A city official will attend a Neosho County Commission meeting Friday morning to try to gather information about the effects of a planned wind farm.
City Attorney Ross Albertini will go to the meeting, and City Manager Debbie Lamb and Derek Clevenger, director of utilities, may follow up with a phone call to Apex Clean Energy. Apex is planning to build the Neosho Ridge wind generation project that would consist of over 100 wind turbines of up to 600 feet tall. The specifics of the project are still widely unknown, and some figures made public have differed.
A suggestion from Commissioner Tom Shaw during a Thursday afternoon work session prompted the city to try to gather more information about the project that has proven to be highly controversial in Neosho County.
Shaw referred to a map that a wind farm opponent gave him showing proposed locations of 173 turbines in a permit filed by Apex. The turbines would be located as close as 4 to 5 miles from Parsons and would be 607 feet tall, which is five times taller than the Parsonian, he said. Some of the turbines could be located half of a mile to three-quarters of a mile from Lake Parsons, which is in Neosho County but owned and maintained by the city as its water source.
Shaw said city officials should at least be curious about what effects the wind generation project would have on the region. It could have a big impact on the lake and its recreational areas, he said, as well as area roads and highways, perhaps some in Labette County. Shaw also is concerned about the possibility of a lowering of property values and quality of life in the area.
“There really hasn’t been any environmental studies about what this might mean to our area to have a wind farm this big that close to our water source and to the city of Parsons what impact it might be. I’m not for it or against it. I’m just curious about it, and I think that I would like it if we as representatives of the city were more informed about what’s going on this close to our community and what impact it might or might not have on us,” Shaw said.
Shaw said the Neosho County Commission plans to discuss the issue during its regular meeting Friday morning but he’s unable to attend. Lamb said someone from the city would attend, and after the meeting she confirmed that Albertini would go to the meeting.
Lamb said she and Clevenger attended an earlier meeting concerning the project and received contact information from Apex, but they hadn’t followed up to get more details.
“I’m not saying we should oppose or object or anything, but I do think we really need to know what’s going on there and be aware of any impact it’s going to have on us,” Shaw said.
Shaw said a short-term effect could be that Parsons hotels are full of workers while the turbines are constructed, but the long-term effects on area residents, their children and grandchildren might not be so good.
Shaw said Labette County officials probably should be concerned about the project as well.
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