(The following was originally published only in the online edition of The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Friday, November 10, 2017.)
As a Tipton County property owner, I did extensive research on the possible effects of having Industrial Wind Turbines. Our county was the first to attempt to have the turbines located close to residential homes and communities. Recently, I read Wind Watch online regarding Fulton, Miami, and Cass counties being interested in having a wind farm. I would like to pass along some findings of over 1,000 hours of research regarding this situation.
I first thought these things were green, non-toxic, and would be great for the environment. I researched audible and inaudible sounds that the wind turbines produce, underground infra-sound vibration, and what it does to the water aquafers. I looked into the effects of bird migratory patterns.
Some counties have changed their setbacks due to health risks. Whitley County is now a half mile from the property line. Noble County has a 3,960 foot setback, and a noise limit not to exceed 40 decibels at 1,000 feet from a turbine, and requires that a tower’s blinking lights be shielded. Tipton County’s setback is now 2,640 feet from a residence. Many other counties have a complete ban on wind farms. If there were no risks, why would all these counties be putting in stricter ordinances?? The World Health Organization recommends a minimum setback of 5,280 feet for children, elderly, and the chronically ill. The International Standards Organization recommends community noise limits of 35 decibels during daytime, and 25-30 decibels at night. Many European nations with more than two decades of experience with windfarms have setbacks of 3-5 miles. Denmark’s setback is four times the total height, and Holland’s is 3,280 feet.
Our County Commissioners were initially touting that “everyone was happy in Benton County” with the IWT’s. I sent a letter to the editor of the Lafayette Journal Courier stating I would like input from anyone regarding the impact of their turbines.
I received numerous replies (some anonymous) and others asking me not to use their name. The following letter is from an individual who supplied her address in Fowler, Ind. My husband and I visited their home, and experienced all of her claims first-hand. Most people who visit Benton County wind farms have appointments set up for a tour with the Benton County Wind Farm EDC. We wanted to go on our own.
Here is the letter:
“I live in Benton County. Feel free to come to visit us. We are right in the heart of the wind turbines. They surround our house. I DO NOT like having them so close to our house. When they put them in, our road was so busy I could not even go walking that summer. The noise REALLY bothers me, and I have never gotten used to it! Depending on which way the wind is out of, you can hear the noise in the house. It seems worse in the winter. I believe it’s due to the density of the air. This time of the year the “FLICKER” effect is really bad in the morning and in the evening. You feel like you always need to duck as you see the blades going around. When my son-in-law visits, he always asks how we can stand that. We feel we should be compensated. The landowners get paid for the rental of their land but we get no compensation and we were here first! When it is all said and done, the commissioners should have made the set back a lot further from the houses. We would still have the noise but at least we wouldn’t have the FLICKER effect. I wish I had known all this before they were put in. Everyone just kept on saying they will be good for the community. They are, only if you are a landowner. They don’t care at all about homes in the community. Then they wonder why nobody wants to live in Benton County. Don’t know that I want you to use my name because we, as well as many others, have received threats and property damage when we’ve complained, but feel free to use this information.”
Here is another letter:
“In response to your letter to the editor, Thursday, February 14, in the Journal Courier, this information may be what you need. Personal property value will fall like a rock. Benton County houses located within the wind farms are selling for whatever the owner can get. Many land owners where these wind generators are located do not live in the county. The average age of the lease owners is retirement age.
Wildlife has dwindled, but the rep for the company downplays this problem. Any time it snows, we go to where we used to see wildlife and there are no tracks to be found. Mosquito eating bats have disappeared too!
The companies brag that the local economy will boom, but that is temporary until the company is done installing these monsters. They tout that they will create hundreds of jobs, but that is not true either. The companies bring their own machinery operators, and in the end there might be 5-6 people that maintain the turbines, or are guards, or both.
In Benton County, this happened because few people knew about the turbines until it was way too late to do anything about it. This is how the companies manage to get this done everywhere. A decision of this magnitude should be decided after a debate over property values, who is responsible for that loss, and other issues such as blinking lights, noise, which is nauseating, and the strobe effect from shadow flicker.”
I have many other correspondences from people near the towns of Brookston and Fowler. I cannot attend your meetings due to health reasons but will make suggestions on what your citizens should consider, as well as the county officials regarding this very important situation.
Research: Shadow flicker, blinking lights, setback distances, noise related issues, low frequency and infrasound impact and decibel requirements, aesthetics, accidents, fires, wildlife impact, health issues, ice throw, wind turbine syndrome, property values, water aquifer damage, wind disturbance issues, lifeline helicopter landing limitations within a wind farm, bats and protected golden eagles and bald eagle deaths, China’s toxicity of rare earth metals, decommissioning clauses, and aerial crop dusting.
Knowledge is the key for everyone involved.