A proposed wind farm in the northwestern Town of Forest has spawned a federal lawsuit against a Wisconsin wind developer and the town board. The wind development would bring 39 turbines – measuring up to 500 feet high – to the small, rural town. The agreement is between Emerging Energies of Wisconsin and the Forest town board. But a local group called Forest Voice has filed a federal lawsuit against both the town board and the wind developer to stop the project.
Brenda Salseg, one of the leaders of Forest Voice, says the public was left out of the negotiations and wasn’t notified of the deal until a month after the papers were signed. Salseg says the agreement was entered into by the town board Aug. 12, and no one knew what was happening until Sept. 1.
But the town’s attorney, Terry Dunst, says those accusations are false. He says every meeting regarding the wind farm was posted at the Forest Town Hall and in the newspaper.
“If people didn’t see the notice, well shame on them for not being more involved in their local government,” Dunst said.
Forest Voice’s suit also alleges that the town board had a conflict of interest when they negotiated with Emerging Energies because their properties qualify for what are termed good neighbor payments. And that those against the project would get no payments at all. The controversy surrounding the wind development and the town board even brought on a recall election in which all three members of the board were voted out last week. None of those board members commented for this story. An attorney for Emerging Energies says the federal lawsuit has no merit and that their party will ultimately be dismissed from it.
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