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Lincoln wind farm debate keeps blowing

The Lincoln County Commission has approved, 3-1, strict new regulations for wind power farms, but not as strict as first considered. Both sides of the Lincoln wind fight have things to complain about.

The backers of a massive wind farm proposed for Lincoln claim that the new regs will basically kill the project. Critics say the new setback requirements for wind towers aren’t strong enough.

Commissoner Jim Schmidt voted in favor of the new requirements. He says the wind power debate is more than just about alternative energy.

“You go to Worthington, Minnesota and you’ll find out that there is a wind company there that is in bankruptcy and how are they going to handle that and what’s going to be the repercussions of people who have that on their land,” Schmidt told KELO Radio’s Bill Zortman Show on Wednesday.

Angela Landeen with the South Dakota Wind Energy Association says wind farms are a perfect fit for South Dakota.

“We are farming the wind. It is the cash crop. We are an agricultural state and wind needs to be considered an agricultural product,” Landeen argued on the Zortman Show.

The wind power debate in Lincoln, one of South Dakota’s fastest growing counties, has been highly charged. Public meetings on the issue have been long and loud.