This New York Times article, “Wind Industry Faces ‘Prairie Rebellion’ in Kansas County,” discusses the impact of the Kansas Supreme Court decision upholding local ordinances preventing installation.
So, what does all this Kansas dust-up mean for the other wind projects?
The Times reports, it is not just a problem for Middle America. (to which I ask … how is not having a wind installation that generates infinitesimal power, and what little is generated is unreliable, and consumes vast land and air space, and kills bats and birds and, and, and so on … a problem?)
Frank Maisano, an energy specialist at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, which represents wind-power developers in the mid-Atlantic, said officials in western Maryland’s Allegany County all but killed a proposal to build 25 turbines on a local mountain crest by adopting retroactive zoning requirements limiting where the turbines could be sited. (yes, and which then caused wildlife not to be killed?)
The project, sought by Pennsylvania-based U.S. Wind Force LLC had already obtained two building permits to start construction, but the Allegany commissioner’s zoning changes “made the project unworkable,” Maisano said. (I’m not sure if the zoning changes made the project unworkable or if the project could not accommodate the requirements of local citizens. But, hey – the Citizens rule – sorry!)
Of course, local officials are entitled to pass laws that preserve landscapes and protect community standards for development. But, Maisano said, by rejecting clean energy development, communities risk undermining their long-term economic stability. (undermining long-term economic stability? Boy, I’d love to hear the logic that backs up that statement!)
“I think it’s a stupid policy,” Maisano said of zoning ordinances aimed at banning wind farms. (“I think it’s stupid” is a legal term, I think?)
As for the Kansas case, Maisano said the issue is less about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban than the local officials’ decision to impose it in the first place. “It seems to me that in Kansas if that county commission wants to take that approach, they’re missing a great opportunity,” he said. (Is there any possibility the rest of us can miss the great opportunity too? Please!)