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It would forever change who we are & how we would be viewed by others

The wind turbine complex controversy continues to divide our county. This conflict isn’t about foreign oil or saving the planet – it’s about location and the proposed location is not suitable. This project covers 2.5 times the area of the city of Hays with 140 turbines that are 400 feet tall (approximately the size of the two cell phone towers you see south of Golf Course Road). The only thing suitable about this location is the financial gain for a few landowners, many who don’t live in the area or even in this county. If you put the 100-plus families that live in the area of the proposed project first in the equation it is probably one of the worst locations in the county.

For those of us who call this area home, there are real worries about the documented health effects that may occur if such an industrial complex is built so close to our homes. There are concerns about safety during the building phase as well as from the turbines themselves after construction. There are fears about property and market values decreasing on the biggest investment that most of us have. Some claim that there is no proof to any of these concerns. We can provide ample documentation to show that the county is taking a huge risk if this project proceeds. To the doubters, we say we don’t want to be the guinea pigs that find out whether the fears and concerns are real or not. It’s simple, move the location of the turbines somewhere where there are not homes and eliminate the risks.

The effect on Hays also needs to be considered. Hays is recognized as a regional hub for medicine, education, commerce, retail, culture and the arts, which enhance our quality of life. What will locating an industrial complex with 140, 400 feet turbines so close to the largest growing city in northwest Kansas do? Will it hurt recruitment of professionals to the area? Will it send a negative message to businesses that are considering Hays? Some of our larger employers have made it clear that they think so. Will it hurt the historical nature of our area or stop future residential growth west of Hays? Will life long citizens of Ellis County move out because their homes and families are negatively impacted? Are these risks that we want to take?

We have stood our ground that this location is both bad and risky for those who live in the area and for the city of Hays. But by standing up for what we believe in, we have been called radicals, wackos, selfish, anti-environmentalists, terrorists, unpatriotic and, yes, even crazy Canadians. We would like to remind those name-callers who we are. We are teachers, nurses, farmers, geologists, ranchers, store and business owners, dental hygienists, therapists, office workers, psychologists, construction workers, your family members, home builders, mechanics, cooks, college professors, grade school, middle school, high school and college students, volunteer coaches, Girl Scout leaders, Sunday School teachers, occupational therapists, highway patrolman and social workers who work in your churches, social service agencies, stores, schools, hospitals, utility companies, governmental agencies, and take care of your children, your parents, the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged in our county. We are woven into the fabric of what is Ellis County.

We should have never let a foreign owned company come between us and attempt to compromise our quality of life. Putting an industrial wind turbine complex with 140 turbines, 400 feet tall located just west of Hays would forever change who we are and how we would be seen.

Submitted by:
Rod Bittel
1101 Noose Road
Hays, Kansas

Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition

24 October 2007