Monday, April 16, 2007

"A fleecing of taxpayer dollars"

A reader who identifies herself as Anne writes:
Thank you for posting your experience by the Meyersdale wind farm that has driven many people from their homes which were unsalable and some sold for under 80% less than their fair market value. Also, bear in mind that the turbines they are trying to erect in PA, MD, WV, and NY are between 393' and 600' tall....closer to peoples homes. It is simply a fleecing of taxpayer dollars to ruin taxpayer's quality of life.
Anne, do you mean that homeowners were displaced when the wind farm took their land, or that people left because they didn't want to live near a wind farm, or both? And do you know how many households were involved? The area we drove through was mostly wooded hunting land interspersed with pastures, but the few houses we passed weren't vacant.

Also, if one must live near a power plant, doesn't a wind farm make a better neighbor than a coal-burning plant or a nuclear plant? And doesn't a wind farm displace far fewer people, with far less environmental impact, than a hydroelectric dam? Which form of electric power generation do you prefer?

I readily grant you that using taxpayer money to lure new businesses -- including new businesses that compete with existing businesses, or drive existing taxpayers from their land -- can be problematic, and at best is a difficult judgment call. Were such incentives offered the wind-farm company? Do you know how much money was involved?

Thanks for writing.

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