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Wind farm plan needs more transparency

I witnessed a rather curious bit of democracy at a recent meeting of the Macon County Board’s Environmental, Education, Health and Welfare Committee. The main topic of the meeting was to hear from residents concerning the German utility company E. ON’s proposed wind farm in northern Macon County.

The committee chairman allowed E.ON’s lawyer to open the discussion with a defense of the wind farm. Following that, several county residents, both for and against, stated their positions. After the county residents spoke, the chairman then called the E.ON lawyer back to the podium to rebut the arguments against the wind farm. Opponents of the wind farm were denied any chance to respond to the statements of the E.ON lawyer.

The chairman then allowed one minute for a discussion of the issue by the board, All that took place was some hurried whispering among board members and then the board’s lawyer announced the published motion that had been placed before the board needed a last-second change. Instead of voting on all 140 wind turbines in one motion, the board would vote on 136 wind turbines in one motion and then voted on four wind turbines in a second motion. One board member abstained from voting on the motion involving four wind turbines, which was never explained.

The wind farm project has suffered from a lack of transparency from the start. One board member abstained because information on the wind farm was only recently made available by E.ON and she had not been able to fully review it.

Residents living near the proposed location of the wind farm have not been provided information from E.ON. Perhaps, the entire board should take the time to fully review this project and its impact on the county.

John Cook

Maroa