The Lincoln County Commission will tackle the issue of wind farms tonight in Canton, as opponents of what could become the state’s largest wind energy project appeal March’s permitting of five test towers.
It’s the first time the full commission will hear from both sides of the wind debate, which has divided the southern portion of the county.
The elected commission sidestepped the controversy this Spring when it voted to send the meteorological towers back to the zoning commission over a procedural issue.
The zoning board voted down conditional use permits for the towers in February, but the full commission told Dakota Power Community Wind on appeal that it ought to start over and apply for temporary permits.
Those permits were approved by the zoning board 4-3 in March, over objections from Lincoln County landowners.
The towers would gather data on wind capacity in the 200-mile footprint of DPCW’s anticipated wind farm for about three years. That data would be used to sell investors on the project, which is meant to connect up to 500 wind turbines to the yet-unapproved Rock Island Clean Line in Iowa.
Opponents of the wind proposal, many represented by the non-profit We-Care SD, plan to attend tonight’s meeting to address commissioners. Their concerns range from health impacts to property values, and they doubt the revenue promises offered by DPCW representatives.
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