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Wisconsin town taking renewed action against Texas energy giant

FOREST, Wis., Sept. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A small township in northwest Wisconsin is ramping up efforts to block construction of an industrial-scale wind farm that would put 500-foot turbines into an existing neighborhood. To share the growing body of evidence over the negative impacts of industrial-scale wind farms, the town of Forest in St. Croix County has created a new website at forestwindtruth.org. It has also launched a petition drive at change.org.

The battle over the proposed Highland Wind Farm Project in the town of Forest has dragged on for over 10 years despite pleas from town residents about the location of the $250-million project. Forest is located in St. Croix County, about 50 miles east of the Twin Cities.

"While we all understand the need to develop more green energy, siting a wind farm of this magnitude so close to existing residents threatens public health and the quality of life of all our citizens," says Forest resident Doris Schmidt. "We're hoping regulators and policymakers will take another look at this proposal --- especially given the documented impact of wind turbines on people and animals."

Those living near existing wind farms elsewhere in Wisconsin have reported health problems related to noise, shadow flicker, infrasound and stray voltage from the turbines reaching 500 feet tall. The long-term effects are only beginning to be understood, given that large scale wind energy is early in its development in the state.

Leeward Renewable Energy of Dallas, Texas has pressed forward with its project even after its initial application was denied by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC has since reversed its decision despite hearing dozens of people testify about health problems related to a much smaller wind project near Green Bay.

In that case, at least three families were forced to vacate their homes due to the impacts of just eight turbines from the Shirley Wind Farm in rural Brown County. In 2014, following a flood of health complaints including insomnia, anxiety, headaches, nausea and even thoughts of suicide, the Brown County board of health declared the wind farm a "human health hazard." 

Following the PSC approval, the town of Forest took legal action but was rebuffed by Wisconsin State Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

"We love farming and country life, which is why we stayed on our farm for over 50 years," adds Schmidt. "If a wind farm is built here, everything will forever be changed. It will no longer be the place to come for big family get-togethers. If our animals are subject to stray voltage, they could die. It will be no fun working the farm fields with shadow flicker strobing all over our land."

This is just one of the countless personal accounts from residents as to why they don't want the Highland Wind Farm to continue. The website forestwindtruth.org has more on the residents of Forest.

 

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