Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 7, 2013

Letters to the editor - Friday, March 8, 2013

More wind farm research needed

Hardly a day goes by without an ad in the Kokomo Tribune by juwi talking about all of the benefits they will provide to Tipton County with the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm. They don’t mention Howard County but the turbines will be on Howard Co. 500 South/Tipton Co. 700 North.

Upon closer examination, these wind turbine benefits are like catching gnats in the night sky. The only benefactors seem to be the land lease holders, turbine material(s) pipeline, and the shareowners of juwi. Issues of liability are skirted by the creation of LLCs, trusts, etc. Some farmland lease holders will say that no opposition group has the right to tell them how to use their land. One Russiaville farmer said on a talk show earlier this week that members of the opposition are the same people running around in off-road vehicles tearing up and destroying farm land. I would say for a fact that most members of the opposition consist of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and business people who have impeccable credentials. Their children are brilliant students who will be the future leaders of our community and country. This Russiaville farmer is probably one of the first in line to take any and all subsidized monies available. That’s our tax money!

I talked to one landowner with a lease who said “don’t blame me; blame Obama.” Earlier this week, I stopped at a gas station in Windfall and talked to a few people. To start the conversation, I’d indicate the turbine were really big. Their responses included words such as “ugly, grotesque, alien, and black eye.” It appeared as if they were still in disbelief the turbines were real. I mentioned I had heard it would cost $5 million to $15 million to dismantle one. They just shook their heads. It is a fact these 500 foot tall turbines that are near subdivisions such as Chippendale in Howard County, villages, and towns will hurt home values as much as 40 percent. Homes closest to the turbines may not even be saleable. Estimated home value loss in just Chippendale is $9 million!

Health issues are becoming more of a concern relating to the low frequency noise and the power grid of electricity. Those with existing heart or hearing issues may incur major medical expenses. Until studies are completed, no further wind farm development should be allowed in Indiana. Regulations at the State level need to be enacted to create sufficient buffer zones to protect the citizens of Indiana and reduce corruption at the county level. The German people were mislead by the Nazi propaganda. Let’s not repeat history by believing the juwi propaganda. Stop the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm project now.

Darrell Pennycoff, Sharpsville

The definition of sequestration

From Polipedia:

Sequestration: (see-kwes-tra’shun):

1. Process where the Government is required to pay “their fair share”.

2. Always preceded by the House and the Senate along with the President, signing into law.

3. One of the few bipartisan political processes agreed upon by the majority of the Executive Branch.

4. One of the many bipartisan political processes where most politicians agree to cover their career and secure their next votes by not taking a stand or responsibility for the consequences.

5. Politically prefered process of the “Cowards of Congress” to cut costs without jeopardizing their jobs, precious perks and profitable paychecks.

6. Negatve consequences to their constituency is merely collateral damage, which is totally acceptable.

Patrick E. Harvey, Peru

Wind farms are all about money

Juwi Wind completes Minnesota project: there were 15-2 megawatt turbines build 480 ft. If you followed the article ,they wanted to have 30 percent by 2020 (expand to 30 percent of the energy.) The question is how many more turbines to get there? Is this method practical, or just a farce? It also sounded like the community has financial returns to their tax base from the energy produced.

Again we are back to a handful of greedy people; that let the wind mill companies draw up our ordinance.

This community in Nobles County, Minn. must be smarter then us. They went into Wind Farms on a smaller scale then us. 15 turbines to give the people a chance to see the results and effects.

We have the Wind Fall, with E-ON project, for our chance to learn. We don’t need to jump into another one before studying the results of this one.

juwi Wind has been known to sell off a wind farm when finished; leaving the next company to worry about effects, complaints and maintenance. Is this what will happen to the juwi wind farm in Liberty and Prairie Townships, with 94 turbines? Hit and run?

This leaves our beautiful rural area with this industrial landscape. Remember folks, it’s all about money for the few! Wake up people before it’s to late!

I could have been one of the few! But I decided not to scar this beautiful area with the dinosaurs and a little bit of money from the wind mill companies and have all the health issues and put this on my neighbors, no thank you! I couldn’t live with myself! But I guess they will be doing it to me!

Jim Leffler, Tipton County

Rep. Rokita good for Kokomo

It was a good day for our community when Howard County became a part of the 4th District, and Todd Rokita became our Congressman. Congressman Rokita represents approximately three-fourths of Howard County, and I know we have one of the hardest-working congressmen in the country.

When Todd was our Indiana Secretary of State, he was known for his work ethic and good service to Indiana residents. These are still Congressman Rokita’s priorities, only he is doing them even better.

Todd works tirelessly in Washington and throughout his district, and he has chosen a staff that works alongside him and shares his work ethic and commitment to the residents of the 4th District. Todd keeps the residents of the 4th District up to date on his efforts in Washington through his e-newsletter, The Rokita Report. I find this communication very helpful and appreciate hearing what is going on through the Congressman’s eyes, unfiltered by the media.

While in Washington, Todd is a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and knows he is there to make tough and difficult choices. Congressman Rokita understands the threat to our children and grandchildren if the leaders of our country don’t display the courage and fortitude to make the right decisions for America.

Congressman Rokita often talks about the fact that the taxpayers who will bear the burden of the current reckless spending are not yet born–certainly not a legacy we should pass to the next generation. Todd knows that the time has come when America must get its “house in order” financially, and I am confident that he will do his part to keep us from going off the “financial cliff.”

Judy Buck, Kokomo

Federal tax code is in need of repair

Our federal tax code is broken. There are more than two changes to it every congressional day for 20 years. It is so complicated that many IRS employees can’t explain it accurately. It is 72,000 pages long. A tax code that has fostered an industry, tax lobbyists, who outnumber DC elected officials 32 to 1. The government picks winners and losers. We’ve become so smart but we’ve lost common sense.

A bill in Congress, HR25, remedies the above. The FairTax replaces taxes on income with a tax on consumption. It’s fair. You decide how much in taxes you pay. It’s simple. No forms to fill out and no records to keep.  Politicians can’t adjust provisions of it to give advantages to special interest groups or supporters. All citizens are granted a prebate to cover the tax on basic goods and services. Without taxes on income and employment, businesses thrive as their costs go down. Without the burden of our current tax system our manufactured goods become competitive worldwide. Good paying jobs return. The economy is saved without spending $1 on stimulus. Call your Congressmen today and ask for his support for the bill.

The FairTax, once you understand it, you’ll demand it.

Anthony Gasbarro, Fairhope, Alabama

Senate Bill 560 can help energy costs

The Kokomo Tribune recently picked up an editorial first published by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette expressing concern about Senate Bill 560 — a bill aimed at expanding natural gas service to rural areas, providing an energy discount to large customers seeking to expand in Indiana, and making changes to improve and update the utility regulatory process.

Specifically, the editorial takes issue with a provision in the bill that allows natural gas and electric utilities to seek timely recovery of costs associated with improving or replacing aging infrastructure needed to distribute natural gas or electricity to customers. Unfortunately, the editorial ignores the extensive oversight the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) retains when it comes to utility rates and charges.

Here is how the bill would work: A utility could propose a seven-year infrastructure plan to improve or replace transmission, distribution and storage facilities. The IURC would conduct a public review of the plan, and customer groups and other affected parties would have the opportunity to comment on the plan and lodge objections to it.

If, after hearing from all sides, the IURC determines the plan is reasonable and approves it, the utility would go back to the IURC up to twice a year and petition to recover its costs through a regulatory tool called a “tracker.” This is another stage of detailed review by the IURC and interested parties. If the IURC finds the costs are unreasonable or unnecessary, it can reject them.

The editorial calls trackers a “deregulatory move,” which is not true. As is the case with any tracker, a utility could not recover a penny under SB 560 without explicit prior IURC review and approval. In fact, this proposed legislation provides the IURC with increased ability to review a utility’s infrastructure plans prior to implementation — a review that typically does not occur under traditional rate case processes.

SB 560 requires a utility to submit to a rate case within seven years. The lack of such a provision in previous tracker legislation has been the major objection of consumer groups and large industrial customers. Importantly, its inclusion in SB 560 prompted some opponents — including some major industrial customers — to withdraw their objection to the bill.

SB 560 will also help Hoosiers who need access to low-cost natural gas. The bill contains an important economic development tool to encourage businesses to expand and grow. It provides an orderly process for utility infrastructure investment without compromising IURC authority to protect customers from unnecessary or unreasonable utility rates and charges.

Indiana’s energy costs have risen as a result of our historic reliance on coal-fired electric generation colliding head on with what many of us feel is excessive and unnecessary environmental overreach by the Obama administration. Indiana’s utilities have been forced to spend more than $5 billion to comply with these regulations — costs that are passed directly on to consumers. SB 560 cannot eliminate these federal mandates, but it can help many Hoosiers by giving them greater access to low-cost natural gas.

State Sen. Brandt Hershman, Buck Creek