Plans for wind energy developments in Clay County are slated to move forward for federal review, but the leader of a local wind farm opposition group says he isn’t giving up the fight.
Last week, an aeronautical consulting company found that plans for wind farms near the communities of Byers and Bluegrove would not have a significant negative impact on flight training operations at nearby Sheppard Air Force Base.
With the consulting study in hand, developer Horn Wind LLC moved to file the projects with the Federal Aviation Administration, which will conduct its own analyses of possible hazards posed by the developments.
John Greer, leader of opposition group Clay County Against Wind Farms, said he’ll continue to try to raise public awareness of the perceived dangers associated with wind development: first and foremost, a decrease in property values both on the site with turbine construction and on neighboring properties.
Greer began fighting wind development in the area five years ago but lately has ramped up efforts.
“Are we going to continue to fight it? You’re darn right we are,” he said Monday.
Once development plans are in the hands of the FAA, they will be forwarded to the Department of Defense’s siting clearinghouse, which arbitrates conflicts between private industry and military installations.
Sheppard officials previously have said the Clay County wind farms could cause student pilots to miss training days and also could interfere with radar operations.
Officials also have remarked that these issues could cause the base’s missions to be moved to another installation.
“And now you have a private party who says, ‘Great, that sounds good, we’re going to go ahead anyway,'” Greer said. “I’m incredulous that anybody would go ahead with it after that. I cannot fathom that.”
Greer said he suspects the consultant’s study was not comprehensive and that – because the company was paid by the project developer – the report is biased. He has not read the study.
“They give the right answer to the people that hire them,” he said.
Jimmy Horn, owner of Horn Wind, said it’s presumptive for someone who has not read the report to assume it wasn’t done thoroughly.
He added that information reviewed in the study included “publicly-available information on Sheppard radar systems and training routes.”
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