During a rally last month in Montcalm County, Mich., Dave Stevens told protesters that the last four years of his life have been “the worst of my life” since the approval of a wind project near his home of Mt. Haley Township in Midland County.
“It’s only going to get worse,” Stevens told the crowd at the Feb. 5 rally in Trufant, Mich.
Stevens’ comments in Montcalm County also echoed the many claims he has made trying to stop the wind farm.
Records from Mt. Haley planning commission meetings show that Stevens:
- Claimed in a July 2018 meeting that a debunked “wind turbine syndrome” made people sick. Multiple scientific researchers have concluded that reports on wind turbine syndrome are based on flawed methodology and have not been subjected to peer reviews by other experts.
- In a Nov. 8, 2018, meeting, Stevens touted a Wisconsin county’s attempt to label a local, 11-turbine wind farm a health hazard. Eight years later, that farm is still operating. Health statistics in Brown County, Wis., show decreases between 2010 and 2017, the last year for which statistics were available, for hospitalizations for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, Brown County Public Information Officer Jeff Flynt told Checks and Balances Project that “there have not been any recent health-related complaints about wind turbines and there have not been any new studies conducted by Brown County or its designees.” A Wisconsin state government report also says turbines do not cause health problems.
- Claimed in that same meeting that Virginia has to put its wind turbines offshore, but there is a 75-megawatt wind project in development onshore in Virginia.
Stevens also claimed that economic activity in Midland County has ground to a halt.
However, federal labor records show that workers in that county make more per week than in other Michigan countries outside the major metropolitan areas of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing.
Midland County’s unemployment rate was also lower and average wages higher than the national average. Midland is also the corporate headquarters of Dow Chemical, one of the world’s largest chemical companies.
Stevens did not respond to requests for comment.
Mt. Haley Township, however, stands to see a dramatic improvement in its local finances once the wind farm starts operating.
According to financial details reported on cleargov.com, the majority of township finances come from state and federal governments instead of local taxes.
Public records from nearby Isabella County, where wind turbines started to go online last year, show that local finances surged after the turbines started operating.
In Gratiot County, where wind farms have operated since 2012, local governments receive the vast majority of their revenues from local taxes, most of them generated by wind.
Stevens also claimed during the Feb. 5 rally that local property values have dropped since the start of wind farm construction.
Few homes in his township have been listed for sale in recent months. One, which is now on the market for $244,000, previously sold for $29,000 in June 2018 – almost a 10-fold increase in its price.
Meanwhile, property values throughout central Michigan have been rising, even in areas with wind turbines. Claims during the Feb. 5 rally by a local real estate agent that turbines were responsible for lower property values were debunked in a recent C&BP report that showed one home was located across the street from a massive cattle feed lot.
Mike Mikus is a reporter and Ray Locker the executive director 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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