Winona Daily News editorializes in support of wind

Posted on February 4, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

An editorial in the Winona Daily News:

Well, Bob Dylan always said you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. And in Trempealeau County, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you because it wouldn’t do you any good.
You see, Trempealeau County does not like wind. Or at least wind that’s harnessed by wind turbines.

The county can rightly point out it has a policy on the books that allows for wind turbines. Technically. But realistically, the county has made it impossible to build wind turbines that would be commercially feasible. Trempealeau County has made its ordinance too restrictive to be useful.Call it out-lawing. Or maybe it is over-lawing.

The state of Wisconsin already has laws on the books that mandate zoning as well as stressing the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Wind energy seems to hold a lot of promise, and Wisconsin wants a piece of the action.

The problem might be that our expectations are pretty high. We want a lot of energy, but we don’t want any of the drawbacks. We want energy without having to burn fossil fuels. We want electricity without the emissions of coal or the waste of nuclear energy. We want wind without some of the concerns such as noise.

Nothing’s perfect.

However, we must start looking forward with this new technology, understanding that as it is implemented and used, it becomes better, more efficient and probably safer. Wind turbines are certainly in that category. If we are to wean ourselves from foreign energy or energy that harms the environment, many counties — many as small as Trempealeau — must be willing to step up and play a part.

With legal threats coming from a Galesville, Wis., company interested in putting up wind turbines, it may be a good thing for the county to reconsider its position. While only a letter has been sent by the law firm representing AgWind Partners, it seems like wind energy could be turning into a court battle for the small county. And those cost money.

Just because the wind energy ordinance was a protracted and contentious battle in the county before it was finally adopted certainly does not mean it was set in stone. It might be time to go back to the drawing board — maybe even to start fresh.

There seems to be a lot of wind in Trempealeau County — maybe nowhere more so than that coming from the county board.


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