We’re six weeks away from a vote in Lincoln County on the future of a controversial wind farm.
Next month, Lincoln County voters will decide just how far wind turbines need to be from homes.
Right now, a typical turbine needs to be about 1,300 feet away. A “no” vote in July would keep it within the boundaries of the first map below. A “yes” vote would about double that distance to 2,640 feet. That means there wouldn’t be as many places where turbines would be allowed.
Brian Minish with Dakota Power Community Wind supports the shorter distance between buildings and wind turbines, which would allow a Lincoln County project to move forward.
“This ordinance is a poison pill to kill the development of wind farms in Lincoln County, and we want to stop that,” Minish said.
He says the current project would include between 130 and 150 wind turbines.
“What we’re urging the people of Lincoln County to do, and supporters of clean, renewable energy, is to reject that ordinance, and leave in place the current ordinance,” Minish said.
Minish also says opponents’ reasoning behind a new ordinance being put to voters is about more than buffer zones.
“I’m pretty well convinced that the real opposition is people that don’t want to look at a wind turbine,” Minish said.
Winnie Peterson, whose group WE-CARE wants voters to vote “yes” on July 18, says Minish is wrong. She says living close to a turbine brings problems.
“There are a number of health impacts, both long-term and short-term, that affect people that live very close, one of which is noise and noise pollution,” Peterson said.
Peterson also says that the turbines vibrate, affecting sleep patterns and kids’ development.
“It’s not that we don’t want renewable energy, because we certainly do, we think that’s an important piece to our future. We want to make sure that it’s done safely and sensibly,” Peterson said.
Minish says landowners should be able to decide what they do with their land. Peterson agrees, to a point.
“Flashing lights, health hazards, and vibrations that can be felt for miles is something that is infringing on the constitutional property rights of your neighbors,” Peterson said.
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