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Bill Gives Local Control for Determining Wind Turbine Rules
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/06/2012

A Wisconsin lawmaker is introducing legislation that allows local communities to create their own minimum setback requirements for wind turbines. According to Sen. Frank Lasee, current law doesn't allow local officials to establish distances from property or homes that 500 feet tall wind turbines can be located.

"Local communities should be able to create their own rules for public safety," Lasee said. "We shouldn't leave it to bureaucrats in Madison to make these decisions that affect home values and people's lives. Madisonites aren't the ones living next to the turbines."

The De Pere Republican says having a statewide standard for wind turbine setbacks does not take into account the local landscape. He says local people are most familiar with their own area to set the correct distances and best represent their local constituents.

"Over the last several months, I have spoken with numerous Wisconsin residents who have complained about wind turbines," Lasee points out. "These complaints range from constant nausea, sleep loss, headaches, dizziness and vertigo. Some have said the value of their properties has dropped on account of the turbines."

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Towns Association Director Rick Stadelman support the effort. He says local governments are responsible for protecting the public health and welfare of their communities, and says arbitrary state standards limiting setbacks and noise levels of wind turbines take away the authority of local officials to protect their community.

The bill comes nearly a year after a joint legislative panel voted to suspend the wind siting rule promulgated by the Public Service Commission in December 2010. Those policies would have put into place standard rules that all areas of the state would need to follow when determining regulations for wind turbines.

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