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Tighter turbine permitting under review

Although legislation has been introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly to address concerns with siting of windmill projects in Mason and Fleming counties, more action on the local level is being urged by concerned May’s Lick citizens.

For the 11th month, members of the Citizens Voice of Mason County were in attendance at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Mason County Fiscal Court.

Joe Pfeffer, who serves as spokesperson for the group, once again asked county officials to take action to protect Mason County citizens until the legislation passes and the Mason County Joint Planning Commission has had time to pass zoning ordinances to regulate wind turbines.

The group has been pushing for a moratorium in the county since word spread last year of several landowners signing contracts with Duke Energy’s renewable energy division and a study was under way to determine the viability of the project.

Pfeffer expressed concerns that Duke Energy will go ahead and apply for permits to construct the wind turbines “sooner than later” to get ahead of the actions of the JPC.

“There’s no reason we are not strong and doing what we need to be doing, which is protecting the citizens of Mason County,” said Pfeffer. “I don’t foresee an ordinance until the end of the year … I don’t know what it takes to move this court.”

After further discussion, it was decided a special meeting will be held before the next regular fiscal court meeting on April 15 for the purpose of drafting, and possibly holding a first reading of, a county ordinance that would set guidelines and restrictions on the county’s permitting process.

“This is a measure we’re taking to protect citizens, it may not hold up in litigation … it’s a good faith effort to protect citizens,” said County Attorney John Estill.