Carrie March’s Story
My name is Carrie March and I live with my husband and 3 sons in Northeast Missouri, specifically Schuyler County. We built our home in 2017 on my husband’s family farm. Fast forward to today, our home is now surrounded by a 175 wind turbine project composed of 500-foot turbines. The closest to our home is 2,100 feet. We have 16 within 1.8 miles on all sides and they continue on out from there. We can see roughly 80 from our home.
To say life has changed would be the understatement of my lifetime. We went from a quiet, rural setting to an industrial zone overnight. Everywhere I look something is blinking or flashing and the noise. Oh, the noise. To try and describe what we are experiencing to someone that doesn’t live it is nearly impossible. I sat through many commissioner’s meetings here and listened to the wind reps discuss prediction models with our leaders. How at this speed, the noise would be this many decibels and on days they might be a little noisy the wind would be so strong people wouldn’t be sitting outside anyways. Anymore I just shake my head at that memory.
Nothing about living amongst industrial turbines is predictable, especially when we will be able to sleep. There are days the wind is less than 10 mph and they absolutely roar or days the wind is 20 mph and they just shut them off or they barely turn. The noise is nothing I ever could have imagined or can now fully describe. Even the videos I have taken cannot fully encompass the gravity of the noise. There are nights we are woken up, nights we sleep but wake up utterly exhausted.
Two of our sons have experienced bouts of severe headaches. One, in particular, seems to follow a pattern of higher turbine output. The other seems to show symptoms when they shut off after consecutive days of high output. Our youngest seems to deal the most with sleep disturbance. He wakes up frequently when they are on but isn’t necessarily woken up by audible noise. We are working on getting two of them moved into bedrooms in the basement to see if there is any improvement.
I have had days where I struggle with dizziness and a pounding heart rate. Can I say with 100% certainty the turbines are the cause, I sure can’t, and wouldn’t claim that just yet but as parents we know when something is different. We are currently logging any symptoms and what the turbines are doing at the time. At first, we were just completely in shock, maybe even in a bit of denial that this was our new normal.
We lived through hell during construction. The road use agreement was entirely insufficient and it left us with essentially the wild west. No roads were off-limits. The county lost complete control. Roads were extensively damaged and we were left to foot the bill for vehicle repairs. There were numerous accidents involving construction vehicles and it felt like picking your poison when choosing a route to take. We were collateral damage, no one cared and there wasn’t anything anyone would do to help those of us living in the footprint. I would encourage the residents in any community facing a wind energy project installation to just move out of the area during construction. That is the only way to ensure their safety.
We were defeated, frustrated and so incredibly angry just in time for the turbines to go online. The noise hit our home and it felt like someone had cut us to our knees. It was beyond anything we had imagined. The longer they ran and the more that came online the more frustrated and angry we became.
We contacted the new owners of the project, Ameren, to complain about the noise. My husband and I stood in our driveway with two Ameren reps, listening to them say “We are in compliance with all laws and ordinances and there is nothing we can do for you”. They are correct in their evaluation seeing as our commissioners refused to put any protections in place for residents here, especially nonparticipants. No setback restrictions, no noise ordinance, no property value guarantees, no decommissioning, no radar detection lighting systems, nothing. I sat in every meeting I could, asking them to protect my family, and at every turn, they chose to sacrifice us instead.
The project has now been operational for over 2 years and we have made the decision to leave. The legacy of this farm is not worth the sacrifice of our health, quality of life, and sanity. Our 3 boys have all said this is never a life they would choose to come back to so there is no legacy to continue.
Watching my husband come to terms with leaving this place has been like watching the process of grief. Landowners that sign up for these projects and county leaders who do nothing to protect their residents will never fully grasp what they have taken from families like ours. My father-in-law passed away in December of 2018 and part of me is glad he never had to see this place like it is now.
The money is very tempting, I do understand that, but the message communities send to their residents by allowing these projects to come in without sufficient protections, is that your quality of life is for sale. That the responsibility of elected officials to protect the health, safety, and welfare, comes with conditions. If the price is right, it’s for sale.
The landowners have every right to sign away their farms with whomever they wish, but they do not have the right to impose on the use of their neighbors’ land. I still struggle with the fact there are people out there that would knowingly and intentionally do so. I’d rather go broke with dignity than subject my neighbors to harm for my financial gain. There are relationships here that are now fractured, in some instances completely destroyed. There is regret among contract holders and deep hatred and animosity for the lives we are all now forced to live.
Our community, the land here and the fabric of our relationships will never be repaired to their original form. There are things that money just can’t buy and for all of us that live within the footprint of wind energy, that is peace.
When asked if she had moved yet, as she had indicated in online posts they were going to do, this was Carrie’s response:
Not yet. We haven’t figured out where to go. There are no ordinances in place to keep this from happening to other areas in this community. The 345 kV transmission lines run through the west side of the county where the turbines are not so it means easy access and appealing for other wind and solar companies.
Uprooting our boys from their school at the age they are would be really difficult to do. Our home isn’t even complete yet so there’s a lot of work to do before putting it on the market.
Long story short, we are praying for answers and a solution to get us out of here but allow our boys to finish their education where they are.
When asked if she had any phone or tv reception issues after the wind turbines were installed, this was Carrie’s response:
Our phones essentially don’t work if they aren’t connected to wifi.
Nakila Blessing’s Story
My name is Nakila Blessing. I live in Northeast Missouri, in Schuyler County, within the footprint of the High Prairie “Renewable Energy Center” (so named by Ameren Utility). This is a 400 MW, 175 turbines, each standing at 500 feet tall, industrial wind complex.
To preface, let me be clear, there is nothing agricultural, rural, farming, etc. about this project, about these turbines. They are definitely NOT windmills. It has dramatically and drastically altered the way of life here, it changed a quiet, peaceful, tranquil, essentially untouched part of Missouri into an unregulated power plant.
The High Prairie project showed up on my back doorstep in April 2019. I discovered later that wind energy developers had been in the area since 2011 and the developer that pushed the High Prairie project had been obtaining leases since 2016. They purposefully kept it quiet, and this was verified by documentation that was obtained later where the developer specifically admitted to keeping the obtaining of leases “quiet.”
I discovered the project when I found archaeological surveyors on the hill directly West of my home, at about 1,300 feet. I learned later that this was supposed to be the site of a wind turbine. The wind company initially denied this, but later admitted that they did not have my home marked correctly on their maps. Thankfully, that turbine was not built, but that moment changed the trajectory of my life.
I am a nurse practitioner by trade but since that moment, in my free, unpaid time, I could be what some describe as a “wind warrior.” I spend my time helping others to fight or stop wind developers from destroying their homes because that is exactly what happened to us. I cannot, in good conscience, continue to allow this to happen to others.
My husband and I built our home in 2018, on his family farm. We had lived in our home for less than a year when the project came to the forefront. I have since discovered a rabbit hole of lies and deceit. Prior to the project coming online, our home had vast 360-degree, unmarred views. Our lives were quiet and peaceful. You could walk outside at any moment and just breathe in the silence. This is what was stolen from us, that peaceful silence. When it has been a long day and you just need a minute to unwind and decompress, that is harder to find now.
I was heavily researching and well-versed in the wind energy sector by the time the project came online. Prior to its construction, I was, frankly, ignorant about this industry. I had never had a reason to consider it, so I thought, and I never believed they would do it to us. This is exactly how these companies succeed. I know now that these companies are ruthless and merciless and they go where regulations are weak, county officials are uneducated or easily manipulated and the local area is in dire need of a money transfusion (the wind industry is not the answer). When people are unaware, when they do not have the information to revolt or refuse, these companies win.
Regardless of my research, I was not prepared for the reality of living near a wind farm. No number of pictures or videos can prepare you for the utter devastation and ruin during construction or how much life will be altered when the turbines come online. This project went online in December 2020 and it is still heartbreaking to remember what was stolen from us. My children are small enough that they will never remember what it was like before. Not only was our landscape altered and our vistas wrecked, but the sound and vibrations we live with are indescribable through text.
Many days it is difficult to pick up on video. For the first four months after the turbines started operating routinely, I had persistent ear pain (I have no history of ear issues and I had my ears examined six different times). I had an increasing number of headaches and occasional dizziness. My son, who was two, began waking up more frequently in the night, telling us that the wolves were waking him up.
The enjoyment of being outside was stolen. I thoroughly enjoy working in the dirt, whether it is in my garden or with my flowers. I started wearing headphones to drown out the noise from the turbines, just for some tolerance. Something that used to give me solace became a chore.
Winters are the worst. Snow and ice freeze on the blades and cause a vibration that is felt more than heard, and it is always worse in the middle of the night. The closest turbine to my home is 3,400 feet away and we are still heavily affected by the relentless noise.
Construction and maintenance does not end after the project goes online, either. The turbines constantly need repairs and many are frequently out of commission. Imagine living in a permanent construction, industrial zone.
The High Prairie project was built with the knowledge that this area houses a large number of maternity colonies for the endangered Indiana Bat. From March 2021 to June 2021, the project killed (they call it incidental take) enough bats that it is now shut down at night in the summer, from March to October. There is much more to this story, but I admit, I love bats more now than I ever did. They have brought us back nights of peace and sleep in the summers.
This issue with the bats, though, was the final straw for me that proved the wind industry was only built on the backs of rural Americans for money and not for the environment. It still, to this day, makes no sense to me how the turbines can be billed as “green” and “renewable” while they slaughter a large but truly unknown number of bats, a crucial part of our ecosystem and a natural pest control for farmers. It is beyond counterintuitive.
Sometimes I feel I could write a book about what I have learned and experienced related to the wind industry. I have watched our home be destroyed for greed while the fabric of our community was shredded. Life will never be the same here, even if the turbines are permanently dysfunctional.
Do not let this happen to your community. Stand up, fight, and stop the onslaught of the wind industry.
In addition to her testimony, Nakila also shared additional information about her situation and the project:
We are 3,400 feet from the closest turbine and our home has spray foam insulation, which has helped create some soundproofing. However, the wind turbines do wake us up sometimes and we can hear them in the house, depending on weather conditions. The weather is what affects the sound – humidity, rain, ice, snow, and lower wind speeds.
Due to some family circumstances, we still live in our home. My husband and I have discussed moving in the future. As our home is on my husband’s family farm, he does not want to sell a piece of the farm, so financially, we will be here for a while.
The roadwork experience was the same throughout the project, and outside it. It was miserable and downright terrifying at times. They had no regard for the locals and just considered us in the way, to meet their deadlines. Our roads were destroyed and still are.
Getting information has been a chore. They purposefully do not share. Our county commissioners knew nothing. They never asked questions, just signed our lives away for a measly sum of money. They didn’t know how many turbines, their height, their locations, etc. They did no research and they never notified the public.
The wind developer was secretive. They denied information I had discovered through other channels and essentially called me a liar at times, even though I had proof of the information I was presenting to others. Almost everything I discovered, I found on my own, usually on long, sleepless nights.
Ameren owns the project now. I complained to them in the beginning. They sent employees to my house. Came on a day of low wind speeds and no humidity. Told me it wasn’t loud. I eventually wrote a big email and sent it to a higher level. I ended up getting a response from one of their attorneys, telling me they had followed all permitting processes, that I had no right to complain and the turbines were “operating as designed.” They do not care. They are getting theirs.
Both Carrie and Nakila were offered money to stop posting and talking about their negative experience with Terra-Gen, LLC, Ameren, and the High Prairie Wind Farm project. Below are the excerpts of the contract for Carrie and for Nakila and her husband.
Despite being offered quite a bit of money, these ladies (and Nakila’s husband, Jordan) refused to shut up and stop warning others about their entire horrific experience, including dealing with Terra-Gen, LLC, the wind farm developer, and Ameren, the wind farm owner, as well as what living around a wind farm is like.
If, after reading Carrie and Nakila’s testimonials, you think their experience with Terra-Gen, LLC and Ameren were just flukes, and not necessarily typical behavior for entities in the heavily subsidized wind and solar industry, be sure to read this story from 2022 about how Terra-Gen, LLC was fined over half a million dollars for falsifying data on wind turbine energy production.
Visit Carrie and Nakila’s educational website, Northeast Missouri Wind Info. where they share a lot of good information, including videos of the turbines in operation.