Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Letters

April 24, 2013

April 24, 2013: Letters to the editor

Some farmers regret leases for turbines

Much has been said about living with industrial wind turbines. One aspect that has been ignored until now is the remorseful leaseholder who is committed to hosting turbines while dreading their actual installation.

In Howard County, wind promoters began courting landowners as early as 2009. Think back — how much did you know about these monsters in 2009? How about in 2011? We found out while canvassing Greentown in early 2012 most people hadn’t yet formed an opinion. It was just a scene they had driven past while traveling.

On the face of it, wind sounds wonderful — it’s free, clean, often available. Why not harness its power? Most Americans truly wish to maintain our environment and avoid the pollution that threatens countries that put profits before stewardship of our world. Many of those who first signed leases with Big Wind thought they were doing their part to save their corner of the globe.

These aren’t your grandfather’s windmills.

Fast forward to 2013. If you do a little research, you will find myriad stories of communities that have a similar time line regarding the onslaught of Big Wind. It begins with large companies gorging on federal funding like huge hogs crowding around a trough (filled with our tax dollars) while courting landowners. Similar to timeshare salesmen, they ply prospective turbine hosts with visions of how great it will be for everyone — easy profits.

But over time, neighbors have found the reality doesn’t meet the dream. Huge equipment begins tearing up fields and country roads, crushing drainage tile, and not just of turbine leasees. Neighbors also have to suffer through round-the-clock construction noise and lights, equipment-clogged roads, and periods without power — and that’s just during construction! Next comes the active turbines — vibration, constant jet engine-like noise, lights similar to an airport runway, and often health problems plague anyone unlucky to live in what had been a peaceful country setting.

What follows are complaints that often are ignored. They did sign a lease, didn’t they?

I’m sure turbine hosts love their children, grandchildren and homes just as much as we all do. They didn’t have a crystal ball to predict the outcome of their often uninformed liaison with Big Wind. How many legislators actually read the Affordable Care Act? Lengthy contracts filled with unintelligible legalese contain paragraphs that remain unread, including “gag orders.”

So, what then? The story doesn’t end there —as long as final permits haven’t been issued, it’s not too late.

We have been contacted by landowners who would give back every penny to be released from their contracts. Others have said they will do all they can to spare others the same misery.

Don’t let this drive a wedge in our community! Every citizen has the right to make our wishes known to our elected representatives. Attend the next meeting of the Howard County commissioners, 4 p.m. May 6, and write to our commissioners and urge them to reject the creeping plague of Big Wind that is threatening the Midwest and every other region of the United States. Find the facts at www.easternhowardwind.com.

Leelia Cornell

Greentown

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