Feb 26, 2010

Landowners threaten We Energies' attempt to build 90 turbines

Resistance from Columbia County landowners threatens We Energies' attempt to build 90 turbines for the Glacier Hills Wind Park.

Randolph resident Pete DeBoer, for instance, said the utility offered him $2,000 per year and a $5,000 bonus to a sign a contract waiving his right to sue if the sound from two nearby turbines exceeds 45 decibels after they are built. The utility will install equipment on his house to measure decibels.


"As far as I can tell, if you sign anything with them, they can come and go as they please on your property," DeBoer said. "It's about what they want, when they want it and where they want it.

"I told them no, and so far they've left me alone but I've heard they're harassing other people."

We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty said the utility is trying repeatedly to contact property owners, but only because representatives either are calling or arriving at homes to no answer. "It's a process," he said. "Sometimes it can take several months to try to get communication going, but I wouldn't call it harassment."

When the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved the estimated $434 million Glacier Hills project in January, commissioners required the company build turbines 1,250 feet from properties unless the owners signed waivers allowing smaller setbacks. Commissioners also set a 45-decibel night noise limit.

...If landowners do not sign off on waivers or easements, Manthey said, We Energies still will find a way to finish the project. But, he said, there is no justification to local concerns the utility will use eminent domain to take the land. "We're not anywhere near that," he said. "We feel pretty confident about getting the turbines up and getting the contracts we need." Please read more and follow story at DailyReporter