Many were in attendance for the zoning commission meeting Wednesday night. The vote went off as expected, with the commission approving the conditional use permit for Iberdrola to place turbines at will in the project area.
The big surprise was the impoverished arguments provided by the commissioners in favor of this project. Let me give you some examples.
Gene Bittel, an ardent supporter of the turbines and a self-appointed representative of the western half of Ellis County, referred to those of us in opposition as being anti-progress. “This project will make hundreds of millions of dollars for Ellis County.” After the meeting, I asked him how he came up with these figures. He said he did the math, and it is the people with turbines on their property who will be flooding money into our economy.
I pointed out that half the land owners do not live in Ellis County. He then said that our conversation should cease. Before he cut me off completely, I told him about our safely concerns. The new towers Krista Jo spoke of in Sunday’s paper would be even larger than those that had previously been planned. According to the literature, these particular towers can only withstand 137 mph winds.
What if a tornado should show up again in Yocemento with these monster towers near people’s homes? Not to worry according to Gene Gene The Wind Machine. If 137 mph winds should occur, our house on the prairie will be blown apart anyway. It was then that I had to agree that our conversation was over. By the way, city of Ellis pay heed, I see turbines in Mr. Bittel’s future.
Next example, Barb Anderson asked Dick Klaus how the Ellis County Rural Fire Department would handle a fire 400 feet in the air (referring to turbines catching on fire due to lightning strikes). What would you do? Dick responded [and I am not making this up], “Nothing.”‘ His reasoning is that there is just an electrical wire up there; if a fire should occur, it will simply burn itself out. We will sleep better tonight knowing that we are protected.
Yet another example of the fuzzy logic presented by the commission was the scolding the opposition received from Charlie Rohr. He excoriated us for fighting against zoning in Ellis County.
This is simply not true.
I welcomed zoning to Ellis County. It was supposedly established for the protection, safety and well-being of the citizens of Ellis County. Now I find out differently. The regulations written for the wind project were written in a way to favor commercial interest and not for the citizen’s protection, safety or well- being. Now who should be scolded?
The final example was when one of the commissioners recalled his eighth grade science teacher’s prescient thoughts concerning the role of sun and wind to help meet our energy needs.
Too bad he was not also taught about proper setbacks for turbines, sound travel, property devaluation for homes near turbines, and honesty in establishing industry in Ellis County.
Submitted by Ellis Co. Resident:
7 June 2007
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