BOONE CO., IL. (ECWd) -
Boone County Board voted to protect their citizens this evening!
After NINE MONTHS of testimony and cross examination, and supportive votes cast by the ZBA, the full county board met and PASSED the following with a 9 to 3 margin:
All wind turbines must be placed at a minimum of 2640 feet from a PROPERTY LINE.
Waivers are allowed, which can reduce the turbine setback down to 1,500 feet from a residence ONLY if the host or neighbor agrees to the wind energy company's waiver. 1,500 feet from a residence is the minimum distance allowed. The waivers would be negotiated with individual neighbors and land owners. Setbacks from roads or easement are now set at twice the turbine height.
Mainstream Renewables was attempting to develop a wind farm in Boone County, but tonight's vote by well-informed county board members effectively rejected the wind industry's claims that industrial wind turbines were merely "annoying" and not necessarily "harmful" at distances less than 0.5 miles from property lines. Mainstream Renewable's attorney, James Griffin, tried to make claims that the setback waiver would be "unconstitutional," but the Boone County State's attorney did not support his argument.
The specific problems with location of wind turbines near human populations are as follows:
1.) Health of nearby residents at serious risk: Sleep deprivation from wind turbine low frequency noise (thumping and rumbling heard and felt inside the homes of neighbors) have caused problems for many families. Ted Hartke, from Vermilion County Illinois, Cary Shineldecker, from Michigan, and Marvin Stichnoch from Iroquois County Illinois all confirmed sleep deprivation and health problems caused by wind turbines constructed too close near their homes. The Hartke family abandoned their home in 2013, 11 months after InvEnergy began operating turbines.
2.) Property Values: Homes situated near wind turbines are difficult to sell, take longer to sell, and sell at much lower prices than homes which are not impacted by wind turbine noise, shadow flicker, and "industrial" view of the surroundings. There is also a loss of emergency response. Wind farms are effectively "no-fly" zones for medical evacuation helicopters. If there is an accident within a wind farm, citizens may not have any opportunities for being air-lifted for prompt medical care such as what happened to a woman severely injured in a car accident in Livingston County, Illinois.
3.) Turbine malfunctions, fires, sudden catastrophic blade failures: Wind turbine manuals detail that workers should "run upwind" a minimum distance of 500 meters (1640 feet) from a wind turbine which is on fire or in danger of blade failure to avoid the danger of flying debris. Wind turbine motors have a lot of moving parts which need lubrication and contain a lot of oil. When a malfunction occurs, parts can overheat from friction and cause the oil to catch fire. The weatherproof housings and turbine blades are comprised of fiberglass composite material. This material burns readily, and wind feeds the flames. Once a turbine catches fire, there is no possible way to extinguish it, and the entire turbine burns and blades fall off during the burn. Chunks of flaming fiberglass composite materials can fall and cause widespread field fires. Falling debris causes a tremendous hazard for emergency responders.
A group of citizens in Boone County have created a website showing their concerns as a way to educate their community. www.fairwindenergy.org does contain a lot of useful information and also compelling video of victims reporting the problems experienced from living within InvEnergy's wind farm in Vermilion County Illinois. We encourage everyone to watch these videos to see what can happen when county board members fail to protect their citizens.