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LTE – Mark Jackelen – 10-24-2012

On Oct. 11, 2012 the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin held public hearings regarding the proposed Highland Wind Farm development for the Town of Forest, St. Croix County, Wisconsin. The public hearings which began at 2pm continued until after 10pm with 10 minute breaks every couple hours due to the number of persons testifying.

Absent from the standing room only town hall were the elected representatives for the residents of the Town of Forest, St. Croix County and Western Wisconsin. Whether these individuals support green energy initiatives or not is not the issue. The issue is that in order to fully represent the wishes of the electorate you must first listen to the electorate and with the exception of one individual, no other elected representative was present.

This development of Highland Wind Farm is a big deal not only for the Town of Forest but St. Croix County as well. We’re not talking about the windmills that powered the pumps on the farm and ran on gas motors when the wind didn’t blow. We’re talking about 500ft, 2.5mw with a base of cement and rebar that will go 32 ft. into the ground. We’re talking about suspending a locomotive from a 400ft post.

Since this proposed wind farm in Forest has the potential to spread throughout  St. Croix County it would be nice to have had our representatives there. Think about it, EE (Emerging Energies) bumped this project up a couple of clicks and it was out of the town’s jurisdiction. Even Troy township which supposedly has a moratorium on wind development wouldn’t be safe.

Our representatives should have been at this hearing to defend the right of the people. This decision is being made by people who do not live in St. Croix County or Forest. This will impact our county roads, local roads, and future as decommissioning is not cost effective. The technology and enterprise of recycling the fiberglass blades costs more than what the end products are worth, not to mention the toxic residue left from the process. Then there is the amount of fossil based lubricant used to keep the whole turbine going. As far as the towers are concerned, this not metal that can be sheered for recycling, the process is not user friendly or dollar wise and we’re walking right into this mess. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Get your wallets out; this is going to be an expensive ride.

Where were these duly elected representatives when the people were speaking? If they (PSC) can overrule the local government body, this will keep rolling. The right of the people to have local control should be first and foremost.  That has been taken away and where have our representatives been and where are they now?

Mark Jackelen
New Richmond, WI