In October, an important report was finalized and sent to the Wisconsin legislature by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). This wind turbine siting health review and policy update report was drafted by the PSCW staff and Wind Siting Council (WSC). State statutes mandate that this report be produced every five years. Its purpose is to inform the legislature of changes that are needed to Wisconsin’s statewide wind siting rules (PSC 128) and other related necessary actions.
Readers need to understand how the WSC Report was produced and why its heavily biased position cannot be trusted.
The PSCW staff, widely recognized as very pro-wind, drafted the report and then sent it to the 14 WSC members for feedback. Eight WSC members — the “majority”— are pro-wind, including two wind developers (who profit from wind development), two utility representatives (who operate wind projects), and two members of quasi-environmental groups (receiving funding from wind interests). The six remaining members — the “minority” — are pro-health and without financial conflicts of interest. All requests by WSC members to modify the PSCW staff’s draft were either unilaterally accepted or denied by the staff, or were put to a simple majority vote of the WSC, with the pro-wind majority winning nearly all of those votes.
That majority also had the votes to decide what information would be allowed into the report, and voted to exclude all “real world” wind turbine health impact testimony, affidavits and resolutions from Wisconsin residents, towns, counties and the Wisconsin Towns Association. Additionally, discussions in the health section of the report about specific peer-reviewed literature frequently omitted key information contained in those articles, resulting in a report that would be misleading to the legislature and consequently harmful to rural communities where future wind projects may be constructed. In an outrageous move strongly objected to by the minority, the majority voted to adopt the health section of the draft report “as is” before it was ever discussed paragraph-by-paragraph at any WSC meeting.
For the policy update section of the report, the majority voted to exclude any discussion of noise limits and setback distances used by other countries, even though much of the report’s empirical research was conducted in Europe where noise and setback limits are more restrictive than in Wisconsin. Consequently, the report presents an apples-to-oranges comparison, rendering its conclusions largely irrelevant for informing Wisconsin wind siting policymaking. Finally, the majority voted to make no recommendations to the legislature, despite a significant number of important recommendations for legislative changes that the minority deemed necessary and submitted for inclusion in the report.
The resulting WSC Report amounts to nothing more than wind industry propaganda. Don’t trust it.
The view of the minority, while largely excluded from the main report, is presented as an appendix to the main report and provides a truthful, objective report by unconflicted WSC members whose only interest is protecting public health. Read it at
Jim Vanden Boogart
WSC Alternate Member