February 23, 2024

LETTER: The rest of the story

Chad Ide

Creston

This letter is in response to the front page article highlighting Elliot Meyer’s presentation to the Union County Board of Supervisors regarding renewable energy on Jan 31.

In the article, his vague survey data was shared, but Meyer failed to provide any survey data on wind turbine setback distances. Meyer’s survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in Virginia. Their website boasts, “our research is focused on producing data that compels decisions – to get results.” Definition of compel is “to cause to do something by use of physical, moral, or mental pressure: force.”

My own survey, conducted on actual Union County residents, reveals that 95% of respondents want a setback distance from industrial wind turbines of at least 3,281 ft. for non-participants.

Following Meyer’s presentation, Rick Friday and Dennis Hopkins (the only supervisors in attendance) had to ask several questions to finally deduce Meyer lives in an apartment in Dallas County with no wind turbines near his residence. Friday asked Meyer what the setbacks are in Dallas County. Meyer was unsure. This surprised me since Meyer’s job is to tell other counties, including Union, what their setbacks should be.

Perhaps he didn’t want to mention that Dallas County setbacks are 2,640 ft. (one-half mile) from the neighboring property line. Bear in mind, Union County is currently 1,500 ft. from the foundation of a non-participating home. Meyer provided a pamphlet detailing setbacks from a handful of Iowa counties which happen to have the lowest setbacks in the state. Hopkins questioned him about “cherry picking” and inquired on setbacks in the other 90 counties in Iowa.

Meyer, speaking on behalf of Iowa Land and Liberty Coalition, is not acknowledged as an employee on their website. However, LS2 Group lists him as an Account Associate. LS2 Group is a public relations firm specializing in lobbying. Basically, lobbyists for hire. Definition of lobby is to “seek to influence a politician or public official on an issue.”

According to their website, LS2 Group offers services such as “media strategy and media pitching” to “make sure those who write and produce the news hear our client’s perspective.” They also offer “coalition building and recruitment.” It appears LS2 built a non-profit coalition and recruited their own employee, Elliot Meyer, to represent it. Nick Boeyink was also on the agenda to speak to our supervisors, but didn’t bother to show up. Nick leads multiple non-profit coalitions that promote industrial wind turbines being sited closer to residences. Previously, Nick was a Senior Account Executive at LS2 Group. Coincidence?

When further questioned about setbacks, Mr. Meyer said it ultimately comes down to what the county judges best for its residents. I couldn’t agree more. We need to do what is best for the safety, comfort, and well-being of the residents of Union County, Iowa, not what’s best for whatever “client” Mr. Meyer from LS2 Group, who has no industrial wind turbines near his home, is being paid to lobby for.

Mr. Meyer also spoke of land stewardship as a reason to build industrial wind turbines on valuable farmland. In 2018, I was honored to be named Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year due to my efforts to preserve and improve the land I farm. I have seen firsthand in Adair, Adams, and Union Counties the permanent destruction of both the soil and drainage systems as a result of turbine and transmission line construction. At the end of the day, land stewardship comes down to leaving the land God has blessed us with better for the next generation. That means a whole lot more to me than leaving my bank account better and permanently destroying this land in the process.

Being a cattleman more than 20 years, I know the difference between steak and bull manure. Let’s just say, I couldn’t smell steak during his presentation.

In the words of the late, great Paul Harvey, “And now you know…the rest of the story.”