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Community speaks against proposed wind farm

The proposed wind farm project in Adams and Stanton Townships was the cause for a long public comment session at Tuesday’s Houghton County Board of Commissioners meeting. For one night at least, all input was negative.

There were three main areas of concern. The first was economic. Nearby residents said that data they could find showed significant property value declines after wind farms have been installed. Second was health. Turbine rotors produce a unique sound that can be heard at around 35 decibels. The worry is that in the overnight hours in an isolated, rural setting the noise would alter sleep patterns. Last was environmental. At least one proposed installation is on a bluff at 1,400 feet above sea level, one of the highest points in the Keweenaw. It would stand another 575 feet off the ground when factoring in the blades. Bill and Maddie Manderfield say that’s just too much for an area that prides itself on tourism and a great view.

I went to a topographical map. Lake Superior is 600 feet. Portage Hospital is 1,140′, Hancock lookout 1,120′. Sharon Avenue by Cedar Bluff, where you guys want to put the jail 880′. Omega House is 1,060 feet. So, in perspective, Portage Hospital, their elevation…the wind turbine will be 880′ taller than that.

They also argued that wildlife would adapt by migrating away, or in the case of birds, bats, and other airborne animals, many would lose their life. Commissioner Tom Tikkanen said he sympathizes.

You don’t have to convince me as an individual that these wind turbines are bad news. These corporations make a habit of slipping into municipalities that are unzoned and rural, quite often. In some cases they will convince municipalities that the personal property tax is something that will benefit the community.

Although the extra revenue can be seen as a good thing, Tikkanen talked about conversations he had with officials from Huron County, a wind energy haven. They said it destroys community cohesion, even to the point of death threats. That’s an intangible factor, but it should be considered. Commissioner Al Koskela was also against the project, but said the debate was one for the local level.

Senator Ed McBroom presented on the findings of the Oversight Committee in Lansing on election fraud. He said a report of roughly 30 pages would be out next week most likely. His committee found no evidence of vote tallies being changed on machines in Houghton County.

Their machines [Dominion], they don’t even have modems. There’s no internal modems. There is no way they were connected to anything or a part of some hack.

McBroom hinted there were other problems that he would address once the report was publicly available. McBroom also spoke about discussions between legislators and the Department of Natural Resources about repairing trails between Lake Linden and Hancock.

I’m very optimistic we are going to get it done. Right now, the discussion is how fast can we get it done, so I am pushing hard for next year.

McBroom is hoping that can still be included in next year’s budget. The finishing touches for the next fiscal year are being applied before the legislature wraps up for the summertime.

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