To the editor:
To any landowner considering signing a lease agreement with a wind power company to host wind turbines on your land, do you really know what you’re getting yourself into? Instead of listening to promises by salesmen, look at the mess in Lee County, Ill., for a glimpse of the reality that may be heading your way.
I’m a farmer, township trustee and participating landowner in the Shady Oaks Wind Farm where I have four turbines on my land within a half mile of my home. When I signed up, corn was a third of today’s price, and there are other things I wish I would’ve known before signing.
First, the company’s business strategy is to name and sell the idea of a wind development to another company for construction once it’s approved. After securing acreage for Shady Oaks, they sold the project to a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer and partner of theirs. The original company disappeared after the project changed hands, and the number of turbines grew from 30 to 72.
Now nine months after construction, the township is still waiting for $800,000 to fix the roads. Second, they destroy crops and roads with no regard to landowners. They used nonparticipating farm fields as driveways, tile was crushed, and no one would listen to our complaints. There’s still damage to roads that trucks weren’t supposed to use but did anyway.
To avoid road repair costs, roads were made through fields to transport heavy equipment. They blacktopped over a concrete bridge and later removed the blacktop but created big grooves in the concrete, leaving spaces for ice to enter. Residents resorted to calling the county sheriff’s office to report some of the issues, but that’s not good use of taxpayers’ money.
As for my farm, I now have a considerable amount of land permanently taken out of production, and the few aerial applicators that are willing to spray among turbines charge significantly more. Finally, the noise is awful and we currently have shadow flicker from east and west. There is nothing serene left to this area with the noise, moving blades, flashing lights, and bickering neighbors. The extra income is not worth the problems they produce.
By now in Shelby County, chances are that the wind power company’s promises have secured the support of some community leaders and schools. Do your homework. Don’t be fooled.