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Citizens' group opposes Goodhue County wind farm

A citizens’ group that opposes construction of a nine-turbine wind farm in Goodhue County has petitioned a state commission to reconsider the decision granting a final site permit to the project.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which filed an order in July issuing the permit to Kenyon Wind LLC for the 18.9-megawatt wind-energy conversion system, is expected to discuss the group’s request during a commission meeting Thursday.

Construction has not yet started on the wind turbines planned for sites east in Cherry Grove and Kenyon Townships, east of the city of Kenyon. Kenyon Wind intends to sell the power generated by the turbines to Xcel Energy.

Citizens for Environmental Rights & Safety, LLC, led by its president and Cherry Grove Township resident Mike Chase, continues to fight the plan. In his petition requesting the commission’s review, Chase identifies five reasons that he claims affect the findings and conclusions of the commission’s order to issue the permit. Those reasons relate to the ownership structure of Kenyon Wind, the setback distance of the turbines from roads and buildings, nearby wetlands, the safety of turbines to be installed and bonding for the project.

The citizens’ group asks that the commission suspend or retract the final site permit “pending a thorough validation and investigation of these facts by an independent organization outside of the Department of Commerce,” Chase wrote.

In a written answer, John H. Daniels Jr., chief manager for Kenyon Wind, argued that no circumstances are presented in the group’s petition that would warrant reconsideration.

“In the present case, CFERS, LLC’s Petition merely restates old arguments raised since the inception of the Public Hearing process,” Daniels wrote.

Since those arguments were addressed in the commission’s order issuing the permit, he wrote, “the Petition for Reconsideration should be denied.”

Public meeting

What: Minnesota Public Utilities meeting to discuss a petition opposing a wind farm in Goodhue County.

When: 9:30 a.m., Thursday

Where: State Office Building, Room 10, 100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul.

By Dawn Schuett


31 August 2007