The Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project board heard Tuesday evening from a number of people who oppose developing renewable energy on the property owned by the project.
The NCORPE board voted to table the contract with Invenergy, a renewable energy company that has been in discussions with NCORPE, according to general manager Kyle Shepherd.
During the open forum, many people in the audience shared their opinions about the possible contract. Of the 20 or so people who voiced their opinion, all were opposed to the idea, and when they were done, Mike Kelly of Sutherland asked a question:
“Is there anyone in this room besides the board that is in favor of this wind energy project?”
No one in the room raised their hand.
The details of the contract have not been released because NCORPE and Invenergy are still in negotiation. The board went into executive session to discuss the Invenergy contract.
“This is the craziest idea I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Lincoln County resident Kirk Olson. “It is absolutely the worst.”
Olson said the proposed wind farm is a project he does not understand.
“We’re putting it on a project, a piece of ground that was shoved down our throat,” Olson said. “Nobody ever disputed what you had to do with the water project, but what we do dispute is what you’ve done with the land.”
The ongoing dispute has been about whether the 19,500 acres should be sold back into private ownership and put back on public tax rolls.
“If this wind farm needed to be somewhere, it should be on private property,” Olson said. “It shouldn’t be for an NRD to decide where it’s going to go and how it’s going to be disputed.”
Sen. Mike Groene also spoke against the project.
“Of the four NRDs involved, of the 46 total board members, only nine reside in Lincoln County and represent Lincoln County residents,” Groene said. “NCORPE should keep their activities solely to the purpose it was created, to augment the flow to the Republican and Platte rivers with precious Lincoln County groundwater.”
Groene urged the board members who do not reside in Lincoln County to abstain from voting on the proposal.
Since it was part of the public forum, the board did not answer questions or respond to comments.
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