- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

SARGEANT, Minn. (AP) - A couple in southeastern Minnesota say wind turbines next to their 10-acre property are disrupting their lives as well as their scene view.

In addition to the noise of the turbines, Kathy and Dan Blanchard believe the windmills are disrupting their television signals.

The Blanchards live just outside Sargeant Township in Mower County. There are about 10 wind turbines near their property.

“I’m all for wind energy,” Kathy Blanchard told the Post-Bulletin (http://bit.ly/1kiY8Bo ), “but we had to make some changes. Plus, there’s no compensation to us. Not many people are happy, especially residents underneath these windmills … much of the farmland is owned by people who don’t live here anymore.”

The Pleasant Valley Wind Farm project, led by Renewable Energy Systems America, has added a substation near the couple’s home. Kathy Blanchard says original environmental assessments indicated the couple’s property would be 1,200 feet away from the substation. But two weeks after that initial assessment was submitted, she says the substation location was changed to 950 feet away.

“They were to build on a parcel of 2.5 acres, but they have junction boxes (and) vegetative barriers all around the substation, and we believe that footprint is 5 acres. Now, I got a substation next to me,” Kathy Blanchard said.

An environmental study and a conditional-use permit issued for 2.5 acres that was approved in 2013 stated that one of the mandated requirements for the project would be the building of a vegetative barrier and junction box surrounding the substation to help mitigate noise and other disruptions for nearby residences.

To meet state noise standards, the substation should be more than 1,700 feet away. Trees were planted to block the view of the substation as well as soften the noise. However, Blanchard was not satisfied.

“I’m 63 years old,” she said. “That’s going to take a heck of a lot of time to block that view, and I might not even be here by then.”

A company representative acknowledged in an email that the information regarding the conditional-use permit is correct, but that “the project is in compliance with what was permitted.”

However, Blanchard said the substation’s fence that faces west is about 950 feet from her residence and not the 1,200 feet that was previously reported in the environmental assessment. During Tuesday’s Mower County board meeting, Blanchard requested that the county look over the interpretation of the conditional-use permit.

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Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com

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