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Mower County board, wind company delay project  

It’s hard to believe, but enXco Development Corporation appears to be looking out for the interests of citizens who are critical of the proposed wind energy project in Mower County.

For a second time, the Mower County Board of Commissioners has delayed action on all of the requests from enXco, concerning their wind energy project in Pleasant Valley and Grand Meadow townships.

Ian Krygowski, regional project development manager for enXco, requested another delay on two conditional use permit requests at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

The county board unanimously agreed to delay action until March 11.

Meanwhile, the county board has approved an environmental assessment from enXco on the same project.

Dave Hillier, 3rd District county commissioner, said the data submitted by enXco was “similar to that submitted for other wind energy projects.”

As far as Hillier was concerned, “I don’t see any significant differences.”

Meanwhile, action on two CUPs regarding the enXco wind energy project’s 161 kv high voltage transmission line and substation will be decided at the March 11 meeting.

The reason: to allow enXco more time to address concerns raised by the project’s critics, Vickie Hessenius and David Morrison.

“EnXco is committed to developing high quality wind projects,” Krygowski said in a letter to the county board. “As such we welcome this opportunity to work with members of the community and will endeavor to address the concerns that have been raised.”

Krygowski told the commissioners Tuesday he has visited with Mark and Vickie Hessenius and David Morrison, who have raised questions about the project before first the Mower County Planning Commission and later the Mower County Board.

EnXco and Krygowski received Vickie Hessenius’ praise Tuesday for demonstrating “goodwill.”

When the Hesseniuses and Morrison first raised their concerns at the Mower County Planning Commission meeting, Krygowski was quick to make himself available to answer their queries at the risk of delaying the project.

Also Tuesday, Morrison requested the county consider imposing new conditions on the enXco CUPs to guarantee the substation won’t be brightly lit, noisy and obtrusive.

Vickie Hessenius had questions concerning the environmental assessment. According to her, there are new studies considering the possible risks of cancer from electro-magnetic fields around high voltage transmission lines.

Tucker asked Daryl W. Franklin, county environmental services director, if the information contained in enXco’s EA was outdated by new studies. Franklin said he was “not sure.”

EnXco has waived the 60-day rule which by Minnesota statute requires a decision by the county within 60 days of the original CUP application.

In other action Tuesday:

# The remaining portion of Mower County CSAH No. 2 will be paved this year.

Bids were opened Monday for paving the remaking portion of the heavily-traveled highway between Lansing and Brownsdale.

Ulland Bros., Inc. submitted the low bid of $1.97 million or 23.63 percent under the engineer’s estimate of $2.57 million..

The eight-mile stretch of highway runs from the Cedar River bridge east to and through Brownsdale to the Mower County CSAH No. 19 intersection.

The paving was delayed when funds were lacking for the project.

The “base” of a highway needs to set for at least one year before paving can begin.

Work on the roadway should begin sometime in May.

# The board approved a $780,981 contribution to a five-county county-based purchasing agreement. The “Steadfast” pact will allow the counties to provide health care services to public assistance clients at a lower premium. The county had already budgeted $800,000 for their entry into the county-based purchasing arena.

# The board accepted a $1,000 donation from Robert and Colleen Weimer in memory of Colleen’s brother, Charles H. Meakins, who was killed in action Aug. 25, 1970 during the Vietnam War. Presently, Mower County veterans service organizations are raising money to replace a van that has reached the limit of its safe usefulness to transport veterans free of charge to veterans hospital in Minnesota. Also Tuesday, the commissioners bought the first tickets being sold by veterans organizations for a raffle to help raise the necessary funds.

# A lease agreement was approved with the Austin-Mower County Area Transit (AMCAT) for use of the former Autonetics building along West Oakland Avenue acquired by the county from Mel Saxton. The county will receive the minimum $1 per year in return.

The building will become the new headquarters for AMCAT, Space in the building will be leased to Holiday Ford for paint shop work and to Austin Public Schools.

# Approved plans described by Jim Lieder for a new group home and the closing of the Cedar I group home along First Avenue Southwest.

By Lee Bonorden

Austin Daily Herald

18 February 2008

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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