Glacier Hills hearings draw hundreds

Posted on November 5, 2009. Filed under: Wind |


From an article by Lyn Jerde in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen:

FRIESLAND – Walter Wiersma considered introducing a photo of his children – 5-year-old Spencer and 3-year-old Rianna – into the written record of Wednesday’s Public Service Commission of Wisconsin hearing to illustrate his opposition to electricity-generating wind turbines in northeast Columbia County.

Wiersma, of Friesland, was one of many people at the standing-room-only hearings who said worries about the health effects, safety and noise from wind turbines, in a 17,300-acre area in the towns of Scott and Randolph, should lead the commission to reject the We Energies proposal for Glacier Hills Wind Park.

“I’m for green energy,” he said, “but I don’t want it to hurt my family and friends.”

The two hearing sessions, one at 3 p.m. and one at 7 p.m., were moved from the Randolph Town Hall to the Friesland Village Hall next door, in an effort to accommodate the crowds that showed up at both sessions.

All 50 chairs in the village board’s meeting room were filled, and attendees spilled into the back of the room, and even into the hall outside.

At the first session, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, testimony was fairly divided among proponents and opponents of the wind project, which is expected to generate 207 megawatts of energy (enough to power about 45,000 homes) from 90 turbines, built on about 240 parcels of leased farmland.

Cliff Krentz of the town of Randolph said economics – namely, jobs for builders such as himself – is the strongest argument in favor of the project.

“Glacier Hills Wind Park can do a lot of good for a lot of people in this area,” he said.

Several other witnesses, representing construction companies and unions representing workers in the construction business, offered similar testimony.

But at the second session, which lasted about two hours, several of those who testified said they lived near Blue Sky Green Fields, an 88-turbine We Energies wind farm that began operating last year in Fond du Lac County, in the towns of Marshfield and Calumet.

James Mueller of the town of Marshfield said the noise from the turbines is worst in winter, when there are no crops in the field to muffle it.

“It roars above my house like a jet,” he said.

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