From an article by Draig D. Reber of the Herald Tribune (Dubuque, Iowa):
TOWN OF SMELSER, Wis. — To paraphrase a southwest Wisconsin lawmaker, now the devil is in the details.
On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill that calls for state regulators to come up with statewide rules for wind farms.
The state Public Service Commission’s rules will trump any local ordinances, including several moratoriums enacted by the Smelser Town Board of Trustees.
A moratorium enacted on June 8 resulted in charges being brought against Arnie Rawson, of rural Platteville, and Robert Droessler, of rural Cuba City, for violating open meetings law. They are accused of taking action on a matter without public notice.
“It was a minor mistake, we tried to rectify it (at our next meeting), and we couldn’t, according to state law,” Rawson said. “It’s happened before in other places. It’s no new thing.”
The board later went on to enact a moratorium in August on the White Oak wind project that includes parts of Smelser, Hazel Green and Paris townships. However, Senate Bill 185 and the ensuing action by Doyle to enact a uniform siting law trump the moratorium.
Wind developers say local officials have created a patchwork of regulations across the state that are so restrictive they are suffocating their projects. Local leaders say they are just looking out for people’s health.