Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The wind power whiners and bad reporting about them

The funny thing about wind turbines popping up in rural areas is the fact that farmers - those who work the land and feed America - have never raised objections to having wind turbines built around their property and especially never objected to building wind turbines on their own property. It seems to always be the folks who move from nearby cities to enjoy the rural lifestyle who bitch about everything that is rural.

They find a way to piss and moan about the smell of livestock manure, the dust from gravel roads, lound machinery harvesting crops and, of course, the wind turbines being built around them.

"Rudy and I are retired, and we like to sit out on our deck," (via)
That is and isn't the case with this retired couple living near Elkton (east of Austin, MN) who live across the road from a farm where wind turbines were erected. The only problem with their argument about the turbines ruining their retired lifestyle is that when people object to the plans, the companies building the wind farms often times back down. Of course that part of the story, which would add some clarity to the situation, is conveniently missing. That works well for the Star-Tribune because it generates a boatload of loony comments and tens of thousands of pageviews on their website. But it also proves that they don't care about uncovering truths, they'd rather tell a "shocking" story about a supposed injustice. Never mind the fact that this retired couple, the daughter (who I don't even see fitting in to this story) who claims that her 85 year-old father is "shellshocked" due to the noise generated from the turbine - the nearest which is 900 feet away - that's nearly 1/5 mile.

This sounds like a retired person who doesn't want to see the rural landscape changed. While I agree that I'd hate to see the family farm I grew up on converted to a strip mall or landfill, a wind turbine or four is vastly different. I grew up there and while sometimes the dust from the gravel road choked me as I played in the front yard, I got used to it. If the neighbor to the south was cleaning his hog barns, my mom would close the windows. And with the windows closed, you could only faintly hear the 400+ combined horsepower of electric motors running 100 feet away 18 hours/day for up to three weeks at a time as we harvested and dried the corn crop in the fall. Why? Because we were used to it and we adapted. We never threatened legal action or caused such a stir that a newspaper desperate for a story that few people in the Twin Cities 100 miles away could understand contacted and interviewed a few sources and wrote a story missing a few important pieces to drum up web traffic. Nope, that never happened because my family doesn't bitch and moan about progress. The Jechs of rural Elkton need to realize that they still live in the country and remember that if, once upon a time, they farmed there were probably non-farmers who bitched about what they did. The only difference is that a newspaper from 100 miles away gave the Jechs a voice. A voice that a week from now nobody will give a damn about.

MinnPics has a stance on wind turbines, too. They make for awesome photos and Minnesota has plenty of places to photograph them. Check MinnPics for plenty of other photogenic Minnesota sites.


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Whiskeymarie said...

I find it funny how people move to the outer reaches to "escape the city", and then so many of them are thrilled when Starbucks, Wal-mart and the like come to town, very often displacing real, local businesses. Ugh.

And those people have no place bitching about how they don't like the noise from wind turbines- like you said, they've probably lived there forever and just need to get used to it. If they don't like it, there's always Florida.
If people can bitch and get a story written about this sort of stuff, then I'd like to voice my displeasure at the amount of noise the fire station makes by my house, and how loud the plows are when they go by. Sure, I know they're both helpful and all, but I'd really like my quiet.

...and end sarcastic rant. Good post.

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