Dear Friends, Neighbors and Fellow Citizens,
Since our first communication with you, we have been educating ourselves about issues relating to wind energy. The Arcadia Wind Study Group (AWSG) has adopted a position on wind energy in Arcadia and neighboring townships. Although we support residential and community-scale wind energy where appropriate, we oppose any attempt to bring industrial wind power to our township and our region.
We strongly support residential scale wind energy because benefits go directly to the end user, the homeowner. This method provides immediate reduction in owners’ electricity cost and there is relatively little, if any, additional cost associated with grid-level infrastructure changes. Practical electricity use reduction of 10-20% can be achieved at minimal costs in a short time period with the added benefit of reduction in greenhouse gases.
In addition, we strongly support size-appropriate, community-scale wind energy where the community is part of the planning, implementation, and management process. Such early and sustained involvement maximizes the likelihood that the system is sited in harmony within the community of users and benefits are realized directly by the community.
These two types of wind energy build communities and confer the benefits directly to the end users. Utility scale systems, on the other hand, divide communities and export the financial benefits to out-of-state, third party corporations.
We are STRONGLY OPPOSED TO UTILITY SCALE WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS. These monstrous industrial structures will be disruptive to our communities’ social fabric, do not harmonize with our existing land use patterns, compromise our tourism based economy and seriously degrade the viewscape. Our natural beauty is the heart and soul of our emotional attachment to the area and critical to our tourism based economy. Indeed, as the Arcadia Master Plan – a document based on extensive study and comprehensive community input – states:
As with many communities in this portion of Michigan, today’s economy is less based upon agricultural and increasingly based upon recreation and retirement income. While the beauty and natural resources of the area first drew settlers to the area, these same features continue to be highly valued by current residents and visitors to the area. Preservation of those valued elements of Arcadia’s character has been of high priority when devising the Master Plan.
We are also concerned that the financial viability of these projects is based in significant part upon massive subsidies and other government policies that may be reversed at any time.
Other serious issues of concern are:
1) Health issues from noise, vibration, and light flicker
2) Degradation of our skyline and view
3) Killing of songbirds, bats, and migratory game and other adverse environmental effects
4) Negative impact on property values
5) Decommissioning charges and responsibilities
All of these issues are real. Although we did not rely on them for our research, a simple internet search for terms such as “wind turbine noise”, “wind turbine flicker”, “wind turbine fires” or “wind turbine flicker” illustrate real people struggling with these issues. Real people like us are suffering real consequences because the “facts” as presented by the developer were never checked and questions were never asked. Instead, citizens and elected officials were made to feel overwhelmed, ignorant and helpless, and therefore did not take time to learn about the impacts or stand up to protect their communities.
People in many communities have had enough and have fought back through lawsuits. There are currently lawsuits pending in Illinois (DeKalb county), Michigan (Ubly), New York (Rochester), and Wisconsin (Forest) and several other locations related to adverse health consequences of living near wind turbines. While the circumstances of these lawsuits may vary, and we cannot attest to the merit of each, their prevalence suggests many individuals and communities have had second thoughts about permitting industrial wind development after it was too late.
Closer to home, Duke has advanced its local efforts under circumstances that do not inspire confidence. In Arcadia it installed a test tower without securing appropriate permits or notifying township officials. The company carried on negotiations with large landowners in secret for many months before sharing information with the broader public. Duke attorneys recently sent a condescending and threatening letter to Pleasanton Township regarding its proposed wind ordinance. In Joyfield, Duke has apparently signed leases with three of the five board members who will determine the conditions under which turbines would be allowed. The leases contain a ‘gag’ clause which severely restricts the ability of landowners to discuss the project and its impact. The lease also contains a ‘forced buyout’ provision, whereby the landowner must sell a portion of their property to Duke. Our attorney reviewed the lease and concluded “it is wholly one-sided, and among the most onerous I have ever encountered.” An important, plain language restatement of various lease issues is enclosed. This document emphasizes some of the troublesome clauses landowners should discuss with their attorney before signing a lease.
On January 25, Duke Energy asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to construct one hundred and eight wind turbines, each 513 feet tall, throughout our region. The enclosed maps (which can also be found online at arcadiawindstudygroup.org) contain markings showing the exact geographic coordinates of each proposed wind turbine, as submitted by Duke. We know many of these landowners have signed leases with Duke, but there are many other locations for which permits were requested where Duke has not obtained permission from landowners, or where its offers have been rejected. When these locations became public, a Duke spokesman told Interlochen Public Radio that they were “totally inaccurate”. The very next day when it was pointed out that the data was posted on a publically available government website, Duke admitted the locations were accurate. Once you see what Duke is planning to do to the landscape, we believe that you will be, as we were, even more opposed to this project.
The people of our community are far too caring and responsible to abdicate stewardship of our beautiful area to outside interests with no local ties. Please join us in standing together to protect our lovely community. Our children and our children’s children will thank us.
We ask you to protect our community by attending township board and planning commission meetings, writing letters to members of these bodies that clearly state your support of ordinance language which protects all citizens and property owners, and communicating with your neighbors and friends about the devastating impact industrial wind turbines will have on our community. The Arcadia Wind Study Group is very grateful for your continued involvement and support.
Arcadia Wind Study Group