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Wind council members reject bias allegations

By Paul Snyder

Members of the state’s Wind Siting Council are deflecting allegations the group is biased toward development.

(AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Robin Loznak)

(AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Robin Loznak)

“I think it’s a fairly well-balanced group,” said council member Dwight Sattler, a Fond du Lac County resident and neighbor of the Blue Sky Green Field Wind Farm. “If anything, vocally, it seems slanted against development right now.”

But five Calumet County residents aren’t convinced and have sued the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The lawsuit seeks to have the Wind Siting Council’s 15 members reselected or have the state’s three PSC commissioners reconvene and jointly approve the siting council’s roster.

“It’s very difficult to believe they’ll be impartial,” said Ric Van Sistine, one of the challengers. “If you spend any time looking at the members of this group, the deck seems pretty stacked to me.”

Steven Frassetto of Appleton-based Menn Law Firm Ltd., the group’s attorney, said the only public records about the siting council’s appointment are attributed to PSC Chairman Eric Callisto.

The state law creating the siting council directed the PSC to choose the members, Frassetto said, not just its chairman.

The PSC is seeking dismissal of the case, according to PSC spokeswoman Teresa Weidemann-Smith.

If Callisto alone picked the siting council members, he did so with a preference for wind farm proponents, said DuWayne Klessig, another Calumet County resident in the suit.

“There’s minimal numbers from people concerned about the issue,” he said. “Time will tell how standards fold out, but I have deep concerns about what could unfold.”

The siting council’s job is to create the rules used to place turbines throughout Wisconsin. Those rules will include setback distances from residences, noise limits for turbines and developer timelines for giving public notice about proposed projects.

The council is scheduled to have recommendations ready by July. It has met six times, beginning in March.

“I think the question is whether consensus is possible,” Sattler said. “I think it’s going to be very difficult.”
Klessig and Van Sistine said they had not attended any of the council’s meetings.

Dan Ebert, senior vice president of Sun Prairie-based WPPI Energy and chairman of the siting council, said it’s too early to tell what the siting council’s recommendations will be.

“Some members are becoming very clear about what they want, but we’re still just getting our feet wet,” he said. “I think finding consensus on some of the issues will be a very difficult and arduous process.”

Ebert said he did not know about the lawsuit and that none of the residents had contacted him with their concerns.

If the residents want to make a legal challenge to the group’s decision, Sattler said, they are free to do so.

But he said it’s wrong to assume the group is one-sided.

“If anything,” he said, “I would encourage them to actually listen in on what we’re saying.”

3 comments

  1. Don’t tell the public to listen. We know the Council Members who are pro wind aren’t saying much because they know they don’t have to argue because the council is stacked for them. The most vocal are the few concerned with turbines because they have to fight for those of us who know what it is like to live under wind turbines. This is just another farce…

  2. Disband, dismantle the ‘Clean Energy Committee’ and nix any ‘Clean Energy Bills’ — NOW! … China and the third world continue building coal powered plants — more than ever! We live in a brainwashed, tyrannical state…called Wisconsin. According to Jim Ott, retired meteorologist, now member of the assembly, five times the number of wind turbines now existing…are proposed. Never mind his running mate and the rest of the ‘Bush Crime Family'(see:www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBh_hzU-jdI), but Ronald Reagan once quoted an Englishman: “A man’s heart is only as happy as his countryside looks to him.” Within the past month, this commentor took a trip from Campbellsport to Eden on County V in Fond Du Lac. Absolutely beautiful countryside only to be destroyed forever by 400+ foot monstrosities. Constant noise, shading, distraction and simultaneous flashing red lights at night. 24/7/365 forever. Depressing, to say the least. Not the wonderful Wisconsin I grew up in. Even deer, other wildlife avoid these areas. These are not a couple of small, low key wind mills put up and maintained by individuals, but wind “farms” on a massive scale usually funded with bureaucratic corporate/government monies. Usually nowhere near the poor locales where these things are placed. Out of sight, out of mind???

    At the 2007 Calumet County Fair, was fortunate enough to get the full story from a couple of individuals addressing the public at a booth and representing CCCRE, Calumet County Citizens For Responsible Energy. Thanks to them for their commitment and their information. Jim Ott says we need a balance of all energies…no thanks to Emperor O… closing down the Yucca Mountain site after Billions already spent.

    Now some quotes from the son of my favorite politician running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky emphasizing the ending of corporate/government tyranny over individual liberties:

    “Aim not to pass bills, but repeal them”… from December 2009
    “Seat belt and anti-smoking laws: Nanny-state paternalism”
    “Voluntary, rather than mandatory accomodation of people with disabilities.”
    -NOT “conservative” socialism: H.W. Bush and his nationwide Disabilities Act.

    The only “choice” left over in this tyrannical state of WI is whether or not we can abort our pre-born kids. Thanks, Emperor D :- (
    Wind Turbines :- (
    Mandatory ethanol :- (…see whtt.org…incineration of God’s gift to America…FOOD Corn!

    mike from waldo

  3. In addition to my last comment: To quote Jim Ott: A whole mass of wind turbines won’t replace one coal- powered plant…may I add: Even if we wanted to.

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