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Court said state officials had good cause to disregard.
There are numerous wind farm areas where they are appropriate and welcomed by farmers who benefit from lease payments. The Goodhue project is not appropriate. Just because you can build it doesn't mean you should. The scenic and wildlife issues should prevail over blind arrogant greed. Besides, most projects usually have 100 turbines or more to be successful. Hopefully, the state Supreme Court will have the best interests of all in mind.
What struck me was the court's misplaced reliance on the Renewable Energy Standard as energy policy in MN. Xcel holds the 2 PPAs for this project. Whether they build this 78MW project does not make or break Xcel Energy's compliance with the RES, Xcel is already ahead of the game, in compliance for years into the future. Compliance with the state's RES is not at issue here! That's a red herring.
The MPUC had previously applied all other Counties' more stringent land use ordinances - and most Counties have more stringent ordinances. They even granted citizens in Clay County 1/2 mile setback between turbines and their homes. Goodhue County has a much denser population than previously built wind projects. This made following the County ordinance and/or granting the setback requests of citizens inconvenient for T. Boone Pickens in his quest for federal tax money and high electrical rates. Even other wind developers in MN said in a wind industry magazine that there should not be an industrial wind project in this Goodhue County location. This is politics, squander of public money, chrony capitalism, trampling of County and citizens, and blind lies of green energy euphoria at its worst.
The setback between a house and a turbine for this project is 1626 feet - not 1500. The State standard is 500 feet OR meeting the State Noise Standard for industrial noise, which ever is greater. This results in the MPUC using the MN Noise Standard which industrial wind company "models" generally show to be 1250 feet. Of course, the Elm Creek II and Bent Tree projects demonstrated in their post construction noise measurements that the model drastically underestimates audible industrial noise from wind turbines. Since the MN Noise Standard does not measure unique low frequency and impulsive noise produced by wind turbines, the State Noise Standard is irrelevant anyway for insuring public health. But that is the only standard used by MN to determine the distance between your house and a 400-500 foot industrial wind turbine. The MPUC, Commerce, MPCA, Health, and Mark Dayton are all aware of the problem, but none have the backbone to deal with it. After all, we'd hate to stop the wind turbine pole-dancers from getting your tax and rate money. And it's only a few rural citizen forced to abandon their homes - apparently this is a low price to pay for so many to feel so good about the "green clean energy" myth.
Come to SWMN and see what lack of regulation does to the scenery. Apparently any mo ron can put up turbines wherever they want. One guy ended up with turbines on all four sides of his adjacent property(a homestead that's been there over 100yrs) and was told there is nothing preventing them. It's all about the money-there is no ultruistic motive!
Modeling. I find it disturbing that modeling has replaced actual measurable outcomes through scientific methods as science. It's not science. Models are only as good as the information put in and the wind industry knows this. For instance: AWA Goodhue is currently in a p..sing match with the USFWS over which model should be used to determine eagle mortality in this project footprint. AWA refuses to use the USFWS model because the projected mortality numbers are unpalatably high. They would like to use a model that under-estimates eagle deaths in order to keep the public hue and cry to a minimum. AWA hired Westwood Professional Services to "model" eagle mortality. Westwood biologist Rob Bouta wrote, "The days of breezing through wildlife surveys are over." It would appear that they are now going to model their way through. One would hope that people who have risen to the level of the Court of Appeals would be intelligent enough to realize the difference between models and actual evidence., but that does not appear to be the case here. There are ways to measure turbine noise, but instead of creating a standard that specifically addresses the low-frequency and impulsive noise issues related to wind turbines, public officials are playing russian roulette with taxpayers health by favoring "models". How 'bout some real science instead of nonsense parading as fact?
The Emperor (Wind) has no clothes. The Court acted like lemmings following the Pied Piper, la la la la la.....it looks green, therefore it must be green....just ask the man behind the curtain. Fairy Tales come to life right before our eyes. But, this fairy tale may yet have a happy ending. There are promises yet to be fulfilled and Rumpelstiltskin is not one to forget what he was promised - and he will show up to collect.
I am just not clear on the appellate court's declaration that the ALJ found good cause to ignore the county setbacks and that the PUC followed the ALJ recommendation in permitting this project. The ALJ in her findings sided with the wind developers model of sound and and shadow flicker claims and ignored mounting evidence worldwide that much greater setbacks are needed. The ALJ acts basically as legal counsel for the state and the PUC. Her findings were not "facts" but rather her "legal opinion". The PUC is free to disagree with the ALJ's findings and did disagree with other of the findings in the AWA matter. In Goodhue County many months of research into wind development went into our ordinance. Our ordinance is not perfect, it is the best we could achieve. Ten-rotor diameter is barely adequate to curb the the worst of the problems communities elsewhere are experiencing firsthand. Setbacks of one to two miles from residents are becoming more and more prevalent worldwide. The statue says that PUC must apply a county's more strict standards unless they can find good cause not to. That is clear the clear language of the law. One ALJ, with her limited insight, has changed the will of the people to have a voice in the future of their community.
Please show a link to the desicion.
I still don't see what the definition of "GOOD CAUSE" other than it says the project won't fit under this ordinance? Who cares! Maybe it's to close and doesn't belong there.
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