Environmental concerns are an obvious problem area for wind turbines. Industrial wind turbines destroy avian ecosystems. One popular statistic based on a peer-reviewed study notes that some 300,000 birds are killed each year by industrial wind turbines, but some environmental experts argue these numbers are low. A University of Colorado study concluded that industrial wind turbines killed 600,000 bats in 2012 alone. 

Birds and eagles are killed by blade strikes, whereas bats are killed due to the pressure given off by the massive industrial machines. The pressure causes the lungs of bats to explode when they fly near the turbines. 

This same pressure affects humans living near turbines. Eagles are present in Delaware County, and hence the addition of industrial turbines will likely harm local habitats. Bats in the surrounding area are already dealing with white-nose syndrome. The turbines could wipe out local bat populations in rural Delaware County. A single brown bat can easily catch 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and a nursing mother eats approximately 4,500 insects every night.

There are many questions that the wind developers need to answer with respect to their long-term plans for Delaware County, such as how they will pay for future decommissioning costs. Why the lack of transparency with their plans? What type of easements will they require from local landowners to run transmission lines? Will eminent domain force neighbors to accept transmission lines on their property and through their fields?

There is evidence that energy given off by transmission lines affects milking operations (with low production and cattle death). Will the lines affect any local dairy farmers? I would also like to talk with current leaseholders. Are leaseholders required to sign non-disclosure agreements? Why? I have identified 66 questions in a research report and expect the greater Delaware County community has many more.

A research report presented to the Delaware County board of supervisors May 4 includes much more information. We are requesting public hearings, similar to those when the Elk Wind industrial turbine farm near Greeley was built. It’s five years later, and much has been learned about industrial wind turbines. We feel the people of Delaware County have the right to ask questions, voice concerns and be allowed transparency with the proliferation of industrial turbines throughout our county. 

The current county ordinance is five years old and needs updating based on the most current research to ensure safe site distances from people’s homes, clear responsibilities and wind company financing for decommissioning, as well as safety for bird/bat populations. 

We have also started a petition  (search for Iowa Wind Action Group on Facebook) or call and we’ll explain how to do it (875-6455). Our focus is to gather enough signatures to convince the board of supervisors to issue a moratorium until hearing from the public. A referendum for a county vote is appropriate given the amount of tax money involved, the number of planned turbines and the large amount of acres/transmission lines in play. It only takes a click to show your support in making a difference and helping create a better Delaware County that shows it cares for its people, its finances, and its wildlife.