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Lawyers ‘pulled the rug out’ on Belle Creek Township

GOODHUE – Belle Creek Town Board’s new legal counsel might cost up to four times as much as expected to fight the proposed AWA Goodhue wind farm, the board learned Tuesday in a closed-door meeting.

The news from Belle Creek Town Board Chair Chad Ryan after the meeting floored the 20 or so people who had gathered outside the town hall building wondering what was going on.

The Minneapolis law firm wants $75,000 to represent Belle Creek in the Court of Appeals while seeking to overturn the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision to issue AWA Goodhue a site permit in November. The Minneapolis firm had previously informed the board that the case would cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

The Belle Creek Town Board had voted to move forward with its legal challenge at a special meeting held on November 28. The news was greeted with applause by virtually all of the standing-room only audience, though some harbored concerns about the sticker price for such a decision after it had already paid about $15,000 in legal fees to that point. Tuesday’s news makes that decision a no-brainer now – Belle Creek can’t afford to continue the appeal with its current lawyers.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for such a revelation. Read the full story in Wednesday’s print edition.