Fighting against wind turbines

EDITOR:

I just had to write this letter to tell everyone in Delta and Schoolcraft counties how proud I am to be part of a local citizen effort to try to right a terrible wrong that has been done to the Garden Peninsula and its residents.

I’m talking about the homeowners on the Peninsula who have been forced to live next to an industrial scale wind farm. I’m talking about homeowners who have lost property value. I’m talking about the extravagant promises of tax windfalls from hosting a wind farm. I’m talking about the potential devastation to the migratory bird population that uses the Peninsula. I’m talking about local government meetings turned into yelling matches and bullying sessions.

All these injustices came together recently along with one other amazing ingredient – the wind farm people decided to put wind turbines in the Cooks area of Schoolcraft County.

It’s kind of funny, we in Garden have lived with the wind turbines on the Peninsula for over two years now and lots of people complained. Some wanted to do something, but organizing was difficult and slow. It’s a small community and few of us wanted to create enemies. Everyone knew fighting against the turbines would cost money and that the wind farm people were rumored to have deep pockets. Worst of all – some residents (not the ones living close to a turbine) were beginning to be resigned to the fact of turbines in their future. Things looked hopeless.

But magic happened. The Cooks people decided to fight the wind turbines. They knew what the Garden Peninsula people were going through. They knew it was not a pleasant experience. So they organized, went to local government meetings and spoke in favor of honest and fair wind turbine setbacks. They contacted experts to get honest information about wind power. And, they did much more. I was amazed to see how active and efficient they were.

The results in Schoolcraft County: the elected officials listened to the citizen’s concerns and it looks the residents of Cooks will not repeat the Garden experience. “Hoo-ray.”

This magic has spread to Garden. We have organized. So look out wind farm people! Here we come. We are demanding fairer setbacks, local noise regulation, and stronger enforcement of wildlife laws.

Fred Bates

Garden