PAXTON – After five months of listening to Kempton-area residents air their frustration over problems associated with the Kelly Creek Wind Farm, often taking up at least 45 minutes of the Ford County Board’s meetings, the board agreed Monday night to take some action.
The board adjourned Monday’s monthly meeting to 7 p.m. Sept. 18 for the express purpose of discussing the problems the residents have been having with the wind farm’s owner, EDF Renewable Energy.
In the meantime, county officials will determine if other counties are having similar difficulties with the company and if they have taken any action.
Last month, the board decided that Chairman Randy Berger would send a certified letter to officials of EDF and ask a company representative to appear at September’s board meeting. Instead, Berger sent several emails to company representatives and received no response, he said.
Several board members had hoped instead that Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian would send a letter. But Killian said he does not want to do that using his letterhead since it is not yet a legal matter.
In the meantime, no board members have looked over the special-use permit the board granted the company for its wind farm. At least one Kempton-area resident told the board several months ago that he thinks the company has violated its terms.
For 10 months, residents of the Kempton area have been tussling with the company over turbine interference with their television reception. They have spoken to the board about an issue that EDF’s permit states should have been resolved in 60 days.
Chris Morrison told the board that he has turned his problem over to his private attorney and is just about ready to sign a long-term agreement with them.
Killian said he thinks the permit states that the company “must engage in good faith negotiations.”
Morrison said that after all this time, the company has hired a private testing company from Wisconsin to analyze interference issues.
“That should have been done at the beginning,” Morrison said.
Morrison added that the testing company spending half an hour in front of a resident’s home testing interference will not reveal the true nature of the problem.
Morrison said he is displeased with the company for refusing to cover any costs residents have incurred over the past 10 months, noting that Rogers Township itself has spent $3,000 in attorney fees.
Prior to the wind farm’s construction, residents could pull in 50 or more TV channels through their antennas, residents said. Now, they receive none. Cable is not offered in that area, and the other alternative would be satellite.
Sandra Eshleman told the board the company’s offer right now is to pay residents $2,500 the first year and $2,000 annually to cover the cost of satellite television. Eshleman said she is unhappy with a provision in the contract that would allow company technicians into residents’ homes periodically over the life of the contract to analyze the interference.
Morrison said such a settlement payment will most likely generate income-tax consequences.
“Just shut them down,” Morrison told the board.
Board member Gene May told the residents: “I wouldn’t settle until they talk to us.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding