Some Republicans want to encourage green energy, but other Republicans continue to do the bidding of the fossil-fuel industry by trying to throw spokes into wind turbines. The latest caveman attack comes from House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, whose House Bill 1226 would triple how far back wind turbines must be set from adjoining property.
Current law sets a default setback of 500 feet or 1.1 times the height of the tower, whichever is greater. HB 1226 would inflate the setback to 1,500 feet or three times the tower height, whichever is greater. (The Prevailing Wind project near Avon will have turbines 586 feet tall.)
Empirical data show that ice throw, one danger attributed to wind turbines, happens mostly under the blades, and the maximum distance that wind turbines may throw ice is 1.5 times the hub height plus rotor diameter. Research has not shown any other human health impacts from wind turbines.
1,500 feet for a wind turbine posing minimal ice risk and zero health risk is absurd compared to counties like Yankton that allow applying manure to open fields within 1,000 feet of drinking water supplies and residences. But leave it to Republican legislators to think renewable energy is a greater threat to South Dakotans than cow poop.