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Wind power siting lacks uniform rules

A Local View by Lu Nelsen (“County needs balanced wind ordinance,” Nov. 21) generally describes wind power benefits. The problem, however, lies in implementation details.

Unfortunately, Nelsen uses the example of a proposed wind farm in southern Lancaster County nixed by county commissioners on account of noise levels. He does not discuss impact details such as noise, unsightly towers, blade flicker and attendant power supply lines.

Years ago, areas of southwest Lancaster County were zoned “agricultural residential,” allowing farmers to sell land for development as rural home sites. Many folks bought land and built their homes in what they believed would continue to be an agricultural area.

An extensive wind turbine area amounts an industrial use of the land quite different than neighboring properties; wind turbines threaten the character and quality of the environment rural dwellers had come to enjoy and expect.

At least two problems occur with wind power development in Nebraska counties. First, no standardized impact assessment is required of wind power developers (e.g., visibility zones, key observation points, renderings of proposed towers, etc.), and the process and expertise vary greatly from county to county. Second, wind power impacts do not remain contained (or containable). Wind power impacts become foisted upon willing and unwilling neighbors alike.

Nebraskans in general have had no discussion of where and where not wind power development is reasonable and appropriate; Lancaster County residents have. So, controlling the impacts of wind energy in Lancaster County and Nebraska requires a clear and reasonable process and informed decision about impacts.

Richard K. Sutton, Lincoln