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September 28, 2022

9/23/2022 2:34:00 PM
If Wind Turbines Have No Harmful Health Effects On People

Dear Editor;
Why not put them closer to urban areas? Why not put them in the lakes in the Madison area? Why not put them on top of buildings in more populated areas? Why not put them in small villages so they too can reap the benefits of the lease payments and revenue share dollars? Why not?
Because an industrial wind turbine needs space to dissipate the noise level from both the mechanical and blade operation. Not only noise you can hear but the sound that isn't heard called infrasound also gets produced from an industrial wind turbine.
Then there's the idea of trying to explain the damage to anything under it when a blade is thrown or a catastrophic failure happens, that's probably a good reason to place it out in the middle of nowhere too. The only way to make them safe to operate around people is to keep them far enough away from people. And that's where the debate is.
How far is far enough?
A certain percentage of people are sensitive to infrasound at closer distances than others; think about people with peanut allergies and how they would react if they had to live with peanuts so close they would feel the harmful effects. But unlike peanut allergies where you can distance the peanuts from you, infrasound coming from industrial wind turbine operations that by law can be placed 1,250ft away from your house, you have no recourse but to move yourself far enough away to not feel the effects.
Wind developers looking for new project areas need to identify locations with electrical infrastructure, suitable wind resource, and lower population density to determine possible locations for wind turbines. But population density must not be too high of a priority in Wisconsin, given that the 2014 Wind Turbine Siting-Health Review and Policy Update report filed with the Wisconsin Legislature by the Wisconsin Wind Siting Council, clearly shows Wisconsin doesn't have as much open land area as neighboring states.
This was a known fact before Act 40 legislation was passed giving the permitting authority to the State instead of keeping it at the county level. In that report referenced above are the population densities of the counties and towns respectively by square mile in the counties where industrial wind projects are located.
The chart shows upper midwest States of Illinois 84, 28 Indiana 105, 24 , Iowa 21, 11, Michigan 101, 30, Minnesota 27, 7, and Wisconsin 163, 35. With Wisconsin's population density being the highest, there's a higher probability that more Wisconsin residents could be affected by industrial wind. It looks like that's the cost of doing industrial wind in Wisconsin when our elected legislators signed the 2009 Act 40 legislation; have our legislators gambled away the health of rural communities in exchange for jobs and revenue share?
The 1,250ft setback hasn't changed since the change over to State regulation control in 2009, but 12 years ago Industrial wind turbines stood at 495ft. Now applications show them pushing 675ft and looking to go even higher. Act 40 was meant to revisit regulations every 5 years by the Wind Siting Council but that's not being done anymore.
What does it mean when government doesn't follow it's own governance? What should be done? Should we let the bountiful harvest that the industrial wind industry is reaping in Wisconsin to continue with the tools for the rules that happened in Wisconsin in 2009? Maybe if the State cared about it's rural citizens, laws could be brought forward for renewable energy to deal with Wisconsin's topography, settlement patterns, and population density. Maybe renewable energy from solar deployed in a sensible manner is a better option for Wisconsin?
When we as a State have to move to produce more renewable energy, how about a plan that would be better and more inclusive than what the rural landscapes and communities are experiencing now? Imagine knowing about a solar powerplant but not being able to see it readily because of screening done by using trees in front of larger setback areas. These larger setbacks would provide diversity for landowners and farmers in the project. Instead of whole farms being allowed to be put into solar panels you would have those larger setback areas that would provide green space included in the project area. They could be cropped or they could be planted into a prairie grass pollinator type vegetation for a natural area, or even planted into Christmas trees. Maybe even a place to bow hunt? Can Wisconsin move forward with a plan to be better for it's citizens than this complete sell out to the industrial renewable energy industry? The jobs and revenue share will still be here, and hopefully community civility can be a valued commodity again.
Rick Zemlicka
Town of Eden resident,
Iowa County, WI





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