My husband and I are leading the opposition in Nebraska for Stanton County. The Stanton County Forum was held June 13. Norfolk Daily News and News Channel Nebraska covered it. Norfolk Daily news in my opinion actually gave a pretty good summary, but also my opinion News Channel Nebraska censored a lot of the main points which I will touch on below.
Before the meeting, the County had a comment/question box that you could throw in one notecard to possibly have asked at the end of the meeting.
The meeting started right at 6:30 and there was well over 100 people there. Dennis Kment the chair of the commissioners gave a disclosure that his wife owns land and signed with a wind company and that David Gutshall (another commissioner) would be leading the meeting. Dennis Kment owns the land too and his name was on the wind lease which he signed in 2011 and had it amended (living trust) and signed again in 2016. He disclosed this to no one, but yet is not stepping down and has been involved in all the conversations and meetings thus far on wind in the County and for that reason he needs to be removed as several people stated that night. We want to complain to the attorney general that he is violating ethics. David Gutshall stated that they might open it to the public to vote on, but he doesn’t know if that can even be done. He said they would make their decision in 60 days. Also, he said that last night’s meeting would end at 9:30pm.
The wind company (Tradewinds) gave their presentation first. There were 4 of them, but only the one who presented said who he was. Of course he starts out with that he lives on a farm in Kansas; I’m sure to try to identify with the people in the room. I was kind of surprised that his presentation really didn’t go over the pros of wind energy, but more the process of the project. His time was up at 15 minutes and didn’t finish his presentation, so maybe at the end he was going to talk about the pros? He said that construction would begin in 2020. The tax incentives would be gone then and he was called out by one of the opposition leaders from Holt County that she finds it hard to believe that they wouldn’t build before then. He also said studies are done over a 2 year time period. Why not do the studies first before signing leases? He also had a chart and tried to play off that Stanton’s zoning regulations were more strict than other counties in Nebraska for instance Stanton now says 2000 feet. But what he failed to mention is that it’s 2000 feet from the hub, so really it’s only around 1500 feet to a structure.
Ziggy Orlowski was up next to give the presentation for the opposition. He pretty much touched on all the concerns of having wind turbines in close proximity to residential areas. He also said that the commissioners could stop it that night and vote to have a moratorium that would halt the project entirely. It would stop leases from being signed and if the county wanted to do the research they could during that time and having new zoning regulations written. Again, many people who spoke last night brought up the idea of a moratorium, but the commissioners wouldn’t address it. When confronted after the meeting on it, Dennis Kment said that a moratorium wasn’t on the agenda therefore they couldn’t vote on it last night. So we are on the agenda for the next commissioners’ meeting.
After Ziggy Orlowski’s presentation it was open to the public to speak for 3 minutes if they wished. I think there were around 30 people that took the mic which everyone did great! There were only 2 people who said they were for wind energy. The first person to speak for claimed she lives near the wind turbine by Northeast Community College and that she doesn’t hear any noise or have problems. Well that’s one turbine and it’s a baby turbine to say the least. The second person who spoke for wind energy was a 16 year old from Madison. He didn’t say exactly why he was for them, but mentioned the studies he found on epilepsy/seizure and property value (reduction in property value only being 1 to 3%) were the correct ones. Funny that his “research” comes from UC Berkeley.
After everyone who wanted their 3 minutes were finished, David Gutshall read off some of the questions/statement off the note cards. They were all pretty much directed at the wind company who of course had fluffy generic answers. Many of us had our hands in the air because we had questions etc. and David Gutshall made the comment that everyone had their chance already and that they were only going off the note cards that most were submitted before the meeting started. So what he was saying to us is that we couldn’t ask questions after hearing what was presented at the meeting. I thought the commissioners would address at least some of the concerns that were brought up and they did not. As you can imagine some of us were very upset. Ziggy Orlowski spoke out of turn when the wind company was talking about where the finances were coming from and said they were lying and David Gutshall ended the meeting early for that reason.
On News Channel Nebraska, they have video footage of the wind rep saying they are being neighborly, but yet wind leases in Stanton County have been signed since October of 2016 and in Wayne County since 2010, but yet all these people they are supposedly being neighborly with have been in the dark until now … why is that?
Zygmunt and Jena Orlowski
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