With a band, local comedian, prepared signs and two candidates for governor as speakers, opponents of wind energy in Montcalm County, Mich. held a Feb. 5 rally against attempts to build a wind farm in their community. The rally was conducted at the Wildflower Schoolhouse in Trufant, Mich. and was sponsored by Montcalm County Citizens United.
During the rally, several local residents told Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) that wind power hurts property values, while others said they hurt the health of people living nearby.
David Stevens, who lives near the Meridian Wind Park in Midland County, said the last four years have been “terrible. It only gets worse from here.” That wind farm, which is owned by Michigan utility DTE, is set to go online this summer.
Several residents said wind companies use conflicting sets of data and stealth tactics to push the wind farm through the approvals process.
“They had registered with the state before you knew about it,” said LouAnn Mogg, a wind opponent from adjacent Isabella County, where a new wind project by Apex Clean Energy opened last year.
While organizers had posted signs saying shooting video or recording audio was prohibited, the rally was recorded by cameras as two Republican candidates for governor, Ryan Kelly and Ralph Rebandt, joined the speakers.
The rally came as a growing number of townships in the county, located north of Grand Rapids, have debated or approved zoning ordinances that would make it difficult to develop wind farms within their boundaries.
Anti-wind activist Kevon Martis spoke to rally goers, saying that wind developers are “not honest brokers.”
Martis told C&BP after the rally that it misrepresented his record. “Anti-wind?” he asked in response to a question about zoning ordinances he supports. “Don’t you mean pro- property rights?”
Martis said his objective, as well as the landowners he supports, is to avoid having government bodies “industrialize the township” by ramming through permits for wind projects that disturb neighbors. He said that in general, I have found the regulated utilities in the state of Michigan, Detroit Edison (DTE) and Consumers Energy, to be somewhat more honest brokers as wind developers.”
Mike Mikus is a reporter for Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.
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