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County implements moratorium; Moratorium enacted on future wind developments

No more wind farms will be developed in Howard County in the foreseeable future.

The Howard County commissioners on Monday voted to enact a county-wide, indefinite moratorium on any additional wind farms, with the exception of the already-approved E.ON Climate & Renewables project in eastern Howard County.

Tyler Moore, president of the Board of County Commissioners, said the moratorium will remain in place until there is a public hearing on any proposal to lift it.

He said the moratorium exempts Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the proposed Wildcat Wind Farm. The commissioners amended the economic development agreement with E.ON to change setbacks for the placement of wind turbines, noise levels and a payback of $750,000 during the 10-year tax abatement granted by the county.

Howard County now joins Tipton County in enacting a wind farm moratorium. The Tipton County commissioners in April put a moratorium in place until Oct. 1 or the county’s wind farm ordinance is amended.

Moore said the commissioners have decided not to ask the Howard County Plan Commission to amend the wind ordinance for the county at this time.

Wind farm opponents requested the moratorium and want the wind ordinance to be amended to place additional restrictions on wind farm development.

Moore said the county has not been contacted by any other company interested in developing a wind farm in Howard County. He said the commissioners are unaware of any new property leases being signed.

Local resident Clee Oliver said wind companies are approaching property owners in the western part of the county.

Another local resident, Paul Russeau, said unless changes are made to the wind ordinance, the western part of the county will face the same problems in the future.

“A public hearing is important,” he said. “The county needs to give people the opportunity to come and speak about wind farms.”

Commissioner Paul Wyman said the commissioners want to implement tougher restrictions on future wind energy projects.

“What we’re proposing,” Wyman said, “E.ON is not facing in other counties. We put more restrictions on E.ON to protect the residents of eastern Howard County.”