Local Impacts on Health and Spirit

Our Story

We have concerns over the end results of the Highland Wind Farm. Forest has spent more than half-a-million dollars fighting the project at the Public Service Commission. Please sign our petition to raise awareness about the negative consequences of wind turbines and help Forest in its fight to protect its residents.

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The Forest, Wisconsin Journey

Do you remember the story Horton Hears a Who? In the classic by Dr. Seuss, Horton the Elephant hears a small speck of dust talking to him. He later discovers the speck is home to a community called Whoville. The Mayor of Whoville asks Horton to protect them from harm, which Horton happily agrees to, proclaiming throughout the book that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

That story can be compared similarly to what the tiny farming town of Forest has been battling for more than a decade. The town in St. Croix County has only 600 people. The $250 Million dollar project would lead to 44, nearly 500 ft. wind turbines in the Forest area.

In a back and forth that has lasted more than 10 years the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved the plan. The Wisconsin State Court of Appeals and the State Supreme Court have denied Forest’s appeals. Now Forest is considering asking the PSC for a rehearing due to new evidence of the negative impacts of wind turbines. To learn more details on our legal and regulatory history, please review the Highland Wind Project – Town of Forest Timeline (provided by a Forest resident).

Impacts of the Proposed Turbines

Below you will find testimonials from Forest residents on why they are against the turbines. We sent them all the same questionnaire and this is their direct responses, unchanged on how they feel about the project. This page will be frequently updated with more testimonials.

Schmidt Family Farmers

Q: How long have you lived Forest?
A: We have lived on our 167-acre farm for 50 years.

Q: Why don’t you want the wind turbines in your area?
A: We do not want an industrial wind farm in the township of Forest. We chose this quiet rural farming community to raise our family, spend the rest of our lives on the farm and possibly hand down the farm to our children someday. We do not want our home surrounded on every side by 500 ft. tall turbines casting shadow flicker all over our property with endless howling day and night. With lights blinking endlessly every night. Infrasound penetrating the home we sleep in. We are worried about stray voltage. Now that we are older, we already have certain health problems that may become worse. The Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin has been declared a human health hazard with only eight turbines. We can not imagine how 44+ industrial turbines will affect the residents of Forest township. We told the wind company we don’t want turbines casting shadow flicker all over our property and they replied that we could plant trees or install room-darkening shades on all of our windows. This is not how we envisioned country living. We have no doubt that our property value will plummet if we are surrounded by turbines. Buyers will choose other areas.

Q: How do you think the turbines would negatively impact your family/home/farm?
A: We don’t have to think about it we know it will negatively impact every moment of our lives going forward if they build the wind farm in Forest. Health at our age is huge. We should not have to be exposed to excessive noise, shadow flicker, infrasound, and stray voltage. We love farming and country life that is why we stayed on the farm for 50 years. If a wind farm is built here, everything will forever be changed. It will no longer be the place to come for big family get togethers. If we get stray voltage our animals could die. It will be no fun working the farm fields with shadow flicker all over our land. I think all the big equipment coming into our community will ruin our roads.

Q: What do you say to the people who don’t believe the turbines are dangerous?
A: The residents of Forest have done their research on industrial wind farms. They are dangerous to humans, livestock, birds, and bats. Every site you look at where a wind farm has been built, the people living near the turbines are suffering health effects, they can’t sleep from all the noise, and the shadow flicker is horrendous. Dairy herds are suffering. All the blasting before install may affect the water table. Turbines do not belong close to residences.

Miller Family Farmers

Q: How long have you lived in Forest?
A: My husband was born and raised in Forest on the home farm for which we currently live on. I have lived on the farm for 12 years now.  Our children are ages 8, 6 and 4.

Q: Why don’t you want the wind turbines in your area?
A: We are not in favor of the wind turbines coming to our area because of the negative effects we have researched that come along with them.  I personally have a seizure disorder and my husband has vertigo issues.

Q: How do you think the turbines would negatively impact your family?
A: We love being able to enjoy ALL of our property. That will be taken away if they (the turbines) go up because you have to stay so far away from the turbines. There is a proposed turbine directly north of our property. We would not feel safe letting our kids go anywhere close to the area where the turbines could throw pieces if they came off.

We love our quiet, beautiful township and live here because of the beautiful land and it makes us sick to think that could get taken away.

We believe the turbines will negatively affect our family, especially our young children. I worry about the noise level and low frequency sounds they produce especially at night.  Our children need to be able to concentrate on homework and need a full night sleep with little to no disruptions to be able to thrive as young children.

I also worry about how it may affect my seizure disorder, which is currently under control with medication.  My husband’s vertigo can also be negatively affected by the shadow flicker and low frequency sound waves.

Our country farm will not be the same beautiful country it is if these monster turbines are allowed in. It is not what we pictured when we imagined growing old on the farm, especially if our health issues force us to leave at any point.  The cost of that would be unbearable and the stress it would cause on our family would be devastating.

Q: What do you say to the people who don’t believe the turbines are dangerous?
A. When people tell us that they are not dangerous we ask them if they have ever been to a wind farm of this capacity with as many people living within it as we do.  We ask them if they realize how tall and massive these would be and ask them to picture them in their backyard.  We explain the low frequency noise, shadow flicker, destroying good farmland around them, bird deaths, stray voltage, not being able to build or use a certain area of our land because of where it’s built.


Salseg Family

Q: How long have you lived in Forest?
A: The dairy farm my parents owned in the Town of Forest has been in the family for generations. It was originally homesteaded by my great-grandparents. I grew up on the family farm respecting the heritage and history of the land. I learned how to milk cows, helped deliver calves, and did other chores necessary to run the farm. My fondest memories of living on the farm are of my pet cows, dogs, barn cats, the fireflies in summer and the beautiful star-filled night skies. But after graduating from high school, like so many young people do, I decided to move to the big city. I lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for about 20 years, where I met and married my husband Bob. We decided we wanted to start our family in a peaceful, rural area instead of in the bustle of a noisy big city. My parents offered us 40 acres on the family farm, so we moved back to Forest in 1998, and built the house in which we currently live. We made our home in Forest and have lived here for 21 years. The old adage of “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl” rings true.

Photo of the Salseg FamilyQ: Why don’t you want the wind turbines in your area?
A: Like all the residents in Forest, I received the infamous postcard around Labor Day 2010 announcing a tour of the Shirley Wind farm in Glenmore, Wisconsin. At first, I thought the postcard was junk mail. I remember looking at it several times and kept re-reading the caption “Would you like to tour the ‘Shirley Project.’ The same wind turbines that are coming to Forest…” I started researching Shirley Wind, which led to the wind projects in Kewaunee County, Fond du Lac County, and Dodge County, Wisconsin. I was stunned. The size and scope of industrial-scale wind turbines are nothing like the popular image of days-gone-by rustic farmyard windmills. The sight of huge wind turbines, with nacelles the size of a Greyhound bus, overshadowing and surrounding rural properties was not only disturbing, but it was also alarming. The worst knowledge was yet to come. Over several days, I learned about people living around these wind projects; reports and complaints of sleep deprivation, ear pain and pressure, vertigo, headaches, and heart palpitations. The accounts of these wind victims were heartbreaking. Families were abandoning their homes. Worse yet, the symptoms of physical distress among persons living in wind projects were common throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia.

There are times in everyone’s life when one realizes that the truth cannot be denied. Any cause for which I take a stand, I need to feel confident in my beliefs. I realized the proposed Highland Wind project would devastate our rural community. I heard about the Enz family in Shirley, Wisconsin, who had moved out of their home due to illness they link to the Shirley wind turbines. So, in April of 2011, my husband and I contacted Dave Enz, and we were invited to visit their abandoned home without their presence. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was the silence. No birdsong or insect noise. It was a breezy, cool spring day, and, in fact, we did not detect much turbine noise. Within 10 minutes of visiting at the Enz home, however, my husband, Bob, and I could feel the wind turbines. I experienced a pressure similar to a sinus headache and my ears popped similar to ascending or descending in an airplane. As Bob videotaped the area, he felt waves of dizziness, a very unusual occurrence for him. Based on a 30-minute visit, there was no question in our minds that fighting for Forest was not an option, it was an obligation. I believe that if the Highland Wind project proceeds to construction and becomes operational, it will negatively affect the health, safety, and welfare of Forest residents and our rural environment, just as the Shirley project has done to so many residents living by the eight turbines in Glenmore. As stated by acousticians Hessler and Schomer in A Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County, Wisconsin, “In this specific case, it seems justified to the two firms to be conservative (one more than the other) to avoid a duplicate project to Shirley at Highland because there is no technical reason to believe the community response would be different.”

Q: How do you think the turbines would negatively impact your family?
A: Because of my susceptibility to motion sickness and my exposure at the Enz home in the Shirley project, I believe I will suffer the same illnesses other wind project victims have experienced, specifically from the effects of noise and infrasound. Sleep deprivation alone is a cruel byproduct of industrial-scale wind turbines, and most so-called “studies” admit wind turbines will “annoy some neighbors”‘ due to the mechanical noise. Our constitutional right to the peaceful enjoyment of our property will be taken. Bob and I have worked hard all our lives for what we have invested in our home and acreage. We are respectful stewards of the natural environment, preserving woodland and wetlands while raising pheasants to release into the wild. We support farming by renting our cropland to a local farmer. I have no doubt if our 40 acres are surrounded by wind turbines, our property value will be ruined, as well as that of our neighbors, and the natural rural agricultural environment we have worked so hard to protect will be lost to an industrial wind energy zone.

Q: What do you say to the people who don’t believe the turbines are dangerous?
A: The most compelling truth I can tell is my experience in the Enz home at Shirley Wind. The effects I felt lasted for about half an hour after leaving the Shirley area. 30 minutes of exposure and symptoms; 30 minutes to recover. Even if people choose to ignore or ridicule the sickness that turbines cause persons that live in wind projects, do they have no compassion for the destruction to eagles, birds, and bats? All the propaganda and spin the wind industry pours on the public still does not negate that wind energy is inefficient, parasitic, a tax-subsidy and ratepayer sustained form of minimal net electrical energy generation that must be backed up by conventional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants. These monster turbines are not your grandparent’s windmills. What do we gain by trying to save the planet with wind energy only to destroy the environment?

Those are just a few of the many stories from the residents of Forest Wisconsin. They need your help.
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Get the Big Picture

Many Americans think wind energy is cheap and eco-friendly. But that’s because few are ever exposed to the real human, animal, scenic and environmental costs.

An article in May 2019 titled Costly Wind Power Menaces Man and Nature, written by the director of the International Climate Science Coalition, has great information on the big picture related to the dangerous impacts of wind energy.

Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health:

A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks

“What is needed among the scientific community, local and national governmental agencies, and political leaders, is honest discourse about methods for reducing carbon emissions in ways that do not turn some rural communities into sacrifice zones.”

Punch & James, Wind turbine noise and human health