Efforts to debunk wind energy fall flat
Apex, one of several energy conglomerates, wants to build a wind farm in Neosho County.
While specifics are not yet nailed to the absolute, Apex has its eye on about 130 turbines to generate up to 302.5 megawatts of power in a broad expanse south of Chanute and in the 10-mile corridor between Altoona and U.S. 59.
Opposition among some landowners, and others, has been amplified by the squeaky wheel syndrome.
Meanwhile, EDP Renewables met far less enmity when it proposed to build 60 turbines in northeast Allen County.
So, what is Allen County getting from its acceptance of a wind farm?
Scores of construction workers are on site, and more will come. They are paid well, need places to live, eat three squares a day, buy fuel and many other things folks need in daily life.
Once online, three economic positives will occur.
First, EDP will pay Allen County $250,000 annually in lieu of property taxes. Commissioners promised to disperse that income to benefit local school districts.
State law abates property taxes for wind energy companies for 10 years; previously it was for perpetuity. When the turbines go on tax roles, a model predicts EDP property taxes of $1 million a year.
The second economic shoe to drop will be good-paying jobs for at least 15 technicians to maintain the turbines and their towers.
Finally, landowners will reap advantage through payments for land leased and for individual turbine power production.
One farmer’s take: “It will be the best cash crop I’ll have,” requiring no effort or expense on his part.
A handful of local foes and those in Anderson and Neosho counties railed about health and environmental issues. Some also claim the power-generating blades are unsightly, even dangerously mesmerizing.
The first two supposed negatives have been refuted by the scientific community; the third is a personal consideration.
IN A RECENT attack on wind energy in his Anderson County Review, editor Dane Hicks based his argument on a book by Dr. Nina Pierpont, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A report on a natural experiment.”
Hicks cites Pierpont’s “extensive clinical interviews with 10 families living near wind farm turbines in the U.S. and abroad.”
Dr. Pierpont does have sterling medical credentials, having been trained in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, a prestigious school in Baltimore.
We’ve no doubt the good and caring doctor is a crackerjack in her field, but being extensively well-versed in one scientific area does not necessarily translate to another. Also, any study of consequence would involve infinitely more than 10 families.
Simply put, alleging that “migraine, motion sickness, vertigo, noise and visual and gastrointestinal sensitivity, and anxiety” are a byproduct of wind turbines from a study touching on so few lives and without (according to several sources) peer review is difficult to accept as more than cursory.
We don’t agree with President Donald Trump’s frequent rails about fake news, but this may be one time the derogation is true.
The same is true for people with pedestrian or no training in a specific field who refute well-qualified experts.
STARTING early in the occupation of Kansas by settlers taking advantage to acquire land by converting virgin soil to farms and ranches, water was an essential component of everyday life.
Rivers and streams sometimes were handy, but not always, particularly in the western part of the state.
The alternative? Wells, often topped by a windmill to draw the precious, life-giving fluid from the ground.
Those devices lacked high-tech design and components to cause them to operate with little or no noise and smoothly.
In all those years untold numbers of Kansas farmers lived nearby and never, from any report we’ve read, complained of physical problems or concerns postulated by Dr. Pierpont.
Perhaps, our ancestors were just a tougher lot, though truth be known, we think they quickly grew accustomed to their windmills, just as people who live near generating turbines do today.
— Bob Johnson