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Throwing caution to the wind farms  

The benefits of wind farms are dubious and undemonstrated. Going headlong into the business of wind farming, either for the revenue or the energy, is less than responsible.

The menacing shapes of nearly 300-foot windmills may rise on the Flint Hills in Butler County.

The Butler County Commission has ratified its earlier decision, delayed in court, in favor of an application for an 8,000-acre wind farm south of Beaumont. This is a premature step.

The benefits of wind farms are dubious and undemonstrated. Going headlong into the business of wind farming, either for the revenue or the energy, is less than responsible.

Once up, wind farms will tower over the highest ridges of the Flint Hills. The hills will be left less pristine than they are now. Oil wells and communications towers are enough.

If wind farms come in force to the Flint Hills, we can write them off as a tourist attraction. It is the unspoiled, open country that attracts nature tourism, the fastest growing segment of that industry.

Why not try this wind farm thing out before we let it spread across America’s last remaining region of tallgrass prairie? Why not continue to preserve the beauty of the Kansas Flint Hills for everyone?

Ranchers and landowners have long argued they were better stewards of the land than the government. Overall, they do well. But this wind farm thing pits the interests of a few against the interests of the many – not to mention the near neighbor who chooses not to go in for wind farming.

Before municipalities and counties get to salivating over estimates of energy or revenue from wind farming, they should weigh the impact of the venture on their prospects for attracting tourists. If cities and counties cannot find the tools to do this, the state should step in and help them. Wind farming in the Flint Hills is in the worst Kansas tradition of cluttering the land and then having to try to clean it up later.

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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