PIERRE, S.D. – Deuel Harvest Wind Energy shouldn’t get a state permit for a project proposed in Deuel County, Christina Kilby argued Wednesday to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
The three commissioners however unanimously decided to proceed to the permit hearing scheduled for next month.
Commission Chairman Gary Hanson said Kilby raised good questions that required further study.
“This is very troubling, the information that has been provided here,” Hanson said.
Kilby, a resident of Burnsville, MN, said the company made “significant misstatements” about setbacks and an eagle’s nest in the project area.
Kilby said the application also didn’t include enough information about the configuration, hasn’t shown demand for the electricity, has business arrangements with two officials who have participated in the siting and hasn’t proven it can meet all laws and rules.
The company wants to build 112 turbines in Portland, Lowe, Altamont, Glenwood, and Herrick townships.
Lisa Agrimonti, a Minneapolis lawyer representing the project, said Kilby’s arguments were premature and should be presented during the contested case hearing in April.
Agrimonti said the company “adamantly” disagreed with all of Kilby’s claims. Agrimonti said Kilby’s interest wasn’t clear.
On the phone with Agrimonti was Michael Svedeman, project manager for Invenergy, the develoment company based in Denver, CO.
The commission plans a four-day hearing starting April 15.
The commission’s staff didn’t take a position on Kilby’s denial motion, staff lawyer Amanda Reiss said.
Kilby said she included with her motion a copy of the Deuel County zoning officer’s contract with the company.
Kilby said it seemed “patently unfair” that a large company could leave so many facts “up in the air” three weeks before the hearing.
Kilby said her parents own property in a township neighboring the project area.
Agrimonti acknowledged that two Deuel County Commission members who had contracts with the developer participated in the siting decision.
“What troubles me most are the conflicts of interest,” chairman Hanson said.
Commissioner Chris Nelson disagreed with Hanson on that point. “I don’t believe that’s within our purview,” Nelson said.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said she would have “many questions” for “people under oath” at the evidentiary hearing.
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