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LETTER: The Truth about the Highland Wind Farm Proposal

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opinion New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

To the Editor:

We at Highland Wind Farm LLC are proud of our work the past three years in the towns of Forest and Cylon and we've made a lot of friends during the process. We've also made some vocal critics. Despite what the critics might say we firmly and respectfully believe that the significant benefits of building a wind farm in the Town of Forest far outweigh the costs.

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We have been working diligently with the staff at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to complete our application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project. Ultimately it is the Commission who will determine whether the economic, social and environmental benefits of the project are delivered as promised. The Commission's approval process is thorough and rigorous. Key to that process is community involvement and input. The current Town of Forest leadership has already indicated it will be "intervening" in the process. We encourage theirs and anyone else's involvement and hope it ultimately improves the final project.

Given all the rhetoric and misleading information swirling around the township, the Town Board's position is somewhat understandable. But, this is a time for cooler heads, rational decision making and a complete understanding of the benefits of a project like this.

Leaving aside the larger social, environmental and health benefits of introducing more renewable, clean energy into our lives, there are also direct economic benefits for St. Croix County and the Towns of Forest and Cylon. During these economically challenging times both the county and Town of Forest will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, along with specific payments to the township of Cylon for hosting the substation.

This is all money that will circulate in your community, in your businesses, taverns and shops and will have a direct economic impact in the county.

We understand that passions are riding high for some and we've heard concerns that range from legitimate (impacts on bird migration and local roads) to the absurd (unfamiliar vehicles driving slow and intimidating residents). We firmly believe that in spite of the recent turnover in the Town of Forest leadership, there is significant support for this project by residents who, frankly, may feel they have been cowed into silence.

It is time to move forward, rationally discuss the benefits of the Highland Wind Farm and appreciate that there can be differing opinions about the future direction of a rural community. We will continue to reach out to our supporters and detractors in an effort to deliver the benefits that this project entails. And finally, we encourage all to participate in the approval process at the Commission when the time comes.

Jay Mundinger, spokesperson

Highland Wind Farm LLC

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