Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Wisconsin
Give some credit to Calumet County for deciding not to go with 400-foot turbines. Perhaps they have seen how the landscape has been permanently trashed at Johnsburg. Now if the politicians in Chilton could start working with the solar energy people they could set a good example for the rest of this area. They will have to initiate some kind of energy program before our governor and his wind crowd take revenge. Here, near the Brownsville project, we have not heard a good word about the turbines that are operating. The complaints vary from resignation to outright fury.
In hopes of saving people from the same type of issues we've had with wind tower development here in northeast Wisconsin, I'd like to share some information with the good people of Bureau County. ...Please think about what you are doing before you sign those leases. Energy we can make from many sources; we can't make new soybean and corn ground.
"I do favor wind energy," says County Board Chairman Merlin Gentz, but the panel saw enough research suggesting that low-frequency vibrations and constant noise justify the setback. "No one," he says, "is saying they should be as close as 1,000 feet." Except for the companies building them and environmentalists pushing them. Renew Wisconsin, a windmill lobby group, has been decrying Calumet County's qualms for months now. In one letter to county officials, the group argued against any kind of environmental impact study since that "presumes that wind energy is an inherently harmful technology." Neighbors say it could harm the daylights out of their resale value or their peace and quiet. Windmill backers pretty much tell them to get over it.
What will Calumet County look like in five years if the current wind energy regulations remain in place? That question can be answered by taking a drive a mere five miles into Fond du Lac County, to an area just east of Johnsburg. ...You will see how this peaceful setting will be disrupted forever. You will see how the countryside has been scarred. You may also notice "for sale" signs on homes in the area. Reading about setbacks and looking at pictures of wind turbines does not give justice to their sheer size. A first-hand visit in a populated environment similar to Calumet County (as opposed to a "traditional" wind farm in a sparsely populated area) can be an eye-opener.
SPRING VALLEY TOWNSHIP - When Kevin and Lynda Kawula first heard about a wind farm proposal for Magnolia Township, they thought it sounded like a good idea. But as they attended meetings and researched the issue, their opinions changed. "It seemed like enough people were concerned that we got concerned," he said. ...The Kawulas visited the Montfort wind farm in Iowa County. It has 20 turbines with 30 megawatts of capacity. "It's like moving back into a metropolitan area," he said. "It's an airport where the planes never land." Being around the turbines and high voltage power lines make Kevin feel physically ill with pressure headaches, he said.
Wind energy has become a divisive issue for Trempealeau County's residents over the past 14 months. The county board will vote Monday on a third draft of a wind ordinance they've been wrestling with since investment group AgWind Energy Partners approached the board in September 2006 with a request to look at three potential sites to build four to six turbines. The proposed ordinance is stricter than the previous two. It would require turbines to be at least a mile from all habitable structures and a half-mile from property lines. Among more than 30 other restrictions is a requirement that the noise from the turbines can't exceed 40 decibels when measured at any residence.
"It just seems like this is a perfect place for a wind farm, in big, open spaces," Town of Chilton resident Sandy Popp said. "In this project, there aren't many nonparticipating land owners, and I think that makes a huge difference. In our county, there will be hundreds of people who will not be participating who will be relatively close."
Nearby Johnstown Township is higher in elevation, but the environment doesn't bode well for turbines, Slaymaker said. Parts of the town reach 1,051 to 1,079 feet in elevation, but much of that area is wooded, he said. Aside from the physical obstructions, wooded areas bring more environmental concerns such as birds and bats, he said. Town of La Prairie officials have not had formal discussion about writing a wind farm ordinance, but they know it's coming, town Chairman Michael Saunders said. "Unfortunately, in the town business we've got to know more and more about less and less," he said. "This is one issue I've started to watch on the horizon."
What effects will the wind turbines have on the hills and bluffs that provide “landscape beauty” to Monroe County? The hills and bluffs will have lost the quintessential ingredient of "landscape beauty" which I call "character.”