As others have pointed out, counties can create wind zoning ordinances right now if they so desire, and some have.
The problem LB373 addresses is the fact other counties that have and are hosting wind energy projects have chosen not to enact zoning ordinances. This causes a problem because many citizens in those counties feel like they are being ignored by their elected officials. Sen. Brewer introduced LB373 for this very reason.
The process of enacting zoning is a very public affair, giving all of the citizens numerous opportunities to participate in and be heard. Unfortunately, by not adopting zoning, citizens feel ignored, which perpetuates and fuels division in the community. Quite a few people and groups would like to see no obstacles in front of wind energy development in Nebraska, so they oppose LB373.
The nonparticipating landowner who is forced to be a neighbor to these massive industrial facilities often has a different opinion. The intent of LB373 was to see that the opinions of all the citizens are heard. At the very least, regardless of the zoning ultimately produced from this process, no one will be able to say their voice hadn’t been heard. Perhaps some healing can occur once everyone has had their say.
Only bad ideas have reason to fear the sunlight of the public forum. If wind energy really does have all of the virtues its supporters claim, it should welcome this process.
Tony Baker, Lincoln
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