IMPACTS ON HEALTH, SAFETY AND SURVIVAL
[January 28th 2020] —
HUMANS – proximity to wind turbines has been associated with a variety of human health issues.
- Noise – Long term constant exposure to noise is a health risk to humans and wildlife.
- Infrasound, low frequency noise is of special concern. (Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health,” which may be found at https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285 (The lecture begins after about 2 minutes, lasts about 50 minutes, and is followed by an extensive question and answer session.)
- Shadow Flicker
- Ice Throw
- Fire Danger – increased risk from equipment during construction and turbine failure.
WILDLIFE – name your concerns, include lists of what you see regularly that will likely be impacted. Consider how this disruption and noise will affect and or permanently displace….
- Birds – all birds are of concern (name your specific favorites) but the impact to raptors is of special concern. Specify any known nests in or near the project area. The southern end of the project area along the WY/CO border is a known migratory flyway choke point for raptors (according to a rehabilitation coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program) who was in attendance at the scoping meeting.
- Bats – turbines known to kill bats as well as birds.
- Toads – known to be in the project area, disturbance to earth could be risky.
- Large Game – Pronghorn Antelope, Elk, Mule Deer, Moose, Mountain Lion, Bear, Coyote, Bobcats are all within project area.
- Smaller Mammals – Badger, Prairie Dogs, Golden Mantles, Chipmunks, Marmots, Rabbits….
NATIVE PLANTS – what native plants are at risk during construction disturbance and after?
- Cheat Grass – SE Wyoming is under threat from the invasive species “cheat grass’, which kills native pasture, thereby driving away native ruminants, rendering land unfit for cattle, and perhaps most seriously constituting an extreme fire risk in summer. Spraying by airplane is the only way to eradicate the large areas already affected. The Rail Tie project will render this impossible. With an appropriate air-safety margin all around, we will have perhaps 40,000 acres acting as a giant incubator for this nuisance. Seeds will spread unchecked (by wind, ironically) all over the remaining prairie and into Colorado.
- Acreage taken out of use – Estimates are for construction of 60 miles of new access roads. Private landowners apparently are okay with this but how will this impact wildlife. Wyoming Trust Land makes up about 20% of project, why should this land be industrialized?
WATER – thousands of gallons of water will be used daily during construction.
- Where will water come from for this project…. during construction and long term? Concrete pads of potentially 16-foot depth…does that mean an on-site batch plant? Where will water come from?
- Sharing water with this industrialized scale project could impact local hay production, sustaining of horses, and local wildlife.
- Will private residential wells in the area be impacted?
HISTORIC AREAS – This project also overlays or is within the view of several historic areas: Ames Monument, Cherokee Trail, Overland Trail, original Lincoln Highway route, the transcontinental railroad, the Willow Creek/Dirty Woman Stage Coach Station. Will the draft EIS include study of archaeological and cultural areas of significance before allowing land to become industrialized?
DARK SKY LOSS – What lighting will be required? Given possible height of 675 feet, will each turbine have lighting?
AIR SPACE USE –
- Aerial spraying of weeds will not be possible over large acreage of project.
- Will training exercises from nearby military bases no longer be able to use this area?
- How will aerial wildlife monitoring be impacted?
PROPERTY VALUE LOSS – adjacent land and homeowners will experience significant loss of property value with no proposed compensation.
INDUSTRIALIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL AREA
- Zoning changes? Will all land within the project boundary be rezoned to reflect this industrialization?
- Project Size is too large to preserve any of the natural characteristics of the area. At 26,000 acres this is more than twice the size of all of Laramie. Turbines may be up to 675 feet in height when the highest building in all of Wyoming is only 200 feet (White Hall on UW Campus, 12 stories, 200 feet).
- The monetization of land by a few will greatly impact and risk the entire area.
REALITIES OF WIND PROJECT?
- Are turbines shut off if wind is too strong? If this is true, why would we blight this land for periods of inactivity? How are wind turbines affected by gusting winds vs steady winds?
- Where else in the United States, on land, are 6 MW turbines in use? If this is a test case for moving offshore turbines onto land there should be extreme caution. Risks to the area are increased by the size of these turbines.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONSTRUCTION PHASE IMPACTS
- Road Impacts – County Roads of Hermosa Road and Cherokee Park Road will be improved – but there’s been no clarity how. Current county gravel roads are not adequate for moving this volume and size and weight of materials for construction of this project, what changes will be done? Will it be widened? Resurfaced? Paved? Who will be responsible for this, county or ConnectGen Albany County LLC?
- Access impacts for local residents?
- Emergency vehicle access?
- Maintenance of roads?
- Dust mitigation chemicals impact on residents’ vehicles? Compensation for degradation?
- Access to US Hwy 287?
- Worker vehicles will impact traffic and subject entire area to concerns.
- Where will workers park?
- In after work hours will workers be exploring our rural roads, trespassing on private property and potentially littering our landscape?
- Will workers be allowed to occupy nearby recreational camp sites? This will impact availability of campsites for local permanent residents to utilize for recreation. It could also affect those campsites with litter and impact of constant use.
- Consideration should be given to bussing the workers to the jobsite to reduce these impacts to surrounding areas.
- Will temporary man camps be set up? If so, where. What environmental degradation will occur from such temporary camps.
- What additional infrastructure resources will be made available in this area of impact? Will fire and EMT resources be expanded? Either temporarily or permanently?
- Would you specify the amount of raw material by weight that will be included in this project? Published data suggests each 3mw turbine uses 1550 TONS of material…and we’re discussing 6mw turbines. Please specify how much of this material is NOT able to be recycled.
- The Carbon Footprint of a project of this size is a disproportional impact on this area. What are the calculated offsets needed for such impact?
- Decommissioning is an escalating challenge as landfills are unable to manage disposal of non-recyclable turbine blades and other waste from these projects. Concrete that stretches 16 feet into the ground will permanently affect the area.