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Letters to the Editor

Letter: It's time to embrace wind power

To the Editor:

It is time for us to embrace wind power – it funds our communities, and the future of our farms may depend on it.

Over the past decade, the profitability of farms across the country, including in DeKalb County, has dropped to an unfortunate low. This trend has left many farmers in a position that threatens their business and their family’s ability to stay on their land.

Fortunately, there is a partial solution to this problem – farming the wind. By leasing land to wind power companies, our neighbors on farmland can boost their profits and find financial stability for their businesses despite low prices for their agricultural products. This isn’t a replacement for farming, but it does provide financial security that the farming community deserves.

Not only have farmers benefited financially from wind power, but local governments have used property taxes from wind companies to pay for roads, schools and other services for all residents. Wind farms offer an unusual and exciting opportunity for local governments by generating significant tax revenue without changing the character of their communities. A rural town with a wind farm is still a rural town.

All across Illinois, farmers and communities are acknowledging this opportunity and signing up wherever the chance arises. But despite these benefits, not everyone believes that wind power is best for them.

Some individuals have claimed that wind farms are noisy or that adverse health effects result from proximity to wind farms. Fortunately, after extensive research by numerous qualified groups, the debate has been settled: Wind farms are safe and they do not create noticeable noise.

Unfortunately, because of a few skeptics, some local governments occasionally take steps to make it harder for wind power to come to their town to be “better safe than sorry.”

While everyone can appreciate caution, the results can be devastating. When local governments reject wind power, the companies look elsewhere for available land, and residents lose the benefits of wind development without getting anything in return.

So, when we are deciding whether to make it harder for wind power to come to our community, it is important that we consider the effects of saying no to wind.

Wind farms give us clean low-cost energy, help farmers stay on their land and pay for children to attend local schools.

We need to embrace wind in our communities.

Cary Shepherd

Chicago

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