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May 25, 2022

12/17/2021 2:21:00 PM
Subscriber raises concerns regarding alternative energy wind tower project across 'Driftless Region'

Dear Driftless Region Residents;
I imagine many of you are unaware of the plans to erect 170, 650' (nearly 4 times taller than most) wind towers in the unique and environmentally sensitive Driftless Region.
That's right! A Canadian company, Pattern LLC, is currently looking to acquire contracts from area landowners to permit installation of towers on their property, much of it, farmland. Some of the communities affected will be Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Cobb, and Belmont. The goal is to install these very tall wind turbines on private land. Signed contracts will require access to private property to create roadways for turbine base installation and digging for transmission lines which will eventually connect to the ATC (American Transmission Company) power line which is currently in court. Besides the known negative side effects of wind turbines (bird & bat deaths), flicker (causing health issues in some individuals), noise; there are concerns about landfilling damaged blades, ice throw, blade failure, and changing weather patterns (pushing warm air closer to the ground which could affect crops below), the visual impact upon our surroundings will be astounding! How will this affect property values not to mention tourist dollars from visitors travelling to our locations for the views, beauty and serenity. Studies have been done predicting 15-45% property value losses. These losses will result in lower tax revenues which can impact public services. In Wisconsin, power companies are exempt from taxes on property housing their installations and are guaranteed a profit on their investment even if they abandon the project. This leaves tax and rate payers holding the bill not only for dollars invested in a terminated project but supplying their guaranteed profit of 10.3%.
Now, I am not normally a person opposed to alternative energy, but what I'm learning about this project is very disturbing for me, our environment, our tax base, and the lax Wisconsin state, county and municipal laws governing this drive. There is little to nothing protecting citizens and landowners, but much protecting these companies. Wisconsin's energy use has declined since 2007. The energy produced by these towers will most likely be exported. There are also SMARTER ways to create energy from alternative sources. Imagine if solar panels were erected over heat-sink parking lots close to transmission lines and cities that use that power. Imagine retaining our valuable cropland, forests and unique environments which already sequester carbon. Imagine managing our necessary move toward renewable power THIS way rather than the fast, cheap, but environmentally harmful ways the profit-oriented utilities would have us buy into. Please use your voices to encourage SMART alternative energy, not what is being hyped as our only solution. Thank you.
Roberta Barham
Blanchardville, WI

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