« Law - "Oklahoma Uses New Device To Seize Money Used During The Commission Of A Crime" | Main | Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 0 opinion(s) today (and 4 NFP memorandum decision(s)) »

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Wind farms whipping up opposition across rural Indiana"

The ILB has a long list of entries on wind turbines. The most recent, from the April 22nd Anderson Herald Bulletin, was headed "Wind farm neighbors concerned over property values." Today a syndicated story by Maureen Hayden / CNHI State Reporter (here in the Glasgow Ky. Daily Times), is headed "Wind farms whipping up opposition across rural Indiana." Some quotes from the lengthy story:

INDIANAPOLIS – Towering turbines that sprouted from the ground in Northern Indiana were heralded by some as a green energy cash crop that paid leases to landowners and, by extension, property taxes to local governments.

But as industrial wind energy tries to blow into other parts of the state, it’s running into resistance from communities that fear those turbines will overrun the landscape.

Private developers are in an aggressive push to double the number of Indiana’s wind farms. But they must contend with neighbors, lawsuits and the fickle support of elected officials who once welcomed them and are now changing their minds.

Fears of noise, adverse health effects and worries that home values will plummet as the the giant turbines go up are driving the concerns of opponents.

Residents who live in cozy homes in rural Rush County say they their unobstructed views of bucolic farmland will be permanently marred by a proposed development of 65 wind turbines. The bladed turbines will reach 600 feet into the sky, about three times higher than the tallest building in the county, the courthouse.

“Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘I want to build my house next to wind farm?'” said Hank Campbell, an avid foe of the project.

In recent months, Campbell and other wind-farm opponents have convinced commissioners in the county east of Indianapolis to back off a decade-old agreement that opened the door to such developments.

And, in late May, a state court judge upheld local zoning limits that keep the turbines from encroaching within a half-mile of a neighbor’s property.

The ruling came over the vehement objections of APEX Clean Energy, which said such limits will essentially kill its wind farm development. The company has until late June to appeal the ruling and has yet to announce what it will do.

A similar fight is unfolding in neighboring Fayette County, where residents have hauled county commissioners and a different developer into court to stop a wind farm from being planted there.

Opposition is also mounting in rural Henry County, east of Indianapolis, where three wind-farm developers propose up to 300 turbines. * * *

When wind farms were first planted in Indiana in 2008 – in prairie-flat, sparsely populated rural counties in the northern part of the state – the turbines were heralded as an economic boon to landowners and county coffers.

Supported by federal tax incentives designed to move the nation away from the polluting fossil fuels of coal and oil, the wind farms were promoted as a green source of energy in the heartland of America.

Property owners make an average of $5,000 a year per turbine from wind farm leases, which in turn generate more property taxes for cash-strapped schools and communities.

There are now 1,035 turbines spread across a dozen farms, covering tens of thousands of acres in the northern half of the state.

Together they generate 1,893 megawatts of power – producing more than three average-size coal plants –making Indiana 12th among the states in wind generation capacity.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 9, 2016 10:49 AM
Posted to Indiana Government