An Open Letter to Green County Board of Supervisors
July 11, 2019
TO: Green County Board of Supervisors
FROM: Concerned Green County and Jefferson Township Residents
RE: Industrial wind project application, requests from neighboring residents
As Green County corporation counsel and the zoning administrator work with EDF to get its application to “complete” status for the twenty-four, 499’ tall industrial wind turbines proposed for Jefferson Township, concerned residents continue to look for ways to ensure that this project does not severely negatively impact the county’s financial future as well as our property values and quality of life.
The county board and county officials are charged with protecting the health, safety and general welfare of all county residents.
We affected residents in Jefferson Township respectfully request that you, as elected county board members, require these specific pre-construction studies, as well as additional post-construction protections for we affected residents:
1. Actual sound studies should be done before the project is approved. We do not believe the developer did a pre-construction sound study for this project. We believe that EDF only used computer modeling, and not actual tests. (If actual sound studies were done, we would like the exact locations and dates of the tests.) If only modeling is being used, then we need to see that modeling information; we will then have the calculations checked by a third party.
2. We would ask that a current bird- and bat-kill pre-construction study be done, especially because there are nesting bald eagles within the footprint of the proposed project.
3. A complete CURRENT environmental impact study should be made as well, for obvious reasons.
4. Because ground water contamination has happened as the result of industrial wind turbine construction, the county must establish a baseline for water quality in Jefferson Township by testing all of the water wells within the footprint of the proposed project BEFORE any construction begins.
5. We request that the Green County Health Department (or The Monroe Clinic) conduct baseline health screenings for residents living in the footprint of the proposed project BEFORE construction is permitted.
6. An up-to-date decommissioning cost study must be completed, which would result in corresponding cash placed in escrow with the county to ensure adequate funds to completely remove the project at the end of its functional life. The county already recognizes the importance of a strong road use agreement, as draft versions appear to adequately protect it from road damage caused during construction. Likewise, it would be unfair for the taxpayers of Green County to eventually bear the burden of decommissioning even a part of this project.
7. A complaint resolution plan must be established, and that plan must include at least one member of the County Board to field the complaints and communicate with EDF. The complaint resolution process should not be put solely upon affected residents. Green County must be willing to enforce what it permits.
8. A plan for post-construction sound monitoring to insure noise compliance should be included in the permit for any industrial wind development. Aging turbines will, as a matter of common sense, make more noise that new ones. Even if the project is in compliance at the time of construction, it may not be in compliance in a matter of years.
9. The strength of TV, radio and cell phone signals at the home of all non-participating landowners should be measured pre-construction as a point of reference should any signal interruption be experienced as a result of the project.
10. In lieu of a property value guarantee by EDF, appraisals of all non-participating landowners’ properties must be completed to show CURRENT values of the affected properties.
The county is regulating this industrial wind project and application under its new wind ordinance, and such additional testing and protections are allowed under this ordinance.
Of course, all of these tests and plan development should be completed at EDF’s expense and before the project receives any approval from the county board.
The county board should make sure to word any permit issued for the project so that all requirements or restrictions be passed on to any subsequent owner of the project.
It is not reasonable that we residents have to deal with or rely on the complaint process with the wind developer to address any (or all) of these issues AFTER the turbines are constructed. And it is not reasonable that the county put itself at financial risk by relying solely on information provided by the wind developer.
Again, the county must be willing to enforce what it permits.
Doing these studies and including these protections before any application to site industrial wind in this county is approved would go a long way to show that the county has done its due diligence in this matter to protect the county, and it would be a strong gesture of good faith in dealing with us affected residents.
Thank you for your time, consideration and service to Green County.
Cindy Blanc on behalf of NO Green County Wind, a coalition of Green County residents