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As others see it: New 'Nimby' challenges

Go green -- just not in (sight of) my backyard." Could that become the developmental catch-22 of this decade?

We pose that question light-heartedly but noting that the Sauk Rapids City Council on Monday banned installing wind-energy conversion systems and Stearns County is mulling a similar moratorium.

Headlines across central and southern Minnesota show that as much as some Minnesotans want to harness the renewable power of wind, others are decidedly in the NIMBY camp.

What's the answer? There isn't one. At least a one-size-fits all answer.

However, as a starting point, the Legislature should make it a higher priority to update the state's setback requirements on wind-energy systems. ...

In setting these statewide rules, the Legislature also would do Minnesotans a great service by compiling and highlighting credible, scientific research that covers issues often raised by turbine opponents. ...

For example, shadow flicker -- the effect of turbine blades spinning amid sun/shadow conditions -- is often cited as a health concern. Some claim it could spur epileptic seizures, but research indicates that's very unlikely, perhaps even impossible. ...

Of course, the biggest issue -- visual appeal or lack thereof -- can't be solved with science. That solution will come from governments, their constituents and the wind-energy industry working together to find an acceptable balance among so many competing interests.

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