Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013: Letters to the editor

Kokomo Tribune

---- — E.ON assurances are empty promises

Since recently learning that my home is literally inside the footprint of the proposed Howard County Wildcat Wind Farm, I have been doing all I can to learn about the potential impacts the industrial wind turbines could have on our community.

This journey has taken me to multiple studies and articles, especially regarding potential property value declines and health effects wherein authors and/or researchers seek to definitively make their case — only to be contradicted by yet another study on the other side of the issue.

In fact, even a 143-page “official study” given by an E.ON representative to a nonparticipating landowner in the present Madison/Tipton County Wildcat Wind Farm, while energetically striving to prove that property values are not negatively impacted, states in its final sentence, “Currently, the severe lack of statistical rigor, unbiasedness, and reliable methodologies across the wind farm proximity and property value studies cannot allow any general conclusions to be made — only site-specific findings.”

How’s that for a definitive statement?

Similarly, when numerous people presently living under the impact of industrial wind turbines fervently declare they are, indeed, suffering negative health issues, it seems there is some study or article “out there” ridiculing those citizens as somehow making it all up — that there is no way these effects can be “real.”

In light of this dilemma, I pose the following two questions:

A. What if property value declines and negative health effects are real?

B. And if they are, who should be held morally, ethically and financially responsible when they occur?

Unfortunately, we are already finding sufficient proof of both property value declines and negative health effects through the official complaints being filed by our local wind farm victims. I find it quite disturbing that our own county commissioners are showing no signs, whatsoever, of taking these written complaints seriously, choosing instead to continue believing the easily rebuffed studies of the wind companies.

How sad that we have a local government that is far more willing to have its citizens bear the physical and financial risks, while an intruding corporation lavishes in its government subsidies. Indeed, the wind company assurances are empty promises, until they back it up with legally binding guarantees. The burden of proof is on them, not the citizens of this county.

Keith Brautigam


Economic turnaround negates turbine need

When wind turbine companies began seeking contracts with Howard County landowners in 2009, most Hoosiers were only familiar with wind turbines located in open spaces out west. Wind generating power projects developed in South Dakota and Iowa because these states ranked 46th and 36th, respectively, in population density. Indiana ranks 16th.

Let’s talk about another development since 2009: the size of wind turbines. In some instances, bigger is better, but not always. Larger, taller wind turbines capture more wind and produce more power, which is better for making more money. But the effects of noise, vibration and low-frequency signals are also greater, which isn’t a plus for nearby residents.

Lastly, consider the motive for inviting wind installations into our county: economic benefits. Howard County has certainly had its ups and downs. In late 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Kokomo as the third-fastest “dying city,” Chrysler was struggling and employment was dropping. By 2011, Kokomo was recognized nationally for its growth and economic recovery. Recently, Chrysler announced a major expansion that will create 1,200 jobs in our area.

So, since the local economy and wind turbines have gone through major changes, doesn’t it make sense to take another look at bringing industrial wind to rural Howard County? We don’t have to sacrifice our standard of living to a project that was initiated in 2009.

If there is not enough open space in our area for utilityscale wind generation, then the wind developers should look elsewhere. Write and urge our Howard County commissioners and Planning Commission to protect residents from wind turbine projects and go to easternhowardwind.com to learn more.

Howard County Concerned Citizens represents many who want to ensure that wind projects do no harm. Attend the commissioners’ meeting July 1 and support the best interests of Howard County.

Susie Cox