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February 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Feb. 8, 2013

Officials should share wind farm analysis

I have read a few letters to the editor from supporters of the industrial windmills in Tipton County, calling citizens to investigate the facts before arriving to conclusions on this controversial initiative in our county. I wholeheartedly agree.

Yet, it is precisely certain facts that are elusive in this debate. Not surprisingly, most letters in support of the 500-foot-tall industrial windmills have been written by those who have multiple signed leases with juwi Wind Energy, many of which were signed a few years ago but just were made public when juwi submitted its application recently.

As a concerned citizen of Tipton County, I question the objectivity of those who understandably are motivated by the opportunity to make approximately $10,000 to $15,000 annually per windmill on their property. It seems there is ample room for emotionalism from the supporters of the windmills, since they have much to gain monetarily by rashly moving forward with this project.

All those opposed to further expansion of the windmills with whom I have spoken are honest seekers of factual information on this issue. We would like to know that our elected officials in Tipton County have done their due diligence on such a controversial issue, and that they have carefully reviewed the growing list of evidence that substantiates the concerns of Tipton County citizens regarding the health and safety risks and the negative effects on property values from the industrial windmills.

This is a great opportunity for our elected and appointed county officials to serve with discernment and integrity and to protect the interests of all Tipton County citizens — not only the interests of a few farmers and landowners who have signed lucrative leases with juwi Wind Energy.

Scott Smith’s article titled “Juwi sees report denied to public” in Tuesday’s Kokomo Tribune illustrates well the secretive nature of the windmill development process. If the financial benefits to the county as a whole are so great, please release the document to the public for further analysis. I am a CPA by profession, with 10 years’ experience auditing governmental and not-for-profit organizations. I must say I have some professional skepticism as to why the H.J. Umbaugh financial analysis would not be released.

If it was a “document created to aid negotiations,” please allow Tipton County citizens the opportunity to review the information too so we can be a part of the decision process. As the supporters of the windmills recommend, we should know the facts.

Nathan D. Salsbery, Tipton

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