LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted April 24, 2019
I would like to propose a ‘what if’ scenario to our community. You wake up to rain one morning. The sky looks dark and storms are predicted to last all day. You drop your kids at school and head to work out of town. A little later that morning you hear a severe storm is headed toward DeWitt County. Specifically, the city of Clinton. The National Weather Service and spotters are watching for tornados in the area. You think of your kids, one at Clinton High School, one at the Clinton Junior High and the other at Clinton Elementary. Three schools within a 3-block area. You make sure your phone is set to go off with weather alerts, so you can keep track of the situation.
You are an administrator, principal, teacher at one of the schools in Clinton. You are aware of the impending severe storm. You remain vigilant to weather updates as you need to have time to get the children in your care to safety. You hear that a tornado watch has just been issued so you plan accordingly. A few minutes later someone comes running down the school hall saying a tornado has touched down. You now have seconds, along with all the other school staff to get the children to safety.
Now you hear the sirens, that should have gone off minutes ago, start to sound.
You are a child at one of the schools in the middle of one of your classes. Your teacher is telling your class to calmly but quickly move to your ‘shelter in place’ and that you must go now. You can tell that they are very worried, and you start to get scared. You hear the wind and noise outside the building and someone says there is a tornado. You wonder why the sirens didn’t go off.
You are the parent at work monitoring the weather situation in Clinton. Suddenly on the news you hear a tornado has touched down near Rt 54 and Rt 51. Right by the schools. Due to interference by wind turbines the rotation was not spotted in time and the sirens went off too late. Your heart sinks – did our school staff, teachers, kids – all our loved ones – have time to get to safety?
Later that night on the news people in other counties hear about a tornado touching down in Clinton with no warning due to turbines that were allowed to be placed in the mitigation zone for the National Weather Service in Lincoln. They look at each other and say, “what were they thinking when they allowed that to happen.”
The residents of DeWitt County are now aware that we have a wind developer wanting to establish multiple wind farms in our area. Some residents are opposed for safety and quality of life reasons. Some residents are for the development because they have been told it will bring money to the schools and leaseholders. No matter your position I am confident we can all agree that the scenario above is something we never want to have happen. And to those who say it would not occur, “never” happens every day somewhere in the world.
A wind developer who would redact information from the SUP regarding the weather information should not be allowed to do business in our county. A wind developer who failed to do the initial siting study properly and failed to note 23 of the proposed turbines are in the mitigation zone for the NWS radar should not be allowed to do business in our county. A wind developer who wants to move forward with a project knowing full well the danger it poses to our residents should not be allowed to do business in our county. To me, this last fact alone, speaks to the makeup of this company.
I am confident that our county board, made up of our friends and neighbors, who are intelligent and caring DeWitt County residents, would never compromise the safety of even one child for financial benefit.