December 18, 2011

Wind company suing Belle Creek Township

By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle, 17 December 2011

Belle Creek Town Board Chair Chad Ryan was served papers Thursday night, informing him that AWA Goodhue was suing Belle Creek Township for “declaratory judgment” and “injunctive relief.”

The Belle Creek Town Board adopted a one-year moratorium in June 2010 to prevent any development, siting or construction of a wind project within the township while the board completed various planning activities. The moratorium was extended in May 2011 to last 120 days later than the date AWA Goodhue completed the permitting process for its 78-megawatt wind farm in Goodhue County – much of which lies in Belle Creek Township.

According to state statute 216F.07, the site permit that was issued for AWA Goodhue by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June was the only approval the wind company needed to obtain for the location of its project.

AWA Goodhue attorneys argued in the summons served to Ryan that AWA Goodhue is entitled to a declaratory judgment that the permit pre-empts and supersedes the township’s effort to regulate the project with a moratorium.

The summons also says that AWA Goodhue “will potentially suffer irreparable harm” if Belle Creek is allowed to interfere with its rights under the site permit to proceed with developing the project, and attorneys argue that the wind company is entitled to an injunction preventing the township from any such interference.

Belle Creek Town Board has 20 days from the date papers were served to provide a written response to the compliant. If no response is filed in that time, the board will not get to explain its case to the court.

Ryan had no comment on behalf of the Belle Creek Town Board.

A call for comment was not returned by AWA Goodhue representatives.

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