Wind turbine debate: The answer my friend is blowing in the wind

Citizen comment at a recent board of supervisors meeting
Citizen comment at a recent board of supervisors meeting

An old joke in Floyd County used to suggest that the only issues that could rile up the citizenry were zoning or a proposed leash law for dogs.

Add wind turbines to that list.

For the last several months, every meeting of the Floyd County Board of Supervisors has brought at least one speaker to the podium during the public comment period.  Be it for or against the wind turbines the rhetoric is sometimes heated, filled with hyperbole and driven by enough hot air to power both wind turbines and a geo-thermal electrical plant.

Proponents proclaim vast economic windfalls that don’t exist while opponents talk of wholesale slaughter of bats and destruction of water tables.  Some of the arguments on both sides contain some truth but that truth is too often lost in the mountains of inflamed rhetoric that drive the debate.

Now the county is hoping a task force of county citizens will bring some reality to the debate.

It might. It might not.  Board chairman Casey Clinger wants to task force — composed of two residents of each of the five county districts — balanced with a proponent and opponent  named by each supervisor.

Which, of course, increases the chances of deadlock, so new Locust Grover Supervisor Lauren Yoder will serve as chairman and tie breaker.

Although the board has not yet defined the goals of the task force, individual supervisors tell us they hope the citizen group will offer the board sound, fact-based reasons to either embrace or reject the proposed wind generators.

Those under consideration for final appointment include former supervisor Jerry Boothe, wind turbine opponent Dave Dixon, the party activist Rob Bonsignore and water & soil expert Jeff Walker.  Others are expected to be named when the board gathers next week for its second April meeting.

Stay tuned.  This could get interesting.

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