The council members of the Piatt County Board in Monticello, Illinois have declined a permit for a 300 MW wind farm. In the county of Carlow, Ireland, the planning board there just declined a seven turbine 583 ft high wind farm.1 The Idaho House of Representatives voted unanimously in voicing opposition to southern Idaho’s proposed wind farms.2 And that’s just this week.
“We were elected by the people in our various districts to do what is best for our constituents,” said Board Member Jerry Edwards, who voted against the Illinois project. “I have heard from a lot of residents of Piatt County and for the vast majority, this is something they do not want.”3
So the question is… what are the county and municipality members of St. Paul, Bonnyville, Two Hills and elsewhere doing to represent their constituents? Why are they agreeing to wind turbine farms in Alberta when the vast majority of people affected in those counties do not want them? Why are they allowing a mere handful of residents to host massive wind turbines that will disrupt the lives of their neighbors?
We’re not speaking of a temporary disruption (like the construction of a hidden pipeline) or perhaps a quiet powerline passing through, but noisy, destructive, landscape-changing monoliths that will disrupt the ecosystem, wildlife, and lives of thousands of people in the province in a way that is virtually unprecedented.
As such, constituents deserve a voice in these projects. They deserve to be heard rather than bulldozed by special interests and corporations working quietly behind the scenes, buying off landowners and all but sealing the deal with an Alberta Utilities Commission that is simply not listening to Albertans. Moreover, constituents deserve to be protected from projects, before they are built, that are now recognized in science and law to harm human and animal health.
It’s time for the people in these counties and municipalities to let their representatives know that it’s not okay for them to sign off on wind farms in our backyards without a proper and transparent community discussion.
The Piatt County Board is just one example of a group of politicians that, for once, have put people before profit. Alberta politicians… where are you?