Letters: ‘Fearmongering’ charge bothers letter writer; Wildcat wind farm resident speaks; Henry County resident urges caution here

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(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.

Fred McCorkle

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.

Sincerely,
Peggy Stefandel, Henry County Resident

Engineer: Nix the wind project

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Friday, November 10, 2017.)

My name is Ryan Mulligan. I graduated from Rochester High School in 2002. From there, I went to Purdue University and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering.

The School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Purdue is universally recognized as one of the top in the country. The school proudly boasts of 15 astronauts amongst its alumni.

Admittedly, I am not one of the fifteen. But after Purdue, I moved to Utah and worked for three years as an engineer in the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster program until two concurrent things happened: 1) my wife and I had the desire to move back home to Indiana and live amongst family, and 2) President Obama decided the United States’ participation in manned space flight was no longer worth the taxpayers’ money. I left the disappearing manned space flight industry voluntarily, but many of my friends and coworkers had no choice.

My wife and I, and our two young daughters, currently live in southern Fulton County. We peacefully live on 25 acres in a small house, near friends, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

I’m providing a little background to demonstrate that my opinions on engineering projects are backed with education, and that I have been personally affected by the fickleness of the federal government. And the federal government is the only entity that is holding wind farm projects, like the one proposed in Fulton County, together.

Sustainability is a noble goal. The realization that our planet’s resources are generally finite, and the desire to live within those limits, is wise. But sustainability has two facets: 1) environmental sustainability and 2) financial sustainability, the second of which often gets overlooked.

Wind farms are not financially sustainable. The only reason that the wind energy industry exists is because of the lucrative federal government subsidy called the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The PTC takes our tax money and funnels it to wind farm companies so they can compete in the energy market. Without our tax dollars, wind farms are not financially viable.

The reason wind farms cannot compete on the energy market is due to unalterable physics: when the windmill blades aren’t spinning, no electricity is being made.

Wind is simply not reliable.

Electricity needs are the greatest when it’s hot and still, exactly when wind farms are not producing. Wind farms will never compete with a power plant that utilizes a consistent source of energy.

They will only exist while they are being supported by the federal government.

So what happens when the PTC subsidy goes away (like government support for the Space Shuttle went away)? Fortunately, we’ve recently seen an example of it. At the end of 2012, the subsidy expired. During that time, wind farm construction ground to a halt. Once the PTC subsidy was renewed by Congress in 2013, wind farm construction began again. This is a clear indication that wind farming companies have no desire or ability to farm wind if they are not propped up by the federal government.

So where do we stand today? In the Fiscal Year 2016, the PTC was extended for five years. On their website, the American Wind Energy Association states clearly that the extension of the PTC is vital to the industry, allowing growth and construction to continue. They are not shy about their need for our tax dollars.

Here’s why the proposers of the wind farm are in a rush: the extension of the PTC included a phase-down plan which drops the subsidy by 20% each year. If a project is started in 2017, a wind energy company will receive 80% of the original subsidy. However, if construction begins in 2018, the subsidy drops to 60%.

And so on. Here’s yet another important fact: the PTC subsidy is only paid out during the first ten years of a wind farm’s life.

That means that the wind farm being proposed in Fulton County is only guaranteed to be financially viable for its first ten years of operation.

Beyond that, it will take an act of Congress to keep it operating competitively with other sources of energy. That’s hardly comforting for a project that has a 25-30 year life span.

Fortunately, we’ve been offered a glimpse into our near future. A former Tipton County commissioner, Jane Harper, went out of her way to offer her advice in the November 3rd, 2017 edition of the Rochester Sentinel. Jane was responsible for helping approve the Wildcat I Wind Farm in Tipton County. She now regrets it, and reached out to Fulton County because she wishes someone had reached out to her. She said Tipton County’s setbacks (the distance a windmill must be from a home or property line) were not effective enough, resulting in noise and shadow flicker in neighboring homes.

Shadow flicker occurs when a windmill’s blades create a spinning shadow on a home.

Jane offered passionate, yet reasonable, advice to our community. After being offered a glimpse into our future, the disappointing response from our commissioners was mostly of dismissal.

Jane’s efforts should be thanked and her concerns should be thoroughly explored.

That being said, we should be thankful our commissioners have not rubber-stamped this project. Without their diligence, construction could already be underway before the public realized what was happening.

One valuable piece of advice Jane offered was that windmill setbacks should be established from property lines rather than residences. The Director of the Fulton County Planning Commission, Casi Cowles, admitted she was confused by Jane’s assertion.

While contemplating a proposed 1/2 mile setback from property lines, she stated, “If 1,500 feet isn’t good enough, why is adding 1,140 feet any better?” Here are two real-life reasons the setbacks should be established at 1/2 mile from property lines: 1) My property is 25 acres.

My 112 year-old farmhouse is on the far eastern edge of the property. If the approved setback ends up being 1,500 feet from a residential structure, windmills can be built right on my western property line. With the windmills in place, I could no longer build on the western half of my property, even if I want to replace my old farmhouse. In effect, the western half of my property would be owned by the windmills. I don’t know how anyone could argue that this isn’t a violation of property rights.

2) Shadow flicker from windmills is real. Go ahead and YouTube it; you’ll get queasy just watching the videos. Today, windmills placed at a 1,500-foot setback would cause approximately five hours of shadow flicker in a residence. It gets worse as the days shorten. I can prove it, but my wife convinced me to remove geometry and sun altitude information from this letter. With a 1/2 mile setback, the chance of shadow flicker in a victim’s home decreases significantly.

So we have a proposal in front of us that appears like an opportunity to some.

Something bigger than us has turned its eye toward our county’s larger landholders and said: “I am here for you. I can provide money to you and the county and it’s all in the name of sustainable energy!

All we need is your signature!”

It’s natural to think: “We should be thankful this large thing has turned its attention to us! This appears to be an opportunity! If we turn it down, we might be missing out on something! This project could bring money to the county! Landowners should be able to do what they want because wind energy is the future!”

In reality, we’re dealing with an entity in a shaky business who peddles promises in return for taxpayer dollars. In the best case scenario, we will be forced to live amongst these spinning skyscrapers for the next three decades, all while a few landowners benefit and the rest of us suffer (knowing full well our taxpayer dollars are the only reason the monstrosities exist). In the worst case scenario, wind energy falls out of favor of the federal government and nobody is left to operate, service, or decommission our dilapidated rural skyscrapers.

Our three commissioners, Bryan Lewis, Rick Ranstead, and Steve Metzger, will be deciding our future from here.

Their decisions will affect the county for the next 30+ years.

Let’s consider the decision that Bryan, Rick, and Steve are facing. They are weighing whether or not the promises outweigh the costs for Fulton County. The promises are in the future and are in the form of promised money and promised community support and promised infrastructure. And the promisers of these promises live or die by the acts of Congress. But Fulton County’s costs are real and right now.

This project will deface Fulton County, destroying its horizons, upstaging its beautiful reddish-purple sunrises and sunsets with spinning blades and blinking red lights. The county will be tattooed with windmills that will be the size of 60+ story skyscrapers. For visual reference, any one of the proposed windmills would be the second tallest building in downtown Indianapolis.

Our neighbors to the north, Marshall County, already decided they don’t want their residents to be forced to live amongst a wind farm. We should do the same.

But, if our commissioners decide to allow this government boondoggle that causes large landowner’s neighbors to become choice less victims, let’s at least protect the victims by enforcing a 1/2 mile setback from property lines. If the wind farm can’t make that work, fine. They can build one in Utah. I’ve lived there, and it’s not hard to get 1/2 mile from anything.

Thank you, Ryan Mulligan

A look at Valley’s wind turbine

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Friday, November 24, 2017.)

BY LEAH SANDER
Staff Writer, The Sentinel

Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. Superintendent Brett Boggs says the corporation’s wind turbine has “been a good thing for us.”

Boggs shared his thoughts regarding the corporation’s 325-foot turbine. It has been producing electricity at the middle and high schools for six years.

The turbine provides an average of 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year to power the two schools. The amount depends on the wind speed throughout the year. Boggs says that energy covers about 50-60 percent of the total electricity needed at both schools.

Boggs said the corporation saves about $150,000 dollars per year on electricity costs due to the turbine. The corporation also receives $5,000 in energy credits per year and makes a small amount of money if the turbine makes more energy than the school needs.

Fewer state funds

Like the solar project that the Tippecanoe Valley School Board approved last week to install at Mentone Elementary School, Boggs said the corporation opted to get a turbine due to fewer state funds going to rural schools.

“When we put (the turbine) in back in 2011, that’s when the state was really cutting schools’ funds and that was one of the reasons that we went ahead and did that was to help the general fund, and it has helped the general fund,” Boggs said.

He said the corporation pays for its turbine out of its debt service fund just as other schools do for new school buildings.

“So we’re paying for the wind turbine out of debt service. That $150,000 that now we don’t have to spend on electricity is money we can spend on teachers, programs, those kinds of things,” he said.

Boggs did say the turbine has not produced the money that the company initially stated due to it not meeting original energy production predictions.

Maintenance

The corporation also pays about $20,000 per year to Power Grid Partners of Ohio, its wind energy company, to maintain the turbine.

The company had to fix motors on it when lightning struck it during its first year of operation. There were no injuries or property damaged as a result of the strike.

“We had to replace a couple of motors that turned the blades. They worked on it and did a couple of additional things to protect it from lightning and we’ve not had any issues with that since,” he said.

In regards to other commonly cited issues with turbines, Boggs said the turbine has never had a blade breakdown and there is a bit of shadow flicker if the sun is really bright.

“The only thing that we see is if it’s the right time of the day and the sun’s at the right angle, we’ll get a little bit of a flicker from the blades. That will … not necessarily impact our buildings but it might impact the bus garage or the baseball field or something like that out there,” he said.

He said the turbine will make “a whoosh sound” if a lot of rain or snow gets on it, but otherwise does not make a lot of noise.

Little opposition

Boggs said the corporation has not really had complaints from people regarding the turbine.

“We didn’t have any opposition during the planning process up to constructing it, and then we’ve not had any issues with it since then,” he said.

He said the corporation did receive some complaints as the project progressed similar to what was heard when Fulton County leaders recently were deciding on a proposed 133-wind turbine farm in the county.

“We heard all the same things when we were looking into it. We did our homework and we did a lot of research. And a lot of the things (that he had read about the Fulton County project), the opposition is the same thing that you hear every time somebody is talking about a wind farm. And a lot of it is stuff that is … on the internet and I don’t know where it comes from, but as far as them causing health issues, and that kind of thing, I’m not sure where that comes from. I just think there is a lot of false information that gets out and I think it’s intended to scare people to evoke emotion. And I think sometimes the opposition is just that people don’t like change,” he said.

Boggs has had several people approach the corporation to ask questions about the turbine due to the recent debate in Fulton County.

“We had somebody stop by and ask me the other day they said they had heard that we can’t host a sectional football game because of the wind turbine. I said “That’s absolute nonsense. Whoever told you that, that’s not correct,” he said.

When asked about a problem such as ice coming off a turbine, Boggs said he advocates caution in situating turbines.“You know that’s one of the reasons why you put them out where there isn’t anybody around, because that could happen. I don’t know that I’m ever aware of anything like that that’s happened but we don’t have anybody out there either but that’s a reason why you wouldn’t want it close to a home or where people are because that does happen at times where there can be ice on it. When a blade is moving as quickly as those do, it could throw some ice,” he said.

Setback rules

The corporation had to follow the same rules regarding setbacks as any other wind project in Kosciusko County. The setback is one times the height of the turbine, and county rules also state the turbine must be 1,000 feet from any occupied building, such as a house, church or school, excluding buildings on the site of the project.

Boggs said they asked neighbors on the west side of the turbine if they could place it closer to their property line than normal setbacks allow to keep the turbine away from places like the bus garage and football field at the school. The neighbors granted their request.

Neighboring property owners received letters notifying them of Valley’s wind project. They met with the school corporation at the Kosciusko County Courthouse to receive more information. Boggs also said testing to protect birds and bats in the area was done and the corporation had to receive special approval for the project due to the Mentone Airport being nearby.

An advocate

Boggs mentioned that turbines could help rural school districts due to a lack of funding from the state.

“The thing that I look at I guess that I think is the most important is how (a wind project) could help North Miami and Caston schools. You know if their AV (assessed value of land in their school districts) increases that’s going to help them … gain additional tax dollars that they can use to support their schools. You know small rural school districts right now are dying a slow death and I think any additional funding that they can get is going to be beneficial,” he said.

Boggs also advocated for turbines due to them being a renewable energy source.

“One of the things that bothers me is that we depend so much on foreign oil as a country and if those countries want to, they could pretty well shut us down by limiting our access to that stuff. I think we’ve got to get away from expecting everybody else to meet our energy needs when we’ve got the capability of doing it right here. … I think it is important that we show our kids that there are other ways that we can produce the energy that we need, we can do it ourselves,” he said.

People may find more information on Valley’s turbine, including monthly energy production reports, by going to the school corporation website tippecanoevalleyschools.com, scrolling down to “Additional Quicklinks” and clicking on “Wind Turbine Information.”

Windfarm neighbor: You should know this

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(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.

Nancy Carney
Sharpsville, Indiana

Metzger recuses himself

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

(The following was originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Friday, November 17, 2017.)

BY WESLEY DEHNE
Staff Writer, The Sentinel

AND CHRISTINA M. SEILER

Managing Editor, The Sentinel

 

Fulton County Commissioner Steve Metzger told The Sentinel Thursday he will recuse himself from any future county business related to wind energy development.

 

The reason, he said, was because of “perceived conflicts of interest.” He denied any actual conflicts of interest pertaining to RES’ proposal to develop a wind farm in the county.

 

“Perception matters sometimes more than facts,” he said. “I think I probably should have done it earlier.”

 

He said he’s received direct criticism that his financial adviser is employed by RES and that his wife’s side of the family could potentially benefit from the project.

 

Metzger lives at 831 E. 650 South, which is within the area targeted by RES for as many as 133 wind turbines and $5.9 million in investment.

 

Prior to the Nov. 9 wind energy public forum hosted by commissioners at the Fulton Community Building, Metzger said he and his wife rent the home where they live. It is owned by her grandmother, he said.

 

When asked by The Sentinel if he would benefit financially through potential inheritance of that land because of the project, Metzger scoffed at the question. He said he does not know the details of his grandmother-in-law’s will.

 

Metzger said his relationship with Matt Berry, his financial adviser and a land acquisition manager for RES, was established well before the project was proposed.

 

“They just think I’m trying to get this wind farm project in for the benefit of my family or my wife’s family,” he said of opponents to the proposed project. “Links to corruption are being thrown up, and there is none. … I think they’re just trying anything they can at this point.”

 

He did note that his in-laws, who own land in the proposed project area, were contacted by RES to lease land. He said he is unsure if they signed a contract, adding “that’s none of my business.”

 

He also said some have been critical about his wife’s cousin putting up a MET tower as part of RES’ project.

 

“I’m not getting paid by anyone except the county,” Metzger said.

 

He’s been instructed by Fulton County Attorney Greg Heller not to participate in Monday’s public hearing, in which commissioners will discuss proposed amendments to the county’s commercial wind energy zoning ordinance. That public hearing will take place after commissioners’ 6 p.m. meeting in the Community Building at the Fulton County 4-H Fairgrounds.

 

Metzger is also not to discuss the ordinance or RES’ proposed project with commissioners Bryan Lewis and Rick Ranstead.

 

Prior to announcing his recusal, Metzger was challenged by Lynn Studebaker to provide all documents, copies of emails and phone records related to wind energy conversion projects in the county. Metzger’s personal email address and phone were included in the request.

 

“I didn’t think it was worth fighting it,” Metzger said of the request. “When they start saying civil suits and stuff like that, it’s just not worth it.”

 

Metzger added that he didn’t want to disclose private information.

 

“I have no vendetta against him,” said Studebaker, adding she simply speculated there may have been a conflict of interest. “I did not request any conversations that were personal.”

 

She told The Sentinel her request included Metzger’s personal email address because she learned from a second public records request of Fulton County Area Plan Director Casi Cowles that he was receiving information on county business in that manner.

 

“I really did not feel comfortable with him voting on this issue,” Studebaker said.

 

Metzger denied using his personal email for county business but said he would use his personal cellphone to check emails when away from the office.

 

Lewis and Cowles

 

Lewis and Cowles also have been asked about potential conflicts of interest.

 

Lewis’ father, Bill, owns and operates Lewis Backhoe, an excavating contractor. Should a wind farm gain approval from county officials, there will be excavating required for road, culvert and drainage building or repair.

 

Lewis thanked The Sentinel for the question and said he did not believe there would be much, if any, benefit to his father because much of the work Lewis Backhoe does now involves directional boring, or cutting trenches for conduit and small pipes.

 

A citizen called Cowles out because there was reaction from her Facebook page to calls from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 to get members to attend public meetings pertaining to the wind rules and project.

 

“This is a strong conflict of interest,” the woman said over the telephone. She would not give her name.

 

Two posts by James Gardner, the Local 150 business representative, were liked by the Facebook account Troy and Casi Cowles.

 

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Cowles said Thursday. “I rarely get on Facebook.” They do, she said, share an account.

 

“My husband is in the Local 150. He’s been in the local 150 for many years,” Cowles said. “He’s allowed to express his opinion. Some families don’t allow their members to voice their individual opinions. In my family, that’s OK.”

 

Cowles said there will not come a time where she will give a recommendation to county officials about how they should vote on the zoning regulations pertaining to wind power or on approving a wind farm.

 

It’s not her job to recommend, she said, only to prepare the information officials need to make an educated vote. “I think it’s more important to focus on the facts,” Cowles said.

 

Officials side against wind farm

STRONG EMOTIONS The crowd’s reaction after Commission President Bryan Lewis announced that commercial wind energy conversion systems would be stricken from the county’s zoning ordinance. More than 300 people attended the public hearing Monday night in the Community Building at the Fulton County 4-H Fairgrounds. The Sentinel photo/Shelby Lopez (Read article)

Noise from Industrial Wind Turbines

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

Noise is the most common problem with industrial wind turbines. The noise from industrial wind turbines is far different than other types of noise–it is low frequency and constant, like a hog exhaust fan which is then punctuated by rumbles and thumping as the blades swoosh past the tower. Wind turbine noise is often likened to “a jet engine which never lands”.

Wind turbines cause issues and dangers at far lower decibel readings than other common noise generators such as cars and farm machinery. In addition, those items “come” and “go”, yet
neighbors are subjected to wind turbine noise 24/7/365.

Excessive noise results in sleep disturbance, which is noted by ALL medical research as a serious health risk. Noise, especially nighttime noise, is associated with an increase in stress hormones leading to hypertension, stroke, heart failure, and immune problems.

The currently proposed decibel level for Fulton County is 50. This is equivalent to standing
directly beside a running clothes dryer 24 hours a day. Do you want your dryer running beside your ear while you watch tv? Do you want your dryer running beside the headboard of your bed? How about while you read to your child?

Because the sound generated by industrial wind turbine is low frequency, it can actually be worse inside of your house, since the walls and windows act as conduits of the noise.

Fulton County needs to set their wind turbine decibel level so that IT PROTECTS HE
HEALTH, WELFARE, AND SAFETY OF ITS CITIZENS. The current nighttime average in
quiet, rural Fulton County is 25 decibels or less. A level of 50 is far too loud and will harm and
endanger the health of our residents.

The National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization, along with many other
medical researchers, recommend a noise level no higher than 30 decibels inside the home, and no higher than 40 decibels outside the home. 50 decibels is NOT safe!!

Submitted by resident of Fulton County

Fulton County turbines taller than all skyscrapers in Indianapolis…

Tipton County Indiana (east of Kokomo, IN).

Aaron Ault, resident of Liberty Township of Fulton County presented on behalf of Fulton County, IN Property Rights group at the Public Meeting held by the County Commissioners on Thursday, November 9, 2017 in Fulton, IN. Mr. Ault is a Distinguished Alumnus of Caston School Corporation. This video was recorded by Nanette Sherrick and originally posted on her Facebook page and is republished here with her permission.

 

Take the time to watch!

Posted by Nanette Sherrick on Friday, November 10, 2017