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Visual pollution  

Consider this: We could be looking at 1,000 or more wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty on the high ridges of the Flint Hills, and they would contribute only about one-tenth of 1 percent of our current electricity use. That simply isn't worth the destruction of our unique Tallgrass Prairie land resource.

As a lifetime resident of the Flint Hills area and a landowner in Butler and Chase counties, I encourage you to follow the debate in the Kansas Legislature over the development of industrial wind complexes in scenic Kansas areas such as the Flint Hills and Smoky Hills.

The Senate Tax Committee will be discussing a bill that would remove the tax exemption for industrial wind turbines. That’s a good idea, but there is a much better idea for the Legislature: put a moratorium on the development of these 450-foot windmills until the Wind & Prairie Task Force, recently appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, has time to review and adopt cohesive guidelines that can protect the rights of landowners.

Who opposes these wind turbines, especially in the Flint Hills? Ranchers, farmers, landowners and those who support tourism in the Flint Hills. Most taxpayers are opposed because large government subsidies are being offered to out-of-state “windfarm” developers at a time when we’re faced with a proposed $300 million tax increase for our public education system. It just doesn’t make economic sense.

During the next few months, as this debate heats up, you may see an all-out public relations campaign by out-of-state and foreign developers extolling the virtues of wind energy. Don’t be fooled. If industrial wind energy facilities become a reality in our agricultural land, we will be looking at visual pollution that offers little upside to Kansas or our nation’s energy picture.

Consider this: We could be looking at 1,000 or more wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty on the high ridges of the Flint Hills, and they would contribute only about one-tenth of 1 percent of our current electricity use. That simply isn’t worth the destruction of our unique Tallgrass Prairie land resource.

Larry Patton

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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