OSWEGO – Labette County commissioners on Monday heard more about the potential for development of a wind farm in Labette County.
Dave Oas of Parsons and Mel Hass of rural Oswego met with commissioners. Hass made a presentation last week on wind farm development in DeKalb County, Illinois, and his experience of living among wind turbines and selling his property after it was developed. Oas, a former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper, has visited with commissioners on several occasions about wind farm developments encroaching into Labette County.
He said he knows of two landowners who have been approached to sign leases with wind farm developers. Oas said he could not release their names.
One of the landowners would not say if he signed a lease. The other said he didn’t sign leases in Labette or Neosho counties where he has land.
“So they are here. They are present,” Oas said of the developers.
On Monday, Oas shared 10 questions with commissioners that he thinks government officials and landowners should ask before any wind development is allowed to proceed in the county.
He reviewed a couple of the questions with commissioners but left them a copy because of time constraints. One question related to who would benefit from the project’s energy produced.
Oas said wind power generated in Allen County now and Neosho County once the turbines go online will be sold to utility companies. The energy will not benefit the county where the turbines are located.
He also discussed the future ownership of the wind farms. He said the developers, like Apex Clean Energy in Neosho County, will likely sell the projects before the turbines go online.
Oas also discussed his analysis of the 2013 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study that discussed property sales near wind farms. The study looked at 51,276 home sales near 67 wind farms in 27 counties in the U.S. All homes in the study area were within 10 miles of a wind farm, 1,198 sales were within a mile of a turbine and 331 sales were within a half of a mile of a turbine.
In the Neosho Ridge Wind project, many non-participating homes are less than 2,000 feet from a turbine.
“This isn’t even close to equating what we can expect here,” Oas said of the 2013 study.
His parting message to commissioners and landowners was not to take developers’ information as gospel, nor should people take his word as gospel. Oas encouraged landowners and commissioners to do their own research.
Commission Chairman Doug Allen said commissioners had to balance equities.
In other matters, commissioners:
— Met new Great Plains Development Authority Director Brad Reams.
— Discussed needed repairs on 3000 Road and the possibility of chipping and sealing Hickory Street in Mound Valley. Commissioner Lonie Addis wanted the city to be responsible for that cost because it has taxing authority. Commissioner Fred Vail noted that county road crews chipped and sealed the road in 2015.
— Heard that the repairs to the leaking drain pans in the roof at the Labette County Judicial Center have been repaired. However, a leak was still present in the county attorney’s office over the weekend.
— Met in closed session for 15 minutes with County Counselor Brian Johnson. No action followed.
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