July 16, 2009

Only nonrestrictive restrictions OK in Wisconsin?

Note (July 22):  After a read of the ruling itself (available here), it is clear that the AP report was taken from an industry spin release. The ruling, it is a relief to learn, preserves the local right to preserve or protect the public health or safety. It is only in restricting wind energy systems for other reasons that it can't decrease the system's efficiency:
We also read the statutes to disfavor wholesale local control which circumvents this policy. Instead, localities may restrict a wind energy system only where necessary to preserve or protect the public health or safety, or where the restriction does not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency, or where the locality allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency.

As reported by the AP, July 16:
Local governments [in Wisconsin] cannot pass broad rules dictating how far wind turbines must be from other buildings, how tall they can be or how much noise they can produce, the Waukesha-based District 2 Court of Appeals ruled.

Instead, municipalities must consider each project on a case-by-case basis and only restrict them to protect public health or in a way that does not affect a system’s cost or efficiency, the court said.

The decision struck down a Calumet County ordinance that set height, noise and setback requirements for turbines, but lawyers said its impact would be felt statewide.
What are rules about height, setbacks, and noise, if not to protect public health?!

And what is the restriction to limit rules to those that do not affect a system's cost or efficiency, but a bald-faced mockery of government and the rights of citizens?

This court is saying that state law allowing local goverments to make rules to protect public health and safety does not allow them to actually make such rules, that local governments must restrict any project separately, but not at all if it actually restricts the project.

Words fail in expressing one's outraged reaction to such craven venality.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights, human rights