New York Times – “Wind Industry Faces ‘Prairie Rebellion’ in Kansas County.” Hmmm … and perhaps elsewhere?

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!)


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1 Response to New York Times – “Wind Industry Faces ‘Prairie Rebellion’ in Kansas County.” Hmmm … and perhaps elsewhere?

  1. Allegheny Front Alliance says:

    Mr Maisano, Lets public read the facts and decide.

    First the two projects you list: are Savage Mountain and Dan’s Mountain Project

    Project #1
    Savage Mountain Wind Project, LLC,
    Case Number 8939
    Maryland Public Service Commission:
    • Maryland Public Service Commission approved, March 20, 2003.
    Permit required US Wind Force to begin construction with five years. (March 20, 2008)
    • On May 29, 2007, US Wind Force filed with the PSC asking a two-year extension for this site permit that ends March 20, 2010.

    Why did US Wind Force ask for an extension on the project rule? US Wind Force financing was inadequate, economic study flaws, underestimated the actual project costs, and they blamed the current landowner for failure properly reclaim the former coal strip (surface) mine.

    Project #2
    Dans Mountain Project, LLC,
    Case Number 9164
    Maryland Public Service Commission:

    • Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Project, March 2009
    • US Wind Force wanted to build their project near housing subdivisions. (not a good idea). It just happens the Allegheny County residents were trying to get the County to adopt an ordinance to protect the county. So in January 2009, public meeting was held before the Maryland Public Service Commission. In March 2009, the Public Service Commission said… US Wind Force you can build your project. The residents pushed and encourage the county to adopt an ordinance. County conducts public meeting in March 09 and another hearing in May 09.
    • So US Wind Force is complaining, because the community petitioned, the County passed a Code Bill 2-09, in June, 2009.

    • At the passage, Commissioner Stakem noted this was the most highly scrutinized bill he ever remembered; it was studied for 14 months by Planning and then a hearing, presentations, and work sessions held by the Commissioners., June 4, 2009

    Code Bill 2-09 – Vote 3-0 Amended Emergency Bill entitled “An Act to Amend Chapter 141 Entitled ‘Land Development’ Part 4, Zoning” (Industrial Wind Energy Devices) which would provide additional protection for the public and adjoining landowners from development of wind energy devices.

    1. Minimum Separation Distance
    2. Setback Requirements
    3. Electromagnetic Interference
    4. Decommission Bond

    Read the entire code:

    “I think it’s a stupid policy,” Maisano said of zoning ordinances aimed at banning wind farms.

    Mr Maisano: US Wind Force may build the permitted projects. What you and US Wind Force are objecting or feel is stupid, are the requirements imposed. Is it the setbacks, is separation distance from important resources? Do you object to decommission and electromagnetic interference bonds that are required?

    Lets see does US Wind Force think that posting a $150,000 fee per turbine is too expensive? Is it the $100,000 bond required to deal with electromagnetic interference for the communication towers, emergency response, or their college distance learning.

    Is US Wind Force LLC worried that they will loose all their profits, or the inability to reduce their liability risk and assets?

    Perhaps money is not the issue, but they don’t want to worry about protecting historical property, cannot assure the residents that property values will not be impacted, or water supplies and wells are protected.

    Maybe US Wind Force realized their project might be a threat to migrating birds, and the state and federal agencies might require post construction environmental studies.

    Learn more about US Wind Force and their Projects: Be sure to look at the Dan’s Mountain Project environmental report.

    Maisano Why don’t you comment on these facts….

    “It seems to me that in Kansas if that county commission wants to take that approach, they’re missing a great opportunity,”

    Maybe their opportunity they are taking is the same as Alleghany County, Maryland…They are looking to the future…for something more dependable and reliable…than industrial wind turbine.

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