Turbines: An Ill Wind? – Part II
(Editor’s Note:?This is the second installment of Cynthia Berkland’s letter. Due to its length, the letter is printed in two issues to meet the guidelines of the newspaper.)
To the Editor:
Another consideration is the noise pollution. We were assured that the “whoosh” of the blades is less than the sound of the air conditioning at the VFW. That may be true, but the hum of the generator is considerably louder and more unpleasant. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that there is a negative health effect of living near turbines.
All of these arguments are emotional, not financial, so I doubt that they will sway many people, but these intangibles are important. Once something is done, it cannot be undone. We need to consider all sides of the issue before making a decision. One of the things I most love about our county is its peace and natural beauty. If we fill the countryside with these behemoths, that will disappear. My home is already surrounded by hog facilities, making it frequently impossible to spend time outdoors or even open my windows, and those are at least a half-mile away. Our zoning commission was asked to collect information and write an ordinance. They recommended the same setback for turbines as for hog facilities. The board of supervisors, however, changed the policy to 1500 feet, just barely more than a quarter-mile away from residences. That is to Mid-American’s advantage, not ours. The half-mile setback protected those who didn’t want the intrusion but allowed others to build closer if they chose by signing a waiver. This was good for everyone. Now, these turbines could be as little as a quarter-mile away from my home. I think that a person should be able to do what he wants on his own land, but not to the detriment of his neighbors’ quality of life. Make no mistake: this will reduce our quality of life. No more peaceful country walks, no more birdsong, no more sightings of pheasants or foxes or other wildlife-they will be killed or move out.
Right now the wind energy companies need us, so they will tell us almost anything to convince us that this is in our best interests. But, these people do not live here, so what do they care if our beautiful countryside becomes just another industrial wasteland? And no one has even mentioned property values. If two essentially equal properties were for sale, one next to a wind turbine and the other not, which would you buy?
One further observation: those most vocally supportive of the project all seem to live in town. They will reap the benefits without paying the price. If this is so great an opportunity, why not put turbines just outside town, say, just north or west of Rockport, so everyone can enjoy them? I guess we know whose ox will get gored, don’t we?
(signed) Cynthia Berkland
P.S. I am not opposed to clean, green energy, and I recognize that our county needs a financial transfusion, but this is not as perfect as they would have us believe. There is more to life than money, and those factors have to be taken into account when we make decisions that have such sweeping, long-term effects. These are serious problems and should not be taken lightly. In the final consideration, we need to decide if what some of us will gain financially is worth what all of us will lose.