Walled in by wind: that’s Josh Lester’s biggest fear.
“Where do we grow?” Lester asked with frustration in his voice. “No business is going to want to move here. Nobody is going to be able to sell their house. Who wants to build in the middle of a wind farm?”
Spanish energy company Enerfín wants to add a wind farm to the east and south of Maroa, running almost all the way to Oreana.
But there’s one condition that’s alarmed everyone from Lester to the city’s mayor.
“I’m not really wanting to close my borders for $10,000 a year to get boxed in,” said Mayor Aaron Meador.
Enerfín wants to build the turbines within a quarter mile of city limits – even closer than the wind farm operating across U.S. 51 to the west.
“I can’t grow my town to the east and south for 50 more years,” Meador said. “I don’t know what Maroa is going to need in 2068. I don’t want to be known as the guy who boxed us in here.”
“It’s not like we get to kick back and save $300 a month on our electric bill,” Lester said. “This is supplying the folks up north [in the Chicago area].”
At their Monday night meeting, the Maroa City Council approved a two mile minimum setback distance for any new wind turbines. While that may ease concerns in the town, Lester still wants landowners to let this project be gone with the wind.
“At what point does money stop talking and ethics start walking?” Lester said.
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