Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wind energy and good neighbors

Last Tuesday, 40-50 concerned citizens appeared before the board of supervisors wanting a definitive answer about the regulations (if any) dealing with the location of wind turbines. Presently, the only restriction is a wind turbine cannot be less than 1,250 feet from a residence or 110 percent of turbine height from other peoples property.

The term “woefully inadequate” doesn’t begin to cover these ridiculous and asinine so-called restrictions! If you take a drive to O’Brien County and open your windows, I’m sure you will agree the distance must be, at the very least, a full mile from a residence. And, since we’re in the middle of some of the world’s richest farmland, any restrictions to farm that land should be removed.

Almost all aerial applicators will NOT fly closer than half-mile to a wind turbine and should mean a turbine not be located closer than half-mile from someone else’s land! I realize all farmers don’t use aerial applicators. In fact, some refuse to use airplanes and argue wind turbines don’t interfere with farming. Hogwash! But, if you so desire, I’m sure the county would make an exception and let a turbine be erected anywhere on or near your property!

I’ve often wondered how many land owners ask their neighbors if they have any objections prior to signing the easement? Since most of the easements come from absentee landowners, I would be surprised if there was even one! The $10,000 or so annual payments, appears to be the only reason. Greed rules!

It is certainly your right to sell an easement to anyone for any legitimate purpose, but the legitimacy could be questioned since turbines only exist because of massive government subsidies and use more fossil fuels than ever will be recovered. However, it is not your right, despite county rules, to damage your neighbors property, and sticking a turbine next to my land damages my property and lowers its value!

The primary purpose of government (including our board of supervisors) is to protect the citizens and their property. Present rules about citing of wind turbines are inadequate. If the board would adopt the distances of 1 mile from residences and half-mile from other property for location of wind turbines, they would protect our rights, and, in addition, force us to be “good neighbors!”

— Jerry Crew, Webb