---- — Oil, coal have much to gain in wind fight
Of all current hot-button issues, one of the hottest is the issue of wind farms. Since I have no dog in this particular fight, I have held my silence. Lately, however, I’ve had second thoughts. But first, some limited, firsthand knowledge, as well as my personal opinion.
When I was living in Southern California, I worked as a shuttle driver for several used-car dealers from early 1972 to late 1973. And from 1989 to 1991, I worked as a “hiker” for Budget Rent A Car in Van Nuys.
In 1973, while driving from Van Nuys to Fillmore on Calif. 125, I observed a small wind farm near the Sespe citrus orchard east of Fillmore.
Then in 1990, while shuttling a car from Van Nuys to Palm Springs, I saw my second, larger wind farm. To get to Palm Springs from Los Angeles, one must drive northwest on I-10. Roughly 5 to 8 miles east of Palm Springs is the junction of I-10 and Calif. 111, which approaches Palm Springs to the south.
Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of negatives, such as excessive vibration and “shadow flicker,” issues I never heard of until the issues were raised in connection with Greentown and Tipton. I never even heard any negatives in reference to the three wind turbines on West Markland, across from the former Continental Steel site.
While reading the various negatives out of Greentown and Tipton, I got to thinking about how these tactics cannot be too far removed from those that might be employed by either the coal or petroleum lobbies. Both Big Oil and Big Coal would have a lot to gain if they could discredit wind, solar, as well as other green technologies.
Some of our motives against wind farms
I found the last line of the article “Consumer group enters the wind farm battle” in the July 1 Kokomo Tribune loaded with irony. The last line quoted Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, stating, “We would question the motives of those opposed to wind energy.” Really?
An easier question to answer is what motivates the key supporters of wind energy? But first let me address Mr. Olson’s question. I will list just a few of our motivations.
Opponents to wind energy, aka supporters of Citizens for Responsible Development, are motivated by a desire to protect our property rights, which are being infringed upon by an invasive county ordinance. We are motivated by a desire to protect the property values of our homes that, when common sense is applied, are put at significant risk by surrounding them with numerous, 500-foot industrial wind turbines. We are motivated by a desire to ensure the safety of our families and neighbors due to current ordinance setbacks that fail to even meet the safety guidelines of wind turbine manufacturers. Lastly, we are motivated by a desire to protect the beauty of the county’s landscape, which will be permanently changed from an agricultural/residential landscape to an industrial landscape if wind farms continue to be forced upon us.
Since Mr. Olson also wonders how CRD is funded, I can answer that. CRD is funded by ordinary citizens like myself who, in addition to the taxes we pay our county and the many costs we have raising our families, are making voluntary contributions of time and money to protect our families from the biased actions of select county officials and influential leaseholders who have been motivated by financial self-interest throughout this entire process.
While there may be room for ambiguity in regards to the motivations of opponents of wind energy, there certainly is not when it comes to key county officials who for more than six months now have blatantly ignored the majority voice of Tipton County citizens. It is common knowledge, thanks to public documents that our county officials have not been able to suppress, that more than a few are leaseholders for potential or existing wind energy projects in Tipton County or have family members and close friends who are. Based on the unreasonable, ongoing push for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm and other potential wind farm projects in spite of overwhelming public opposition, a Tipton County citizen does not need a big imagination to accurately guess the correct answer to questions of motivation for the key wind energy supporters in Tipton.
As a final point, in contrast to the many attempts to caricature the organization as a group of uneducated and fearful individuals, supporters of Citizens for Responsible Development comprise the most diverse, purely grassroots political group I have ever witnessed. We are Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, men and women, young and old, white-collar and blue-collar workers, and of varying religious and educational backgrounds. The unifying factor for supporters of CRD in the midst of our diversity is that we believe wind farms placed in residential areas is an extremely bad idea, and we are disgusted by the inept and self-serving leadership of certain Tipton County officials.
I hope this answer suffices Mr. Olson’s interest in our motives.
Nathan D. Salsbery