Sunday, July 8, 2007

Just Not Worth the Personal Risks and Sacrifices

The following letter is submitted by Sheryl Butler, a longtime resident of Ellis County, Kansas:

Risk and sacrifices. That has been a recent theme with this wind farm proposal that members of the community as well as some of the zoning members are wanting to stand on. It has been said that progress requires some involvement of risk and that we all (people in and close to the project area) should understand that and will be willing to sacrifice for that cause.

Let me share with you a closer look at the risks and sacrifices that everyone seems to be willing for us to take. My husband Mike and I have been against this project for a variety of reasons that I have shared with letters I have written and the presentation that I have helped give. Those reasons have been outlined as being connected to the loss of our way of life, loss of the beauty of the countryside, loss of property values, etc.

But there is a much bigger reason that we have been watching with interest as to what takes place with this decision. A reason that is very personal and that could be very devastating to our family. A reason that I hoped we would not need to get into and share but with the recent viewpoints and some recent research I think that it is time to get real.

I think that it is important for people to understand just how real this mess is. Many people know my husband, Mike, as he does a lot of work for many people around town with his business. What people may not know is that Mike suffers from an illness he came up with about three years ago. He was referred to the National Jewish Hospital in Denver as they specialize in lung and immune system problems.

Mike has ended up being diagnosed with a rare lung immune sinus disease. Through much diagnosis and consultations that National Jewish has had throughout the country, the only thing that they have been able to do for Mike is to put him on medication to help control his symptoms. Right now, this illness is lying dormant in Mike in that it is not progressing but sits ready to be activated at any time. His doctor likens it to a fire that the flames have been put out but continues to smolder and wait.

Our opposition group has presented the public, zoning members and the county commissioners with many facts and concerns regarding health risks associated with living close to the wind turbines. These facts have been looked at as somewhat petty and over-exaggerated. A new press release has been given to The Hays Daily News and county commissioners regarding some recent research regarding the effects of living near turbines. We just became informed of the details of this research on June 8.

This research clearly shows that many illnesses can be created and/or intensified by wind turbines that are in close proximity to families. Lung damage is one of those possibilities.

If this wind turbine project is allowed to be near homes, the health risks are real. Our family stands to lose much more than just our property value and scenic countryside. I and my two young daughters could lose Mike if this wind complex activates Mike’s disease. If Mike’s disease is activated, he will become very sick and would very likely result in eventual death.

Risk and sacrifices.

How many risks and sacrifices is this community, zoning commission and county commission willing for those of us in and near the project to take?

Is one life expendable? Maybe two?

Are you willing to chance that the research that the opposition has given is bogus? For Mike and I and our two girls, the risks are very real for our family.

Perhaps, if we are talking about sacrifices, maybe the landowners and the county could sacrifice their revenue on this project by donating it to research on the health effects of wind turbines.

That way, all of us would be sacrificing, wouldn’t we?

Submitted by:
Sheryl R. Butler
779 Golf Course Road
Hays, Kansas

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