all commuters and vacationers on Highways 151 and 18, starting from outskirts of Madison to the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
Day and night.
Had Invenergy's February 16, 2021 letter to the Iowa County Board been publicly reported, the citizenry of Southwestern Wisconsin would have found the company's advice about the County's out-dated, 2014 Wind Ordinance highly informative. The international power plant builder writes, "We encourage you to leave it in place,.." despite the fact that updating it would add protections pertaining to impacts from large turbines and other transparency improvements.
The outcome of Uplands still rests on landowners not signing lease contracts with Pattern.
Those who are approached to sign are encouraged to ask themselves: Why would Invenergy risk stating this request if the company had no fear of increased public and landowner accountabilities from an updated Wind Siting Ordinance?
Secrecy on both sides has persisted even as community papers have published a steady stream of citizen concerns and information requests since December. The Iowa County Board has yet to acknowledge that more than fifty citizens formally asked the Board to host an on-record, public information meeting for developers to answer questions received in advance and for citizens to ask follow-up questions.
Concerns about negative health impacts were furthered at the Iowa County Planning and Zoning Committee meeting last week when Scott Godfrey, a member of the Wisconsin Wind Siting Council, stated that he sees little or no ability for County to stand-up for affected residents should they become chronically sick from wind turbine exposures. In 2010, three Wisconsin families were forced to move from their homes in Brown County when they were exposed to only eight turbines. Those turbines are two hundred feet shorter and have less than half the power of those aimed at the Livingston, Wisconsin area.
No one disagrees with Invenergy that outdated and lacking public protections are doing a very good job of, "promoting private property rights." They have literally placed the future of Southwest Wisconsin in the hands of our neighbors. This is our time, this is our test; we either practice the golden rule or have our lands and local economies ruled by outside interests.
Readers may access a footnoted version of this letter at
Rob Danielson Volunteer

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