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Supervisors named in litigation over wind energy

Litigation has been filed against the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors, naming them the governing body of Palo Alto County, in the continued fight against Wind Energy.

According to the initial filing in Palo Alto District Court on Wednesday, Nov. 22, seven Palo Alto County residents have filed a petition for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and for a Writ of Certiorari. Named as defendants in the petition are the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors, which includes Keith Wirtz, Ron Graettinger, Roger Faulstick, Craig Merrill and Linus Solberg. Sheila Tipton of Brown, Winick, Graves, Gross, Baskerville and Schoenebaum, P.L.C. from Des Moines will be representing the defendants in the action.

Plaintiffs in the action are Bertha Mathis, Stephen Mathis, Tillford Egland, Thomas Stillman, Lois Stillman, Michael Reding and Susanne Reding. Representing the plaintiffs will be Wallace L. Taylor of the Law Offices of Wallace A. Taylor from Cedar Rapids and John M. Murray of Murray and Murray from Storm Lake.

The petition states that on Sept. 27, 2016, the Defendant adopted a Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance for Palo Alto County that addresses the standards, conditions and application, site plan review and approval for the construction and maintenance of wind energy conversion systems and individual wind energy devices within Palo Alto County.

The petition goes on to state that the Ordinance was created and adopted at the request of MidAmerican Energy Company (MAE) and Palo Alto Wind Energy LLC (PAWE) specifically for the purpose of permitting a wind energy project that will be owner and operated by MAE.

PAWE not MAE submitted an application for site plan review and application on Aug. 31 pursuant to Paragraph 3 of the Ordinance. On Oct. 24, the Defendant approved PAWE’s application purportedly authorizing PAWE to construct the wind energy project.

The plaintiff’s are claiming that the Defendant’s approval of the Application by PAWE was illegal and beyond its authority. MAE, not PAWE, will be the owner/operator and therefore PAWE had no fight or authority to submit the Application to the Defendant.

The petition also alleges that the Defendant did not take into consideration recommendations made by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the State Archaeologist when approving the Application. Nor did they consider a report submitted by Acoustician Richard James on the sound produced by a wind turbine.

In summation, the Plaintiffs are asking that the Defendant’s approval of the Application be deemed void and set aside. The Plaintiffs also asked that a Writ of Certiorari be issued as provided in the Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure. The Writ would give the Plaintiffs the opportunity to appeal to the Iowa Supreme court.