Americans living in rural areas across the country don’t want wind turbines near their homes
TAMA COUNTY, IOWA — It’s no secret that the White House and many environmentalists want to build more wind projects all over the country.
From sites out at sea to new wind turbines on farmland, this push is backed by a lot of money.
In fact, in the next few years, more than $370 billion of taxpayer money will be spent on clean energy projects like wind.
Not all Americans are excited to see wind turbines, though.
Jon Winkelpleck is from Iowa’s Tama County.
Winkelpleck told Scripps News, “If you want one, you have to live next to it.”
Winkelpleck is part of a growing group of farmers and ranchers in the U.S. who are speaking out against people who want to build more wind turbines.
In rural areas of the United States, where there is a lot of land and a lot of wind, people often ask to build more.
Winkelpleck said, “People who sign up for these turbines don’t put them up next to their house.”
Winkelpleck says that his land is meant for cows and corn, not turbines and transformers.
Winkelpleck said, “These big industrial wind turbines will be visible for miles.”
Winkelpleck added, “It’s our job to protect our farmland.”
Winkelpleck isn’t the only one who doesn’t agree.
If you go to Facebook, you’ll find that the group “Tama County Against Turbines” has more than 1,200 members.
Heather Knebel, who lives in Tama County, stays up-to-date with the group’s posts on social media and scheduled meetups. It’s also where she learned that ice forming on the blades of turbines in the winter could pose a safety risk.
For clarity, the wind industry says that ice can form, but there are ways to get rid of it.
Knebel said, “This is Iowa, so we’re going to have weather.”
“When I heard that, I said, ‘Holy cow, I didn’t know that existed,'” Knebel said.
A NATIONAL PROBLEM
You would be wrong to think that the wind problem in Tama County is only a problem in a small, rural part of the country.
In Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and other states, there are also fights like this going on.
President Joe Biden and other government officials are hoping that new tax credits will speed up wind development in the coming years. However, opposition from small towns is quickly becoming a big problem.
In Tama County, for example, nothing can be built until the landowner gives permission.
Kathy Law is both a farmer and an attorney. In Iowa, she works for the wind industry.
Law said, “The technology just gets better as time goes on.”
Law added, “I think education is a big part of it.”
Law thinks that false information is a problem because it is easy to spread online. She says that wind is safe, and in parts of rural America where people are worried about the future of their economies, wind means cash.
For putting up just one turbine, farmers can get a couple thousand dollars a year.
“Right now, farming is good in Iowa, but when commodity prices or land prices go down, it’s a great way for farmers to make extra money,” Law said.
Law added, “It’s just another crop we can brag about.”
Even though wind developers keep calling Winkelpleck to get access to his land, it doesn’t look like anything will change his mind.
“We aren’t interested,” Winkelpleck said.