Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District is conducting open houses in regard to a proposed 345-kilovolt transmission line from NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland north and then east to the Holt/Antelope County line.
The project’s goals are to “enhance transmission system reliability, relieve congestion from existing lines within the transmission system and provide opportunities for additional renewable energy generation (wind energy),” NPPD said.
The development of wind energy in the Sandhills should pose an environmental dilemma for green-minded Nebraskans. Now would be the time for Nebraskans to have a conversation as to the placement of these wind farms. Most Nebraskans would like to see wind energy expanded but agree that the Sandhills need protection, as evidenced by the outpouring of concern over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Nebraska is charged with safekeeping the Sandhills, the largest intact grassland left in North America. The Sandhills are also home for thousands of migratory grassland birds and waterfowl. Industrial developments such as wind farms fragment the fragile ecosystem and disrupt wildlife habitat.
We as a state should be committed to locating wind farms in environmentally appropriate areas. A balance needs to be reached between economic progress and environmental responsibility.
Landowners and public servants have a sacred responsibility to those who came before us and to those who will come after us. Let the conversation begin.
Mike Kelly, North Platte
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