Turbine proponent says ‘harvest the wind’

After reading a multitude of anti-wind turbine letters in the paper, I would like to offer one with the alternate viewpoint. I am a landowner who happens to be signed up with the wind project between Republic, Clyde and Bellevue.

First off, the subject of property rights comes up many times, with the opinion that a neighbor’s property rights take precedence over mine. I don’t agree with that thinking, or if I did I would have protested a neighbor of mine building a hog barn a mile southwest of my home. When the wind is right, the odor is worse than having to look at a structure in a field that I don’t like to look at. But that was my neighbor’s right to construct that barn with the intent of bettering his chance to make a living farming. So, on those evenings when the smell is strong, I stay in the house and watch TV or read a book instead of having a campfire.

I’ve been accused of being greedy for agreeing to take payments for allowing the building of a wind turbine on my family’s property. I have a son and nephew who have taken over the farming operation (which has been in our family for over a century), and I would like to see them succeed. Steady revenue from a wind turbine for the next 30 years will help that happen. If that makes me greedy, then so be it.

Property values evidently are a concern. I didn’t know so many of my neighbors were planning on selling their homes. Seriously, if the property values dropped, which I doubt, that could be viewed as a good thing, as far as seeing property taxes drop. I know I would welcome a drop in our farm property taxes, which now exceed $40,000 per year.

It’s been said that the tax proceeds to the county and schools per year will “only” amount to $65 per person in Seneca County. Well, I don’t have the number of homes in Seneca County right here in front of me, but I’m guessing that figure equates to something like $200-$300 each. Are we really willing to give up that kind of tax revenue or are we willing to pay that much more property tax to make up the difference?

Many other issues have been raised regarding so-called dangers, such as flying ice, oil leaks, fires and health problems that I believe are merely propaganda put out by oil companies in order to scare people into opposing wind turbines. One issue that deserves some thought is the effect on the wildlife. I have stood under windmills and haven’t seen any dead birds or bats, but maybe that was a good day. The point I would like to make is that no one seems to be concerned about all the wildlife killed by cars, electric lines, trains, airplanes, etc. I’m guessing that more of each of the species at risk are killed by these other technologies than by wind turbines, so should we ban cars and electric lines? This issue is another that is just used as a reason to oppose wind turbines, because some people don’t like to look at them.

Like shadow flicker. I have seen the videos of a shadow crossing over houses as the blade rotates. In the morning, the sun shines in my kitchen as I’m reading the newspaper and enjoying a cup of coffee. What a nuisance! Guess what, I pull down the shade and the problem is solved. For the 15 minutes or so that the wind turbine casts a shadow your way, pull down the shade.

What it boils down to is simply a person’s own perception of what is nice to look at or not. Personally, I have always loved the sight of wind turbines, ever since the ones went up at Bowling Green. I hate the sight of some of the electric lines lining our roads, but I realize they’re necessary. By the way, the transmission lines between turbines will be buried underground.

There is a reason Seneca County is being considered for these projects. Most days the wind is blowing, winter, summer, spring, and fall, come rain or sunshine. If 61 wind turbines can generate enough electricity to power 67,000 homes without burning a drop of fossil fuel, I say, “Harvest the wind.”


Vernon Burkholder,