MADISON COUNTY, Iowa — After a lengthy debate over wind turbines in Madison County, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to temporarily halt new wind and solar projects for the next year.
Mary Jobst, who agrees with the board’s decision, believes it is time to stand up to MidAmerican’s wind turbine projects.
“All they care about is easements, acres and money. What about people?” Jobst said.
Jobst and her husband are one of many who initially signed an easement for project Arbor Hill, which will construct 52 wind turbines in Madison County, but have since changed their minds. She said, “Unless MidAmerican will do the right thing. Be a good neighbor like they say they want to be and withdraw.”
Jobst hit the pavement to petition residents in the Arbor Hill footprint and found many now have a strong opposition based upon the circled homes on a map she put together that surround the proposed wind turbines.
“Visiting with my neighbors, it came out to 72 percent of people that participated in that petition were opposed to it,” said Jobst.
Adding to the controversy, the county`s Board of Health determined wind turbines cause negative health effects and encouraged the Board of Supervisors to draft an ordinance placing them a mile and a half from homes. Jobst said, “I feel the risks are unacceptable. The risks not only to my neighbors but to us.”
On Tuesday, the Madison County Board of Supervisors voted 2 to 1 for a moratorium on future wind and solar energy projects through October 2020, until an ordinance for wind and solar energy can be passed. It excludes the Arbor Hill project. “The stipulation on the moratorium is that any turbines already permitted prior to 1/1/2019 are excluded,” said Jobst.
Tanya and Mike Lamb said the impact of wind turbines are no more evident than at their Adair County home in Greenfield. Multiple turbines are visible from their bedroom window. Tanya Lamb told Madison County officials Tuesday it’s not the sight lines she has a problem with, but instead it`s the noise.
“It`s like jets that are flying around and around and they just can`t land,” said Tanya Lamb. Her husband Mike Lamb added, “We are getting a lot of noise inside the house and that`s kind of keeping us up at night and it`s very disheartening.”
It’s a message Tanya Lamb hopes Madison County officials pay attention to. She said, “I didn`t want those people`s lives to be destroyed like mine, and I wanted to express my thoughts and concerns because it is horrible.”
Supporters of wind energy say there is no proof wind turbines pose a health risk. The board hopes to have an ordinance ready within the next six months.