Saturday, September 8, 2007

Open Letter

This is a reposting of an open letter to two of the county commissioners (originally posed September 8). It has been reposted in an attempt to overcome a formatting problem.

Dear Mr. Berens, and Mr.Pfannenstiel,

I am writing to express my disappointment in the both of you. You may be surprised for the reasons why I am disappointed. It was not because you voted in support of the conditional use permit for the wind plant. It was for the poor reasoning behind your decision.

First I want to address Mr. Berens. I called you on many occasions over the last six months and each time with the exception of the last time, which was approximately a week before the vote, you would assure me that you were listening to my concerns and you would consistently respond with “right idea, wrong location.” You made the statement, “these things should not be shoved down people’s throats.” When I suggested that the old Walker Air Base with its hyper-cultivated land be used for an industrial wind plant, you countered with “that is only four miles from Victoria and that is too close.” When I responded with “imagine the turbines being only 2000 feet from your home,” you agreed it was too close.

But the last time I spoke with you, you changed your tone. You repeatedly said that you liked the 2000 foot setback. Do I understand you correctly that you would now agree that turbines could and should be placed 2000 feet from Victoria? A picket fence of towers and turbines 2000 feet out and surrounding your town would make a statement that you are willing to sacrifice for your country. Of course I am being facetious, but I question why you would be willing to sacrifice our health, peace, and property values while your health, peace, and property values will remain unaffected.

Please do not dismiss your unintentional or intentional deception of the many people you spoke with as politics as usual. I believe this is about personal character. If you intentionally deceived the people you serve, that would be a blot on your character for the obvious reasons. If this was unintentional, then one would believe you truly were not listening to our concerns, which is disturbing in its own right. Or maybe when you signed the letter of approval for this project back in 2005, which placed the turbines even closer to homes and without any discussion with those who would be most affected, you saw no reason to look back and our fate was sealed.

Though you may not be listening to me, I am listening to you and am concerned about what I am hearing. You claimed that bargaining with Iberdrola can take place after approving the conditional use permit. What sense does this make? Would you not be playing right into Iberdrola’s hands? I hope this was a misunderstanding on my part.

Finally, you mentioned that you spoke with the Kansas Energy Commission. In the State of The State 2007, Governor Sebelius did mention wind energy goals with wind providing 10% of our electricity by 2010 and 20% by 2020. However, Governor Sebelius spent much more time expressing her concern for the health of Kansans. There is real truth to “right idea, wrong location” unless the goal is to increase vibro-acoustic disease by 10% in 2010 and wind turbine syndrome by 20% by 2020.

Now I would like to address Mr. Pfannenstiel. You have made light of our health concerns despite the fact that the French Academy of Medicine made a strong statement in 2006 recommending that modern wind turbines should be placed no closer than 1.5 kilometers from residences due to the health problems they create. The United Kingdom Noise Association in 2007 concluded that a safe buffer zone of at least 2km should exist between family dwellings and industrial wind turbines of up to 2MW installed capacity, with greater separation for a wind turbine greater than 2MW installed capacity If you review present day regulations for siting industrial wind plants in the United States, plans are becoming increasingly comprehensive and restrictive as more data is becoming available concerning noise and health issues. Today, I just received news that some more of Dr. Nina Pierpont’s research on wind turbine syndrome will be published in 2008 in a professional journal. Even though the research is becoming clearer, there is some uncertainty about the extent of the health effects. Surely it is more reasonable to err on the side of safety. I am afraid your attitude reminds me of a hunter who sees some movement off in the distance and says, “maybe it’s a deer or maybe it’s a human, so I’ll shoot. Hang the consequences.”

Finally, my family and I received an offer of a “Wind Farm Neighbor Agreement” in the mail the day of the commission meeting. I consider this offer a bribe to keep us from telling others about the negative impact 400 foot turbines can have on humans living close to them similar to the agreement and payment for those in Spearville. The prairie chickens were excluded from this offer because, as you know, chickens can’t talk.

As both of you know, Iberdrola cannot re-submit their application for a year, unless you make a special exception for them. There is research to be read and flaws to be corrected, so all of us probably need at least that year. I urge you, therefore, to learn from your mistakes and take the year to do all of the research that we need you to do.

Jacinta Faber

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