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Madison Co. fines wind farm project developers

The developer of the Wildcat Wind Farm project, which will eventually include Tipton, Howard, Grant and Madison counties, has been fined $2,000 for the unauthorized use of roads during construction in Madison County.

The county fined E-on Climate & Renewables $500 each for four violations of the road agreement.

Tipton County has a similar agreement with E-on concerning the use of designated roads for construction traffic.

“We wanted to be upfront and clear with E-on on the roads to be used during construction,” Madison County Commissioner John Richwine said. “The roads are clearly marked, which are to be used for wind farm traffic and which are not.”

Richwine said E-on originally didn’t want to be responsible for the fines and that the contractor should be responsible for them. He said Madison County wanted E-on to pay the fines.

The four violations took place in the early stages of construction work in Madison County, but none have taken place recently, he said.

“There were no hard feelings,” Richwine said of the fines.

Currently, Howard County is working on a road agreement with E-on for the use of the county line road with Tipton County.

Larry Murrell, Howard County attorney, said the road agreement only covers the south boundary line between Tipton and Howard counties.

The road agreement could be amended in the future to include additional Howard County roads the contractors may want to use, he said.

“The agreement includes improvements and repairs to county line road,” Murrell said. “If they use other roads and exceed the weight limits, they would be subject to a fine.

“They have agreed not to use other roads in Howard County,” he said. “They would have to come back and ask to use additional county roads.”

Tipton County Commissioner Mike Cline said he believes Tipton County has the same agreement with E-on as Madison County, since it was drawn up by the same law firm.

Cline said signs will be placed in Tipton County designating roads for wind farm construction traffic.

“We want them to use the designated roads,” he said. “We don’t want other roads torn up by heavy construction equipment.”

E-on plans to construct a 200-megawatt wind farm in the four-county area – including land in Tipton, Howard, Grant and Madison counties – at an estimated cost of $400 million. Construction work has begun in Madison County and is expected to start next year in Tipton County.