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Meteorological towers create controversy

Colfax Township, Mo. – The township board accepted a zoning recommendation Monday to erect two 197-feet-tall meteorological towers in southern DeKalb County within the township to collect wind data. These tubular towers would be secured by guide wires rather than having a wind turbine foundation.

This largely rural farming community turned out in force, more than 60 people, seeing this as a major step to creating another wind farm in southern DeKalb and northern Clinton counties.

The township board, which has several members who’ve already signed some form of contracts with NextEra Energy Resources, held a public hearing before making its official decision.

The board approved a third meteorological tower six weeks ago, and there were a lot of people alleging this was a rigged meeting.

“America hasn’t died yet,” said Glen Klippenstein, a local resident.

He challenged the meteorological towers, saying they weren’t just to gather wind data. He reminded everyone present that NextEra already had contracts. If land agents have been out for many months, then this is a viable area, Mr. Klippenstein said.

“You can go home when it’s done, but we have to live here,” he said.

John Saunders, a real estate broker in Stewartsville, Mo., said the meteorological towers were something he wasn’t fearful of because “quite frankly, it hasn’t been blowing much for the last month.”

Dennis Findley, president of the Osborn Fire Protection District board, said the board was in favor of the meteorological towers and a future wind farm.

Several residents spoke up, reminding all in attendance that wind towers will be 350 feet tall and can be seen for between 10 and 20 miles. They said wind turbines aren’t attractive and have a negative impact on home values.

The township has no permit requests for any wind farms at this time and is only looking at approving the two meteorological towers, said Ken Keesaman, the township chairman. One member abstained and Mr. Keesaman and another board member voted to approve the permits for the two towers. The chairman has a contract with NextEra.

The conclusion of many residents was that the board’s actions maybe legal, but what was approved wasn’t right.