A petition complaining about a wind project proposed in northeastern South Dakota was dismissed Thursday by the state Public Utilities Commission.
Opponent Garry Ehlebracht and five others, all from the Goodwin area, had attorney Arvid.J. Swanson of Canton file the petition April 15 against Crowned Ridge II.
They said it would hurt their health, safety and welfare, infringe on their property rights and threaten serious injury to the environment and the people of the area.
Crowned Ridge II would have up to 132 turbines across parts of Codington, Deuel and Grant counties. The NextEra Energy Resources project would generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity.
Northern States Power, also known as Xcel Energy, will buy the project when it’s complete.
Commission staff attorney Kristen Edwards said Thursday the petition didn’t seek any specific relief. She asked the commissioners to dismiss it.
“We didn’t file this to be coy or not be forthcoming,” Edwards said.
Miles Schumacher, a Sioux Falls lawyer representing the project, questioned whether the petition was appropriate.
None of the interveners or their attorney was in the Capitol meeting room or on the conference call.
Commission Chairman Gary Hanson said nuisance and trespass issues should be first handled at the county level.
Hanson noted, “The record will be expanded as we go through the evidentiary hearing process.”
A hearing date hasn’t been set. NextEra applied for the South Dakota permit April 1. The commission has six months to reach a decision.
Commissioner Chris Nelson said zoning issues covered in the petition should be resolved at the ballot box or in circuit court. He said the Legislature sets the laws that govern South Dakota’s permit process.
The commission and some staff will travel to the Watertown Event Center for a Wednesday, May 22 public-input meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. to hear from citizens about the project. The center is at 1901 Ninth Avenue SW.
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