It was a full house in DeKalb County to talk about the future of a wind energy project. Of the approximate 100 people who came, almost all of them were strongly opposed.
“We just don’t want to live in a wind farm, said Bill Saunders, who brought a petition forward with around 40 signatures urging against the project.
“Nobody wants to look at these huge 350 ft. wind towers,” David Thomas who lives near Osborn and says a turbine would be erected less than one mile from his home.
NextEra Energy wants to erect 97 wind turbines. Thursday’s meeting was to approve the construction of two meteorological towers to get raw data on wind speeds and determine if a wind farm is financially feasible.
However, those at the meeting speaking against the project don’t even want the measuring towers.
“Met towers come first, wind turbines follow,” Saunders said.
Though most of the vocal crowd showed their resistance to the wind farm, NextEra Energy representatives cite polling that shows about 70 percent support for the project. Also, they say they have more than 50 land owners already under contract should the project go through.
“We’ve been in this area since the 2008 time period,” said Jeremy Ferrell, Project Director for the company. “We’ve had a number of landowners excited and positive about the project. Quite frankly, we wouldn’t be in an area where we didn’t have supportive landowners.”
Those against the project say property values would decrease. They also cited potential noise and health concerns and how many people have moved to the countryside to enjoy the quiet.
The vote to approve the MET towers passed 3-0 with one abstention.
The company has also met resistance in Clinton County, where county commissioners have so far voted against the project moving forward.
Ferrell says if they stay on schedule, they would like to start constructing the turbines in 2016.
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