Lincoln County commissioners are set to decide Tuesday whether to deal a critical blow to a proposal to create the largest industrial wind project in the state.
After years of discussion, the five-member board could approve ordinances that would require a 1-mile setback for wind turbines and set noise rules that proposal backers say are unattainable.
Wind industry leaders and local stakeholders say the proposed rules, which were approved last month by county planners, would effectively ban the proposal to to blanket a 200 square-mile swath of land with industrial wind turbines.
The ordinances will receive a second reading Tuesday night in Canton and Michael Poppens, the commission’s chair, said the body would likely vote to approve, deny or alter the proposals.
“We’re probably going to be presented with ample information and can take action,” Poppens said.
He declined comment on how he anticipated the commission would come down on the measures.
Winnie Peterson, president of We-Care SD, a group that’s organized against the wind project since early 2015, said she hopes that the commission will take time to do its homework and consider the studies that indicate the turbines could be unsafe and unhealthy for county residents.
“The technology that they’re proposing isn’t right for Lincoln County. It isn’t right for a populated area,” Peterson said.
Nick Sershen, vice president of South Dakota Wind Energy Association, said he was optimistic that commissioners would be open to their arguments in favor of the Dakota Power Community Wind project. Sershen has reached out to the project’s 170 investors in the state to encourage them to attend the meeting or send a note to their commissioners.
“I’m pretty positive that we’ll get a good outcome,” Sershen said.
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