GRAND MEADOW, MN – They gave their word and in return farmers gave up their land.
Now a broken promise by the state to turn wind energy dollars into funding for schools has at least one farmer fuming.
Al Stier, Grand Meadow farmer says, “I’m big into ethanol, I’m big into the E-85, the bio-diesel; this is just another step in the right direction.”
Farmer Al Stier is talking about Grand Meadow’s wind farm.
He’s got three of the giant turbines sitting on his farm land.
Al says, “I had to sign a 30-year lease; I am married to these.”
Of course there’s financial gain for the Stier’s to have these on their property, but being civic-minded, they also just wanted to help their schools.
According to a state law, some of the turbine’s production tax is supposed to go to local schools.
In Grand Meadow’s case, that was about $50,000.
Al says, “There are quite a few people in the area feeling used about this deal.”
A deal now broken because that law has been changed.
In two years, the school will no longer receive wind payments.
Al says, “There were a lot of economic benefits to doing this, not just for my wife and I and the immediate neighbors but the school districts, the townships, the county; everybody was going to benefit from these.”
To make sure that still happens, Al, along with fellow representatives, are willing to stand-up for this windy city.
Al says, “If need be, I’ll drive up to the cities and say what I got to say, hopefully I don’t offend too many people.”
Taking a stand for a school where education means more than money.
Al says, “Education, when I was in high school, wasn’t important to me at all, now that I’m older, I realize how important and what I missed out on… the more money we can get for the school to do a better job at educating kids, the better we’ll all be down the road.”
Wind companies are not to blame for schools losing out on this extra funding.
In fact, the owners of that particular wind farm recently presented a check to Grand Meadow for new computers for all its high school students.
And as we told you Wednesday night, local representative Randy Demmer plans to introduce a bill to return the wind payments to the schools.
By Jennifer Hoff
29 November 2007
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