Is this Hell? No, It’s Iowa

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Massive concrete wind turbine base
Massive concrete wind turbine base near New Hampton

Driving towards the Chickasaw County Wind Energy construction site between New Hampton and Alta Vista in Iowa, one could be forgiven for thinking they might have passed through some kind of invisible portal and ended up on the surface of another planet. After all, the landscape here resembles a photograph taken by one of NASA’s Mars rovers far more than it does the fertile agricultural land of Iowa.

But such is the devastation of wind turbine construction. Land that was once covered in rows and rows of corn as tall as a man, or rich with acres upon acres of green soybeans, is now covered in desert-like terrain, dune-like hills of sand, and craters that look like the surface of a planet bombarded with meteorites. Indeed, this photo, shows the destruction caused by installing the base for just one turbine. Before this is all over, there will be 66 of these bomb-like craters perforating the ground in Chickasaw County. And that’s assuming that the size of the project doesn’t grow beyond its stated 66 turbines. We know from experience that this is usually not the case. Like parasites, wind farm projects tend to multiply well beyond their initial planned size once they have a foot in the door.

Also dotting the fields are enormous spools of heavy orange cable, which connect the wind turbines together and serve as the feeder lines. These all have to be buried, of course.

Not only do wind turbine construction sites destroy the agricultural fields, but they also destroy the roads. For example, as shown in this photo, many roads require massive changes to their intersections in order to accommodate some of the equipment needed for wind turbine construction. Some of them also need to be widened substantially, and in some areas, massive turnarounds need to be installed for the oversized semi-trailers that carry the turbine blades.
Road changes caused by wind turbine construction
Road changes caused by wind turbine construction.

While driving down one of the gravel country roads, we came across a massive job site. My first thought was that it was a permanent company because of its shear size and the amount of large equipment. But permanent companies don’t usually have what appears to be temporary housing for crews. There was a Blattner Energy trailer on site. Blattner is a construction company headquartered in Minnesota and employs their own full crews. They specialize in wind and solar. One has to assume that they bring their construction crews with them to a job site and they stay in the temporary housing provided, not in local hotels.

Apparent housing
Apparent temporary housing at New Hampton wind construction site.
How long will it take the land to recover from this damage? The massive amount of topsoil destroyed will never recover. Fixing the drainage tile will be a nightmare. Allowing these wind turbines to be sited on good agricultural land is a decision that will change the face of Buchanan County forever. This is why we must keep the CSR at 55, and we must oppose this project.
Large substation near New Hampton
Large substation for wind turbines near New Hampton.
You can click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger version of the photo at Flickr.

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We moved to Buchanan County a number of years ago with the hope that this would be our last move. Our plan was to retire in a beautiful, peaceful area rich in natural parks and wildlife and where we could enjoy our dogs and horses while simply growing old. Buchanan County was just about perfect. We are in our 70’s now and never anticipated that we would actually be spending this part of our lives fighting to keep the land of this county safe from a commercial company that wants to force their way in and destroy a way of life we have worked over 50 years to achieve.

17 thoughts on “Is this Hell? No, It’s Iowa

  1. If you want to see the lunacy of all this green energy, watch Michael Moore’s documentary called The Planet of the Humans. It is an eye opener about how we are actually killing the planet by putting in green energy.

  2. You got to be kidding me! What a BS article . If you don’t like it go buy some land. Otherwise, let the farmers decide what they want to do with their land. The employees don’t live in the yard. They live in the towns in hotels, trailer parks, houses and apartments. Why don’t you go talk to the local community and actually see how much hotel business and local business they support. Better yet stop at the construction office and get an education. Fixing drainage tile and reclaiming topsoil are just simple processes that happen all the time. The revenue the farmers get will help as a supplement in years where crops fail due to poor weather or storms.

    1. Hi Tim,

      You must be an employee of the construction company if you have that much knowledge of the site. That’s great. If, indeed, the many trailers that were on site were not for workers, I apologize for making the assumption. I would, however, ask why there were so many trailers on the site. They certainly couldn’t all be offices. Even so, we’ve been told over and over how quickly the project goes up. It’s short term.

      But, that being said, I’d like to be clear. Our beef is not with the company doing the construction. Construction workers work hard and earn every dime they make. They are putting in turbines the only way they can. Our problem is with the companies that come in and attempt to force a county to accept a project they do not want. The soil in this county is some of the best in the country, and our county has rules in place to protect it. The county also has an obligation to protect the land that surrounds the land on which farmers have decided to place turbines. You understand that the restrictions in place flow over to that surrounding land, right? It is never ok when the right you decide to exercise takes away the rights of the people around you. You’ll also notice that Buchanan County is not a desolate, sparsely populated area. That’s the kind of location turbines were placed on in the beginning because turbines are not perfect. Now it seems they are running out of room and have decided to infringe upon other farmers’ land, homes and towns. I do hope you’ve had a chance to read about the New York farmer whose livelihood is in jeopardy because of turbines on another’s land. If you haven’t, please check out the article Four Months Later, New York Hay Farm is Still Unusable. As much as what happened is not this farmer’s fault in any way, I would be forever afraid to buy hay from those fields to feed to my animals. I’m quite sure many, if not all, of his buyers are searching for another source, as is he, himself.

      I do have a couple of questions: Do you actually fix all of those drainage tiles? You must have to go around a lot of cement. Also, I’m still unclear how you reclaim topsoil. We didn’t see any piles of topsoil anywhere. Do you bring in new black dirt? As I said, Buchanan County has incredibly fertile soil. I’m curious how it’s reclaimed, if it’s the same quality, and how deep the reclaimed soil goes. If you can answer these questions, I’d be grateful, as no one else has.

      Thanks for responding!

    2. Well, first of all, farmers have crop insurance that is subsidized by the USDA. So the claim that wind turbines are needed to supplement farmer income in years where crops fail is a nonstarter. Farmers already get reimbursed for crop losses caused by storms or unexpectedly low market value.

      Second, nuisance law is a very well established part of our legal system. Farmers are free to do what they want with their own land within reason as long as it does not cause undue disturbance to their neighbors. As an analogy, if you lived on a piece of land, and I lived next to you, would you be okay with me opening an all night outdoor heavy metal venue 1,200 feet from your house? Or opening an outdoor 24-hour shooting range 1,200 feet from your house?

      A civilized society clearly has to place some limits on what people can do with their own property if it is going to adversely affect their neighbors. This is a legal precedent that dates back to before the birth of Jesus since even Rome recognized this.

      Finally, most people can’t afford to buy 1,000+ acres of land to avoid having wind turbines butting up against their property. I can’t, and I doubt you can either. Basic human rights are not, and should not be based on whether you have enough money to buy enough land to completely isolate yourself from your neighbors out of fear of what they might do with their land 10 years down the road.

    3. Tim- Not kidding. No BS. So if some wind developer places wind turbines next to my property line, my home, my animals; I should just up and move and buy some land elsewhere. Wow, that sounds so simple. No, you have to be kidding me. What that farmer does with his land does have some limitations as to how it affects his neighbors. You implied that the employees must be coming from out of state. So when the job is finished in a few months, they will be moving on. Any locals, if hired, will also be done in a few months. Nothing exactly permanent there. If it weren’t for the billions of dollars of government subsidies (our taxpayer dollars), the wind developers wouldn’t even try. Just ask Warren Buffet. Jubilee Wind for Buchanan County will be the same thing all over again.

  3. WOW! Drama much? I must say you do have a flair for it. You should probably get a view point of someone who has allowed the company to put a turbine on their property. I can only imagine that they are well compensated for their lands and the crops that were disrupted. Have you ever asked what becomes of all the road expansions when the project is finished?
    Have you asked the local motels in the community about their revenue?
    Have you asked local retailers if there has been an increase in their sales?
    Is there a recovery system in place for re establishing the topsoil?
    One would think that a company that has been in business this long has a good system in place for all the points you so dramatically stated.
    There are always 2 sides to every scenario.

    1. Hi Dawn — I had no intention of being dramatic. I did intend, however, to be completely honest. We saw many road expansions and creations that take up valuable farmland that helps feed and fuel our country. A great deal of that land will never be the same or will forever stay a road into the fields — to each and every turbine. The motels? The site we visited had their own trailers brought in for workers to stay. Motels won’t be getting much business from that. And even if a few companies fill up a few motel rooms, it’s for an extremely finite time. The next year, motels in the area will be exactly the same as they’ve always been. And we’ve talked with a few local retailers. They don’t want the turbines either. Realtors have told us that fewer homes will be built or purchased in the area directly because of the turbines proposed here. One realty company was told explicitly by a buyer that they would not even look in Buchanan County because of the possibility of turbines being built. That filters down to less homes being built, lumber yards selling less, hardware stores selling less, banks writing less mortgages and loans. Who is going to be buying more at the retail stores? The few farmers who have a bit of extra money because of the turbines on their farms? The workers who are here for a few months to work on the project and then go home? How do you re-establish topsoil? We didn’t see any mounds of topsoil waiting to be put back down. We just saw mounds of sand and clay alongside the acres of sand and clay that made the once fertile land resemble a moonscape. And, don’t forget that this company makes a habit of suing counties that do not want their presence. They force their way in, thus keeping themselves in business and continuing to rack up billions of dollars in government subsidies that come out of yours and our taxes. That’s the only way they can stay in business. Also, there are restrictions put on lands that are near the wind turbines. Is that fair in your eyes? Is it fair in your eyes to have NextEra or any other company bully their way into counties that simply do not want wind turbines? Or solar panels? You have to remember that we, too , have worked very, very hard to get where we are in life. We have just as many rights as others to enjoy the property we worked so hard to obtain and maintain. The farmers who have signed contracts with NextEra may be well compensated for their lands, but that does not give them the right to take away the rights of others. Perhaps you have a vested interest in fighting this battle. Have you signed a contract with NextEra?

    2. We actually have gotten opinions from a lot of people who have allowed turbines on their land, including some who allowed it and now wish they had not done so, but cannot get them removed because they are locked into 30 year contracts they can’t get out of.

        1. 90 years?! Well, I hope their children, grandchildren and beyond are good with that decision! Pretty much screws the surrounding farms, though. I hope you get a chance to read the latest article, “Study: WindFarms Significantly Reduce Soil Moisture”. By the time those 90 years are up, there may not be much to leave that next generation. Dried up fields aren’t worth a whole lot, and they don’t produce much either. Thanks for that bit of insight, Phillip, and for taking the time to share it!

        2. Philip – I knew there were clauses where the contract could be extended, but had no idea it could go on and on and on. It’s bad enough the original farmer gets locked in for 30 years where he/she has basically given up control of the land to the wind developer. With these extensions, the loss of control for the land gets passed on to the children and the grandchildren. And by the way, now if the farmer has regrets, he/she can’t expound that to the public because he/she is also under a gag order to keep his/her mouth shut. What a sad sacrifice to make for a “green” deal.

    3. Hey Dawn perhaps you should read about three Wisconsin farmers who have regrets for entering into leases with wind developers. See for yourself by checking out the link below.

      Or maybe you would like to see some pictures shown in the link below showing how the land is chopped up and how much land is lost for farming. How about some pictures that show homes that are impacted by wind turbines, which will result in property values dropping, and in some cases making them unsalable.

      Here are two stories of the adverse effects of wind turbines shown in the following link.

  4. What a great article Bonnie!!!! But it also makes me sad and depressed. I feel ashamed to admit I never gave a second thought to wind farms until its coming to our county. My heart just aches for all these people in Iowa who are dealing with this invasion of their health and welfare and the land!!

    1. I know how you feel. I felt the same way, as I think most people in not just America, but all over the world feel. Most people, including me, never gave any serious thought to how much destruction industrial wind turbines actually cause to local communities until they find themselves in the situation we are in now. All of us bought into the “green energy, saving the planet” propaganda that has been promoted by both the wind energy companies and the government. It’s only after they want to put them in our back yards that we start seriously looking into it and find out just how much of a scam wind energy is, and how many lies we have been told about it. And it’s not just an American scam. It’s a worldwide scam.

      1. Unfortunately the “green energy, saving the planet” propaganda is a big part of a much bigger plan. It has been planned for decades and officialy started being implemented onto the public in 2020 with Covid. They have changed the name of it to The Great Reset , you can look up Klaus Schwab and The World Economic Forum. Several books have been written about it and countless videos and commentaries in alternative media. All the systems of the world are working towards it.
        Also unfortunately wind farms and solar are a big part of it and Iowa is a big target. Just look at the MISO grid queue for our state and the proposed projects being planned and currently built. When you combine that with the wind farms THAT WE ALREADY HAVE (Iowa is #2 in the nation) it is just very disheartening.

        I for one have never bought into any of it. Not BIG Pharma, BIG Ag, BIG Food, BIG Entertainment, or BIG Energy. I am for small communities working together to provide a healthy fulfilling life.

    2. Thank you, Kathie, for your comments. And, you’re right — most of us never thought much about wind turbines until they started encroaching on our farms, our land and our homes. We now have no choice but to take notice and spend our time researching, asking questions and becoming horrified by the answers. Like Mike said, we bought into the green energy, save the planet propaganda because big companies and government sold us a lie. Now we need to stand our ground and fight for a better, safer way. Giant turbines are not the answer.

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