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Looking At The Positive Side

May 12, 2016
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

I'm sure there will be many that read this and not appreciate a look at the positive side of wind farms. I have lived in the area my entire life. Looking at the horizon, and being able to see for miles is something many will never understand. The majestic beauty of Iowa is truly "God's Country." Life in Iowa is very relaxed and we are slow to keep up with the times and trends of today. In fact by the time the trends of the East and West Coasts reach us (generally two years or longer), they are already outdated and behind. Progress is slow but it is also absolute. Nothing can remain the same forever and we as, humans, have learned to and must continue to adapt with the changes. Unfortunately, there comes a time when we need to keep pace with these changing times or forever be left behind wondering "What if?"

Many negative aspects have been raised about the proposed "Lost Island Wind Farm" and all issues, positive and negative, must be considered. I feel it is unfortunate that most of what is talked about is the negative side, so I did some research of my own and came up with some interesting economical and environmental positives for our county.

Economically, there is not an area in Palo Alto County that couldn't use a push forward, getting help recovering from the banking crisis that hit the country. Currently the overall investment into the "Lost Island Wind Project" is roughly $260 million. With about 200+ jobs created during the construction phase, it is projected that housing, shopping, dining, and other services that are needed by people will be impacted in a positive manner. After completion of the project, six to ten full time operations and maintenance technicians, with the potential earnings of $75,000 to $90,000 per year will be created. This is already a lot of money coming into the county, so how will the county benefit from this project.

During year one, an estimated $1,000,000 in payments will be made to landowners, which will escalate to almost $32,000,000 in payments to landowners over a 25 year period. The economic benefit for the county would be over $39,000,000 in property tax payments over 25 years. Beginning in year seven, the project would pay $1,821,690 and then every year after year seven, for property taxes and $840,780 would be paid to schools in the county.

Environmental benefits also exist. Wind energy emits no greenhouse gases so it is considered clean energy. Furthermore, wind energy emits no toxins and the turbines use minimal water during construction and virtually no water during operation. With global warming a big concern and water pollution an issue also, the wind farms help the environment in more ways than they harm it.

Wind developers must also work closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources, as well as other governmental bodies to ensure studies are done on migratory birds and endangered species. I do not believe that any governmental body would approve of something such as a wind farm if serious threats exist. Since the first wind farms, a lot has been learned regarding a wind turbine and its relationship to wildlife.

I am neither for nor against the proposed wind farm. I feel that it is important that residents see the potential for economic benefit for our county along with environmental benefits. Each landowner in the projected area must decide for him or herself what is best for their family today and 25 years down the road. In order to make an informed decision of such great importance, all the facts, both positive and negative, need to be looked at. I only hope that in the end this issue does not divide neighbors and friends as issues of the past have done.



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