It wouldn’t be a county commission meeting without heated discussion of wind farms and roads.
Monday, the topics combined when Enel Green Power’s David Mueller presented letters from 26 of Enel’s Diamond Vista wind farm property owners asking the county to fire the firm overseeing Enel’s compliance with road reconstruction standards.
“They’re mad,” Mueller said. “They’re very, very upset.”
After lengthy discussion, the issue appeared be that some landowners thought they were being forced to use only designated roads to haul leftover rock, donated by Enel, to their private drives.
“Every step of the way,” Mueller said, “they’re being told they have to stay on the haul route,” a designated set of roads Enel must repair after its heavy equipment uses them.
However, one of two representatives of the oversight firm, Kirkham Michael, denied that it had forbidden farmers permission to use whatever roads they needed.
“So what’s the issue?” commission chairman Kent Becker asked.
Other questions appeared to focus on Kirkham Michael requiring Enel to grade two inches of uncompacted gravel atop roads, as specified by contract, even though grading would raise dust and uncompacted rock was being pulverized or washing away.
The letters also made reference to Kirkham Michael supposedly receiving directions from a lone county commissioner, although all three commissioners individually denied that.
“These are the same landowners who asked us to do away with Kirkham Michael when we first hired them,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.
“And maybe you should have listened,” Mueller responded.
He went on to say that Kirkham Michael no longer was needed now that the county has hired a county engineer.
Nearly 45 minutes of discussion ensued with each side offering examples of problems supposedly created or resolved by Enel or Kirkham Michael.
In the end, all parties seemed to agree better communication was needed.