The topic of wind turbines has people talking across central Wisconsin

Towns like Rib falls, Cleveland and Johnson have already instituted special ordinances or are in the process of doing so
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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TOWN OF RIETBROCK, Wis. (WSAW) - Recently some energy companies have proposed wind turbines for Clark and Marathon Counties.

But a handful of municipalities are adding ordinances requiring any wind energy facility to get a license prior to construction. Regardless of any agreement between them and landowners. Joining that list is the Town of Rietbrock.

The purpose of these ordinances is to regulate some aspects of wind projects. Such as where they can be built, the permitting process, and construction. For the Town of Rietbrock, the talks are still in the early stages.

The possibility of having wind turbines on farmland has a lot of people talking.

“The health effects, land value nobody really wants to live next to one of these that’s one of the things that really hit home to me,” said Tom Wilcox, a member of Farmland First who lives in Clark County.

During Monday’s meeting in the Town of Rietbrock, one of the items on the agenda is wind energy ordinance.

“We are looking to protect all of that, we just want to know what the industry is proposing and what are the consequences to our public health as a community,” said Lyonel Wisnewski, Chairman, Town of Rietbrock.

Rietbrock Road Supervisor Mark Ellenbecker says they have a lot of questions. For example, transporting the wind turbines onto the properties.

“I want some answers from the company proposing this and are these going to be feasible. And are they going to pay for themselves? Or are they strictly going on subsidies from the government that you and I are both going to pay for?” asked Ellenbecker.

“Health and safety from a governmental standpoint. There’s issues with road and infrastructure and there’s a lot to putting up these systems and lot of weight going across these roads that normally don’t see that heavy traffic,” said Wilcox.

A handful of other towns have already instituted special ordinances or are in the process of doing so. This includes Rib Falls, Cleveland, and Johnson. The town chair says he’s not entirely opposed.

“We are not taking a not in back yard stance but rather try and protect the people and the resources and the economy of our small agricultural community,” said Wisnewski.