(The following were originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.)
Voice of the People
LETTER: Wildcat wind farm resident speaks
It is finally time.
After being awakened for the umpteenth time by these health impacting, grinding, screeching, humming, squealing, house vibrating, jet sounding, cell phone interrupting, satellite television interfering, internet disrupting, shadow flickering, environmental impacting, property value lowering, aesthetic degrading, red light blaring, obtrusive monsters, known as Industrial wind turbines – IWT – thrust upon us without our permission. Believe me you never get used to these stupid monsters.
It is finally time again to thank the uninformed, seemingly uncaring, self-serving, publicly elected officials, for having the audacity to vote in favor of a project that they knew so little about which would forever change the lives of so many people that they are supposed to work to protect, all because a smooth tongued, untruthful representative from a less than ethical company, (which person admitted in person, that he would not live near turbines), was able to pull the wool over their eyes by making promises of untold booty with undoubtedly, falsified studies of sound, resident acceptance, health and environmental impact.
I would hope that these publicly elected officials are realizing how their actions have affected some of the residents of northeastern Tipton County, Ind. Thanks to them our lives have changed forever, not for the better but for a lifetime of interruptions, inconveniences not only in the daytime but 24 hours a day. This is not an issue that you can spend an hour or two or a day in the area and comprehend the negative impact it is having upon our lives.
How else can the headaches, the nausea that only started after the turbines were in service be explained especially since when you travel away from the area these things disappear. We live in a large manufactured house with lots of steel under, there is a constant hum and we know that the turbines are the cause because when they had blade breakages they shut them all down for a period of time, the hum went away until they restarted the turbines.
You have to be here for extended periods of time because there will be instances that the wind doesn’t blow yet the humming and screeching will continue as the IWTs search for wind. It was stated that residents would adjust, getting used to these monsters but alas this is not happening when you are awakened at two or three a.m. by something that sounds as if it is in your house and upon investigating you find that it is an IWT.
It has been suggested that we move, however finding anyone to purchase our property for the true value it had before the IWTs were present is impossible. We are approximately 1,600 to 1,700 feet from the closest turbine, which I am to believe is 307 feet tall. I cannot imagine life any closer, these things should never be any closer than two miles to a residence plus even farther away depending upon the prevailing winds.
As I realize this will serve no purpose to alleviate the situation in Tipton County, Ind.
I would hope it could inform others of the irritating intrusions of IWTs. These monsters have absolutely no place in a community as populated as Tipton County.
Also hoping it would lead elected officials to better investigative any project that bears on the public as intrusive as these monsters. At least one former official realizes the mistake that was made and is now working to help other communities bar these from intruding.
LETTER: ‘Fearmongering’ charge bothers letter writer
To the Citizens of Fulton County, I sent one email (not a few) to the Fulton County Commissioners for the sole purpose of relaying my first-hand experience with regard to all aspects of the development of an industrial wind turbine project. I never received a single reply questioning my assertions or asking for more details. Instead, I am now accused of ‘fearmongering’ and overstating that those living amongst the towers in Tipton County have complaints.
I am offended by the charge of attempting to spread false fear when my “outreach” intentions were in good faith. I witnessed the effects first hand by going to the homes of my constituents who were complaining. I listened to the farmers who were having GPS failures in their implements. I know that the number of prospective buyers of homes for sale in the project area is less than homes for sale outside of the project. I live with the reality of divided families and friendships.
I am surprised by the misplaced logic and inability of your elected officials and plan director to understand that increasing the setback distance indeed does make a difference in that it aids in lessening the noise and shadow flicker. Property owners enjoy life beyond the confines of their dwelling, therefore the ill effects of the turbines are also experienced while outside.
I am confident that the Fulton County residents can draw logical conclusions from indisputable facts. If there were truly no issues, the following facts would never exist:
1.) After the installation of the wind farm and the effects were observed and recorded, the 2014 Tipton County Commissioners amended the wind energy conversion system (WECS) setback section of our county zoning ordinance to 2,640 feet (one half mile) from the center of the tower to the nearest corner of a residential dwelling or occupied commercial/ institutional building, and 5,280 feet (one mile) from the outer boundary of an incorporated town.
2.) After our wind farm was operational, two neighboring counties cancelled their agreements for phase 2 and 3 of the same project.
3.) There is a long list of other counties in Indiana that have been approached by wind farm companies but chose not to allow the turbines. Most rejections are due to the elected officials recognizing the importance of setback distances that protect the health and safety, and property values of their own citizens.
4.) Several counties have actually banned or placed moratoriums on wind farm development.
If the wind farms were such a positive addition to counties and if there were no real issues, then all Indiana county leaders would be begging for them to come … instead of vice versa.
Why would the testimonial from a former colleague who had originally believed the ‘spin’ and supported the project but now regrets her decision, be refuted and dismissed as ‘fear mongering’? When the claims of a foreign based company seeking to make money in your county seem to carry more credence with your leaders than the experiences and decisions of fellow Hoosiers who have ‘been there, done that’, then you should wonder why.
Jane Harper, Tipton County
LETTER: Henry County resident urges caution here
To Whom it may concern,
I am not a Fulton County resident, however, I am a Henry County resident who happens to find myself in the same situation as your citizens. Having read your article by Wesley Dehne, I feel I must speak up on this issue. First of all, property rights do go both ways, I will agree to that remark.
Where it becomes twisted is when one (wind companies) insist they have more rights than anyone else. All land owners have rights. The wind company will insist there are no adverse effects from their Industrial Wind Turbines. If that is so, why do they include all of the adverse effects in the contract the property owner signs; (shadow flicker, turbulence, vibration, electromagnetic field, ice throw, fire, blade failure, infrasound, noise, property value decline, etc.) The wind company will insist the setback of 1,500 feet from the foundation of a home is safe and free from adverse effects that are listed in the contract. The wind turbine maintenance manuals state, a safety zone of 1,650 feet is required from the turbine in ANY failure or malfunction of the turbine. Now, how in the world can there be a “SAFE” setback of 1,500 feet from a non-participating land owner’s home if the “Safe Zone” is 1,650 feet from the Industrial Wind Turbine? No setback should ever be from the home of a non-participating land owner. It must be from the “property line.” That person owns ALL of that property, not just where the home is.
It also states in the well written article that officials of Fulton County went to the Wildcat 1 Wind Farm (Factory) in Tipton County and spoke with residents living within the Wind Farm (Factory). They (officials) may not be aware of the “Good Neighbor” contract. This is a contract the wind company presents to surrounding property owners as a “letter of support.” This contract allows the wind company to obtain an easement for all of the “adverse effects” listed in the contract with the leasing property owner.
The non-property owner is offered a payment on a yearly basis to sign the contract (“good neighbor”). The non-participating property owner, once they have signed the contract, are no longer able/allowed to speak in a negative manner concerning the Wind Farm (Factory). If the property owner violates that agreement, they could be in risk of being sued by the wind company.
One of your officials: “Let the people signing up make the decision,” Metzger said. “We’re just making sure it’s safe.”
He continued: “People act like we’re pushing this on them, but we’re taking a good look at this. We have to look at all the options, and that’s what we’re doing.”
This is so familiar. We have been hearing a very similar statement from our officials in Henry County since 2009.
There are many issues to consider. The first and foremost must/should be, “absolute safety and wellbeing of the citizens.” That is the obligation of the officials of the county. Citizens of Fulton County, educate yourselves thoroughly and educate you officials. Get the “DATA” and demand “DATA” from those who are making decisions on YOUR behalf.
Peggy Stefandel, Henry County Resident