Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


March 10, 2013

Letters to the editor - Sunday, March 10, 2013

Disappointed with process for opposition

I am a homeowner inside the footprint of the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm. If the project goes through as proposed, I will have 10 of these 500-foot-tall, industrial wind turbines within a mile of my front door. As a result, I am keenly interested in the outcome of the March 20 BZA meeting. Its outcome will determine the future value of my home, whether I will be able to sell my home (if necessary) and my family’s health and peace of mind for the next 25 years.

My overriding feeling as I have researched and been involved in the process of preparing for the BZA meeting, is one of disappointment with a process that leaves me just one opportunity to try to protect my home and future.

I, like many homeowners in my area, first learned of the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm days before the Dec. 17 tax abatement meeting. I went to that meeting and voiced my concerns, but it seemed apparent that the decision to approve was a foregone conclusion. When we asked at that meeting why we were only just learning about this project when Juwi had been signing leases and working with the county government for four years, we were told that we should have come to the council and planning meetings.

I am an engineering manager that typically works 60-plus hours per week. It never occurred to me that, in a county where the planning meetings typically handle issues like zoning approvals for pole barns, such a huge decision as the one to introduce industrial wind turbines could occur without the public being informed in some way.

While I understand that legally no broader notification may have been required, I am disappointed that no one felt it appropriate to go beyond just “what is required” and get this issue in front of the county population.

The decision to make our county “wind friendly” is one that should have been made by the county at large, not just a few.

This is especially true given that the county government itself is one of those that will benefit from the proposed installations. We’ve all heard from Juwi and the proponents of the wind farm about the potential tax revenue that may come in. While those figures are debatable, there is no doubt that the county will be a recipient of funding.

Whether or not there is a specific conflict of interest from any of those involved, as a homeowner, it feels like the county government as a whole has a conflict of interest, as they define the process and ultimately determine the outcome when they are one of the principal beneficiaries.

Juwi claims that the proposed wind farm will have no impact on my property value and will not generate noise that will prevent me from sleeping at night or impact my health, and the proponents and beneficiaries are parroting these assertions without challenging them. The extensive research that I have performed over the past two months leads me to substantially question those claims, and I encourage everyone to do their own research and draw their own conclusions.

But, I have a different concern. What penalty is there for Juwi or the proponents if their assertions are false? If the wind farm goes through and two years from now my property is worth 40 percent less, if I cannot sleep at night because of the noise levels in my home (infrasound and audible), if I am right about the concerns and Juwi and the proponents were wrong, what recourse do I have?

First, the burden of proof will be solely on me to prove the impact. County Plan Commission Director Steve Edson has acknowledged that the county does not have the equipment or expertise to monitor sound levels and would be dependent on the industry to monitor itself or citizens to provide that data themselves.

If I’m successful in proving impact, who do I look to for redress? Do I look to Juwi? If the company’s historical pattern holds, by that time, it will have sold the wind farm to another entity. Do I look to Prairie Breeze Wind Farm LLC? It has been set up as a limited liability corporation, specifically to limit its exposure. Do I look to the county? Do I look to the farmers on whose land the turbines reside?

The reality is that there is little if any penalty for juwi or any of the proponents of the wind farm if they put forward inaccurate information to get the wind farm approved. By the time their misstatements are proven to be wrong, they will be gone (taking their profit and our tax dollars with them), and Tipton County residents will be left with the mess they created.

Hopefully, you can understand from that, why we homeowners are fighting so hard now in opposing the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm (despite the fact that it seems like David fighting Goliath); it is because we see the BZA meeting as our last opportunity to protect our investments in our homes, our health and well-being and to prevent our county from being overrun by industrial wind turbines.

I encourage everyone to show up at the Tipton High School auditorium at 5 p.m. March 20, and let your voice be heard on this issue.

Mark Lynn, Sharpsville

DST in Indiana defies common sense

Nobody complains more than Hoosiers about changing their clocks. And there’s a valid reason – Daylight Savings Time in Indiana’s Eastern zone is painful! Just as we are beginning to be cheered by morning sunshine after coming out of a long, dark winter, Hoosiers in Indiana’s Eastern Time counties will be plunged back into dark mornings today. It’s depressing! In contrast, Hoosiers in Indiana’s Central Time counties will barely notice the switch to DST because it will be daylight when most of them get out of bed today.

It wasn’t always this way. When time zones were established, Indiana was a Central Time state. Portions of Indiana were switched to the Eastern Time Zone in the 1960s to facilitate communications with financial centers and network television in New York. Today’s instantaneous information transfer through e-technology has negated “perceived” advantages of Eastern Time in Indiana. In the meantime, Eastern Time is causing many “inconveniences to commerce”. The demand for nationwide same-day delivery of specialized products and parts is forcing Indiana manufacturers to relocate to logistics hubs in the Central Time Zone. Eastern Time hubs can’t meet that demand.

The 3-hour time difference with the West Coast is now a year-round inconvenience for direct communications and a deterrent to business interaction with Indiana. Late broadcast of nationally televised sports and cultural events is inconvenient for Hoosier audiences and reduces the viewership. Indiana is not taking advantage of its natural Central Time location.

At the same time, when it doesn’t get dark until around 10 p.m., Eastern Time has stolen the darkness from summer evenings. Darkness brings the magic to campfires, allows stars to be visible, brings focus to the music at summer concerts, and provides intimacy for evening chats. The late sunlight of Eastern Time is family-unfriendly when it comes to bedtime and July 4th fireworks.

20,000 Hoosiers and 42 school districts have signed petitions and resolutions in support of restoring Indiana to its original, geographically correct Central Time Zone. The General Assembly is being asked to appoint a study committee to examine the consequences of Indiana’s split time zone designations and to evaluate their effects on Hoosiers. Time Zone issues have never been vetted by our legislators. Hoosiers are saying that this discussion is overdue.

Susannah H. Dillon, President, Central Time Coalition, Carmel

Efficiency of wind turbines questioned

With the proposed Prairie Breeze wind farm looming on the horizon, I have taken much time to research the efficiency of the Industrial Wind Turbines and their contribution to shrinking our carbon footprint. During my research, I found it imperative to look at both sides of the debate with an open mind.

Probably the most interesting thing I found was that Blue Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert, Ohio, which was installed last year, touted a great reduction in the carbon footprint.

However, they also stated that the turbines on a windy day would operate at 30 percent efficiency. I did not think that was a great contribution, so I delved further in and found that what was actually said was that it could operate at up to 30 percent efficiency. The actual number was proprietary. This indicates that the “actual” number is likely far less.

I also read that because wind farms can only contribute to the grid on windy days, fossil fuel plants must toggle off and online to support when there was little or no wind, or when there were “dips” in the wind farm production.

Further, the fossil fuel plants (i.e. coal, natural gas, and nuclear) are not able to ramp production up and down quickly. Therefore, to meet demands, they keep their production at full capacity and simply toggle the output of the fossil fuel production off and on alternate to the wind farm. This means that the fossil fuel plants never slow down.

That being said, the carbon footprint of these plants is not reduced at all. In addition, the manufacture, transport, installation and maintenance of the Industrial Wind Turbine uses additional fossil fuels to complete. So in the end, the wind farm’s existence, while appearing to be “green,” actually increases our carbon footprint.

I think Industrial Wind Turbines will someday be the way of the future for power generation. However, currently they are simply an exercise in profit generation.

The wind turbine manufacturers, the companies that build these wind farms and the people who host a turbine on their property all get a little wealthier. At the same time, the tax payers suffer while subsidizing a technology that hasn’t matured to efficiency yet. The citizens located by these Industrial Wind Turbines also suffer because wind farm companies have not made a serious effort to locate these farms where they will not cause harm and distress to humans.

It’s cheaper to put them in a community where there are people hungry for the money rather than concerned about community.

Eric Parent, Sharpsville

Nation needs Christianity

Don’t we just love those Democrats? We really want our taxes doubled on thousands of acres of farm ground. The city leaders leave out the houses in the latest annexation area so they won’t have to furnish trash pickup. Farmers get nothing for double property taxes but restrictions on the use of their land.

The Democrats have controlled the news media for the last 40 years, and the only religion they belittle is Christianity. President Obama also belittles Christianity, and our constitution, which he swore to uphold. He does not seem to have respect for Israel, God’s chosen nation. He has bankrupted this nation and doesn’t have the desire to fix it. He doesn’t have to account for anything he does.

Now you can not blame Republicans. They don’t even suspect anything, let alone be smart enough to fix it.

If the people of this nation don’t turn to Christianity, we will never have a great nation again.

Ralph Hendershot, Kokomo

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