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Commissioners Blow Commercial WInd Turbines Out of the County

May 20, 2013

  05/21/13 The possibility of commercial wind systems locating in Marshall County is not just a thought in the wind.  Monday morning the commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that will ban the structures in the county. 

For nearly an hour the commissioners conducted a public hearing and allowed those in attendance to present new information for their consideration. Dennis Thornton from Bremen said, “I strongly encourage banning commercial wind turbines in Marshall County due to our high population density and known factual, not perceived, negative aspects and dangers of wind turbines.” 

The attorney hired to represent the Concerned Property Owners of Marshall County, Steve Snyder handed-out an editorial article from the Washington Times which indicated wind farms don’t work economically.  He said the ban ordinance would eliminate questions on setbacks, health affects, safety issues, decommissions, and esthetics.   

In total 9 individuals spoke in favor of the ban ordinance including two people from the Whitley County Concerned Citizens.  Joan Knull said there is organized opposition to commercial wind systems in eight counties in the state and farmer Stanley Crum said when he was approached with a lease for his farm “it was remarkable the right they take away from landowners.”  He said, “I speak for a group (referring to farmers) who is silent because they don’t want to take the hassle.” 

Two in attendance spoke for commercial wind turbines.  Bob Yoder from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office said, “I’m a strong advocate of the dead ordinance that would allow commercial wind systems as a special use.”   He suggested that if safety is one of their main concerns then reducing the speed limit on county roadways to 35 mph would have a higher effect on more citizens. 

The second speaker in favor was John Childs, Union Township President of Farm Bureau.  He said, “Farm Bureau’s position is in favor of wind technology.”  He said the ban doesn’t look good to technology companies looking to locate in the area.  Childs suggested taking them on a “case by case” request. 

The County Commissioners had the final decision and each one spoke.  Newest commissioner, Deb Griewank thanked everyone for their opinion.  She said, “We are not here to take rights away but to protect everyone. 

Commissioner Jack Roose said, “There certainly is a lot of passion on both sides of the issue.”  He also mentioned not liking that commercial wind systems are subsidized and said, “Subsidies go against my grain.”

President of the Commissioners, Kevin Overmyer, a farmer in Burr Oak said he too had seen a lease for the large wind turbines and, “as property owners you lose all your rights.” He also doesn’t like subsidies and said in 10 to 15 years new technology may come along and the ordinance would be able to be changed. 

The Marshall County Commissioners suspended the rules and pass the ordinance on all three readings which resulted in a standing ovation from the majority of crowd gathered for the public hearing. 


6 Responses to “ Commissioners Blow Commercial WInd Turbines Out of the County ”

  1. Andrew on May 31, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Thank you Thor for your comments…

    One of my biggest sources of irritation as I watch the events from a distance, is exactly what you are speaking of–labeling. When one labels something, then it suddenly becomes permissible to attack it or declare it anathema. My second source is the fascination with Corporations–to the point that the real engines of economy (the privately owned small to mid sized businesses) suffer. I agree that people need to have a counterweight to these influences, because history and experience has proven they are only after profit at the expense of society.

    Now one more thing I agree with and that is the comment you made about nuclear reactors. I did some searching recently and found most of our current reactors are either 2nd or 3rd generation, while meanwhile we are one the 6th generation of development. After the moratorium, which has I believe been lifted a few years ago (new ones in Georgia), no new technology was put into use. Certainly that would go a long way to fixing our problems that we have. I still contend though that a mixing of technologies are really the best approach.

    I have to thank WTCA for having this forum here — it really does present a good view of things that are going on in the local community.

    PS. A point of clarification- I don’t really believe that there is any single source of news that isn’t biased one way or another. Each news media has its target audience. New York Times and Washington Post have theirs and Fox News and Washington Times have theirs. I often draw from each of them more or less for purposes of comparison to find the real story. There are certain articles that from their headline tell me where they are going and I tend to avoid them on that basis alone. In the words of Officer Friday — Just the facts, only the facts…

  2. Thor on May 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for the reply Andrew,

    I was only pointing out that labeling something tends to try to force a point through discredit of the label as in immediately prefacing a party affiliation with ‘rabid’ or ‘loony’. By saying the Wash. Times is neo-anything then continuing means you don’t believe what they said no matter what because you have painted them with a specific palette.

    I believe the lawyer was employed to speak for the group as they were facing corporations looking to wedge these things in next to their homes, I was not a member of the group though I did attend a couple of the meetings. I’m certainly not going to start arguing the value of lawyers…too many of them end up writing our laws…the jokes are just too easy.

    The current state of the art nuclear ships being built by the navy require zero refueling during the life of the reactor. If we could be allowed to apply some of the technology that had been developed over that past several decades to our private sector reactors we would all benefit. But apparently that also seems to be blocked by a specific spoon-fed ideology.

  3. Andrew on May 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm


    I don’t see the connection between neo-conservative and neo-communist, in fact rather the opposite.

    I was very deliberate in my usage of the word “neo” conservative, because as I said, the meaning and agenda has drifted from the original.

    My main grievance with the way things are done these days is that they are driven from “Herd” mentality — go with the mass or be trampled over. It seems to me to be against the grain of how the country has been founded. Being that there has been so much fascination of late with colonial roots, I would have thought this might be more clear. Why does it take a Lawyer to deliver something from *ANY* newspaper? Since when have they become so credible?

    I agree with you in that nuclear power has to be the backup for the reasons that you suggest. I am wary of coal for a number of reasons, and half of them are not “green”. At some point in the near term a way will be found do deal with the little amounts of waste that are produced. Still though I think we need to look at a decentralized approach to our power grid.

  4. Thor on May 29, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Andrew, if the Washington Times is neo-conservative then is the Washington Post classified as neo-communist?

    A local lawyer, hired by a local group to address their concerns about what a neighbor wants to do that may affect their property rights and lives hardly seems like misguided conservatism run amuck even if he did reference the Washington Times in this one meeting.

    All that vaunted wind power needs to be backed 100% by coal and nuclear plants because when the wind stops blowing a transformer doesn’t need to blow before the lights would go out.

  5. AnnF on May 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I must agree with Andrew on this matter concerning subsidies. Can anyone say, “tax abatement?”

  6. Andrew on May 21, 2013 at 4:19 am

    It is certainly important what one word makes in an ordinance “Commercial”. That leaves at least owners free to put in private ones if they see fit. I hope that is what I am reading.

    As to the discussion, it strikes me odd that a farmer would have a problem with subsidies. I myself grew up on a farm and without them I know of many neighbors that would have gone under many times had it not been for “No-Till” and some other similar ones when the market was low for grain. Certainly like any good things, they should be used with caution and not to excess.

    Further as that Washington Times article. This newspaper caters to the neo-conservative reader and it isn’t surprising that it should strike a negative tone here. That a lawyer delivered it only adds to that. I have been scouring around looking for articles that the “american reader” could have seen and none of them are very positive about the whole wind power subject. They point to Germany’s as a failure, but never look into WHY it has had problems (and is certainly NOT a failure)–that being former eastern block countries that have pre-WW2 power grids that the communist regime never upgraded, as electrical conveniences would have been seen as decedent. Fact is 10% of the energy needs is being met by wind power and a significantly high amount by solar installations, which are privately owned by the home owner.

    The real problem today is that conservatism seems to have lost its focus. The root of that word is to conserve. Look around the power grid today — it’s old and can barely keep up with the needs of today. Why is that so? Because it isn’t “profitable” to change a system that works. Now the board members of Com-Ed in Illinois would have like that, but say that to the 100+ people who died in the last major heat wave because a transformer melted and went un-repaired for weeks (I lived in Chicago when that happened!).

    The fact is that in order to survive our own growth (not to mention any possible terrorist attack)there needs to be significant change to bring our infrastructure up to date and make it less centralized. Will it require government subsidies — very likely because nobody will sit still for the price that will be passed on for these improvements. Is that new? Not at all — look at the highway system and other municipal facilities — all subsidized. That is for a reason. As a private enterprise they would always be in the red–however they are still vital.

    I really wish that things effecting our future would be looked at more with an open eye and not spoon-fed by party ideology.