Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013: Letters to the editor

— As reported in the Kokomo Tribune, juwi Wind has submitted a property value guarantee to the Tipton County BZA, with a value of $1 million. A recent home sale within the Wildcat Wind Farm netted the owner a $65,000 loss. That means juwi’s property value guarantee may barely cover 15 home sales in the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm. Juwi also announced it can purchase properties outright. So if it buys a 100 acre farm for $1 million, perhaps to facilitate nine more turbines, then what momentary guarantee remains for non-participating landowners?

These foreign companies have no problem taking the American taxpayers’ dollars to make their profits, and then sell their sloppy businesses to American companies like Duke Energy, whose own energy projects end up billions of dollars in the red. Not only do the utility customers end up saddled with a rate increase for Duke’s failures, now they will get to pay for the wind energy companies’ scheming. Is Duke Energy going to clean up E.ON’s mess in the Wildcat area?

As for my property value, the January Prairie Breeze Wind Farm map had seven turbines within a half-mile radius of my property, and the new juwi map has seven turbines, moved around within the same area. My property value protection is as worthless as it was with the first juwi proposal presented March 20. The newest proposal once again provides the participating landowners and juwi with about 97 percent of the original proposal. Only one of the participating landowners lives within my half-mile footprint. The other six are absentee landowners. One of these absentee owners lives elsewhere in Tipton County. His family farm operation is included in the $85 million received in federal farm subsidies over a 10-year period (farm.ewg.org). Are subsidized, tax-abatement-supported businesses among the $300 million investment touted on the signs posted along U.S. 31 in Tipton County?

If the BZA approves juwi’s latest proposal, the rights of wealthy and absentee landowners will be placed ahead of the non-participating residents’ rights. The new juwi proposal includes a 1,400-foot setback from a residence, not a property line. Contrary to everything presented at the March 20 BZA meeting, this latest proposal provides no guarantees “the approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the community.” Nothing has changed.

Property value guarantees and 1,500-foot setbacks from property lines are the BZA’s established requirements. These requirements do not need to be changed.

If juwi cannot abide by the decision of the Tipton County majority, then perhaps it should be placing industrial wind turbines in a less densely populated area.

Russell Turk