Wind Farms Have Forever Changed My Life

I would like to tell you a story about the nightmares two electrical production plants have caused.  

I lived in my first home, an 8-acre parcel in Calumet, Oklahoma, for more than 38 years, until the misery of living by the Canadian Hills Wind Farm forced us out. We attempted to begin a new life in a new home, only to be followed by a new wind farm.

Here is our story from the beginning.

Apex Wind Energy Holdings, LLC began long ago trying to persuade landowners the Canadian Hills Wind Farms would be good for them.  When convincing didn’t work, they would threaten eminent domain (taking private property for public use).  

I began my research and learned from the Corporation Commission that while they couldn’t force eminent domain, there is no oversight or regulatory commission in the State of Oklahoma on the wind industry! Our local county commissioner couldn’t provide any detail about planned turbines. All he could provide was a map that Apex submitted to the FAA showing wind turbines would be two miles north of us.  

No one from Apex bothered to contact us.  When we discovered that a turbine location was staked 673 feet from our property, we attempted to establish communication with Apex personnel in Tulsa and Charlottesville, Virginia.  We received no response.  Our only recourse was to contest the placement of that turbine through Apex’s legal department in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Our attorney was successful in getting that one turbine moved 1,460 feet from our home. In fact, Apex’s safety standards for employees states that a turbine has to be turned off remotely when they are within 1,400 feet of a turbine.  But apparently, it’s fine for everyone else to live and work right by the turbines.  When the wind farm construction was completed, there were 5 turbines within 1,460 to 2,000 feet southwest to southeast and 6 turbines 2,600 to 5,280 feet northwest to northeast of our home.  We were literally surrounded!

These 11 turbines changed our life in ways we could have never imagined.  The low frequency sound at night disturbs our sleep.  The first time I was aware that we would have to deal with flicker was when I was awakened by a shadow crossing my face every couple of seconds on the first morning the turbines were activated. We experienced this flicker about seven months out of the year, five to 20 minutes in the mornings and evenings.  The flicker turned formerly pleasant sunrises and sunsets into nausea-filled bouts of vertigo. The audible noise from the turbines made our outdoor activities tense and uncomfortable.

The wind turbines adversely affected my husband’s heart condition, Supra Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT). He experienced weekly SVT attacks when we lived near the Canadian Hills Wind farm.  Since we moved 8 months ago, Rick has only experienced one minor attack.

We live in a rural area so that we can enjoy our horses, which are both our livelihood and hobby.  My husband is a farrier, and his business was adjacent to our home.  We showed Quarter Horses and the practice arena was on the south side of the property closest to the wind turbines. The giant moving structures and shadow flicker constantly spooked our horses, which was both dangerous and affected their training and show performance.

After four years of living unhappily in our home, the only thing left to do was move. It took three years to find the right land, a year to sell our home and we were forced to sell under its appraised value.  Who wants to live near that mess?  

Three months after purchasing our new land, NextEra announced plans to build a wind farm near us.  From what we can tell, turbines could be located one-half to two miles from our home.  The proposed farm, called Minco IV and V, is an extension of the Minco project in Hinton that goes along the historic California Trail established in 1843.  They have already built on the trail and near campsites, and we’ve heard it might extend all the way to Weatherford.  That would nearly cover the entire western half of Oklahoma.  Can you imagine?

In addition to the personal pain these wind farms caused, I remain concerned about our community. Tornados are a concern in our area. In my 38 years of living in Calumet, we experience about 1 tornado every 8 years.  What happens when the next one hits a wind farm near homes? Will it be like the El Reno tornado where the turbine blade smashed into the early childhood center at the Canadian Valley Tech Center? What if children are in the classroom next time? What kind of damage to life and property could have occurred if the Canadian Hills Wind Farm had been in operation during the EF5 tornado that struck southwest of Calumet on its way to Piedmont? I can’t fathom why Oklahoma allows wind turbines to be built near populated areas. They continue to plan and build these monstrous industrial power installations all over Oklahoma with little regulation or oversight.

It’s time that we stop suffering the effects of this industry.  Landowners who choose not to sign leases have no recourse when their neighbors sign leases and put turbines right by them.  My experience with these wind companies is that they harass non-participating landowners and intimidate the elderly.  

Please help us spread the word so that we can protect Oklahomans.  Consider contacting your lawmakers and sharing your story. There is no relief in sight if Oklahoma continues to ignore these practices.

Tammy Huffstutlar