Madison County Supervisors Discuss Possible Health Impacts of Wind Turbines

WINTERSET, Iowa -- After the Madison County Board of Public Health made a statement saying they believe there are negative health effects caused by wind turbines, the county board of supervisors discussed the issue and heard from the public.

Residents at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting agreed and urged the supervisors to act.

"We understand there is a risk to our health. This was not news to us, as we have been subjected to the turbines from Adair County across the road for over a year now. We both have experienced negative health effects and why we encourage our board to please take all of this seriously to protect all of Madison County residents immediately," Madison County resident Shelley Marsh said.

The Iowa Environmental Council and MidAmerican Energy said a University of Iowa study on the subject found the opposite.

“There is no authoritative evidence that the sound from wind turbines is a risk to human health. Wind energy is a net positive to human health, especially when you compare it to the actual negative environmental and health impacts of burning fossil fuels,” Iowa Environmental Council Energy Outreach Coordinator Jordan Oster said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said she can’t make a statement one way or the other regarding wind turbines and health, but as a supporter of wind energy, she wants to work with Madison County.

“I look forward to continuing to sit down with them, to hear their concerns, to take a look at the data that they may have so that we can further research it just like SNAP, dig into the details, dig into the data, verify or maybe address some of the concerns they may have,” Reynolds said.

One supervisor said she accepts the board of health’s position.

“The person putting them on there is getting paid a great deal of money. The person not participating is getting nothing, except that blinking monstrosity above them,” Madison County Supervisor Diane Fitch said.

The board of health recommended an ordinance forcing new turbine projects to be 1.5 miles from any home.

MidAmerican Energy says they can work with some distance, but 1.5 miles is way too much and could stop them from building more.

“We are OK with setbacks and ordinances. In fact, there are multiple counties in Iowa that have wind ordinances that we build projects under,” MidAmerican Energy Project Developer Matt Ott said.

The board of supervisors did not come to a conclusion and decided to put it on the agenda for the next meeting where they could put a possible freeze on future turbine construction until an ordinance for the county can be drafted and put into effect.

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