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Web letter by William C. Morris: ‘Country bumpkins’ get the shaft from wind farm developers

After reading Susan Munroe’s recent article in this paper concerning industrial wind turbines (“Winds of change blow across Ohio,” Oct. 7), one might come to a conclusion that spreading such heavy industrial uses across wide swaths of agricultural land is a truly wonderful idea. But let’s dig just a little deeper behind her rah, rah rhetoric.

Munroe is president/CEO of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce. As such, her primary responsibility is to promote the financial interests of businesses and industries that are members of the organization. Since the operator of the industrial wind turbines, Iberdola Renewables LLC, is listed as a member of the local chamber, one might logically conclude she is just doing her job.

If Munroe truly believes in those “clean renewable energy” industrial wind turbine projects in Van Wert County, you would think she and her family would certainly choose to live next to one. Sadly, that’s not the case.

According to publicly available records, they live in the city of Van Wert, right across from Smiley Park. Even though the park contains more than adequate space for one or more industrial wind turbines, the closest turbine to her residence lies nearly 4 miles to the northwest.

It’s always interesting to note that those who choose to cheer loudest for wind turbines never live next door to them. Hmm, wonder why?

Her claim that “communities that can secure clean, renewable energy at a fair price do much better in the never-ending attempt to attract new businesses” is a simplistic fairy tale. Munroe wants us to believe that the power generated in Van Wert County stays there, but that‘s simply not the case. That power connects with the interstate power grid, with the eventual retail price paid by consumers determined through a complex series of calculations that mere mortals will never fully understand.

As for her recent trip to “share our experiences with clean energy development” at a roundtable hosted by the White House, if all those Washington politicians truly believe that industrial wind turbines are the wave of the future, why have they not utilized the 309 acres wasted on the National Mall to install turbines? Imagine how picturesque a 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbine will look right next to the Washington Monument.

We all know the real answer to those questions: Aesthetics matter – particularly if the elite have to look at them. It’s so much simpler for politicians to funnel hard-earned taxpayer money to developers through a production tax credit with an implied mandate urging companies to stick ’em out in agricultural areas where all the “country bumpkins” live!