Letter: Big problems in wind permitting

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I am a day care provider living in the footprint of the proposed Freeborn Wind project. I’ve had day care in my home over 20 years and love my job. I am among the nearly 80 percent signing a petition against the project on the Minnesota side.    

There has been and still remains problems and rules not followed. There has been admitted lying and trespassing. There has been a lack of decommissioning the plan, the administrative law judge recommendations being ignored, (along with the Minnesota Department of Health and the World Health Organization), at least one illegal notary on a lease, not recognizing eagles and nests and no alternative siting for turbines in the application. 

The Worth County side of the project was given a 1,500-foot setback. There are several non-participant homes on the Freeborn County side that have less than a 1,500-foot setback.

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Problems are real, and many know it. One example is the Bent Tree Wind Farm in our county.  For many years, families there have waited for resolutions to their problems with the end result being the buyout of two non-participating homes, and families needing to move. Participants are not allowed to complain — who knows how many of them are experiencing problems?

Also, at Bent Tree there was an ice throw incident into a semi tractor last winter.

Sept. 20 was the hearing in St Paul, where problems such as the false notary and the missing signature were brought up. These problems were ignored. 

Decommissioning was brought up, and the state decommissioning rule was not fully followed.  In Freeborn Wind’s application, it states “decommissioning to be determined.” In the Freeborn County ordinance, it states the applicant shall provide a bond payable to the county to cover costs of removal in the event that it would fall back on the county. They are also supposed to submit an estimate of costs (ordinance number 2015-01).  But, still, it appears to me it is unclear who will pay. 

Also, at the Public Utility Commissioners’ meeting, Freeborn Wind was told by commissioners they need to make sure they have all their land needed — they don’t.

The commissioners seemed to acknowledge issues on noise, but, still, they gave Freeborn Wind allowances over the Minnesota Noise Standard Rule. We do not understand how this company can get by with not following rules/laws.

Recently at our township meeting, it was brought to the attention that an employee of Invenergy LLC had been meeting outside of regular meetings with at least one member of the board, which I believe is possibly illegal.

One question I would ask is why does the wind company and other agencies say they want public input? Many have taken off work for hearings and the contested case.  The judge’s recommendations were ignored anyway.  What a waste of time, wages and tax dollars.  The problems are real. The time is now to think about the people and the law.

Sue Madson