Rumors of a potential third wind farm in Marion County turn out to be untrue.
County commissioners have clearly heard the rumor. Commissioner Dianne Novak, speaking at a recent commission meeting, said she’s heard talk that a wind farm is signing lease agreements in the Goessel area.
Commissioner Jonah Gehring said he’d been contacted about a wind farm allegedly recruiting for leases in the Goessel area as well.
NextEra Energy did sign some leases in the Goessel area about three years ago before McPherson County, where the company proposed to build a wind farm, imposed a moratorium because they wanted to find out whether turbines would interfere with their newly-installed 911 system. A company official said NextEra is not working on a project in the area.
Although Gehring said he’d been contacted by more than one person, the only one he would name is Expedition Wind farm opponent David Marsh.
Those who have talked to him have questioned whether seated planning and zoning commissioner Dwight Flaming would make an unbiased decision in any vote regarding any wind farm, since Flaming’s wife, Tammy, signed such a lease with NextEra.
“My thought is they wouldn’t do all this work unless they didn’t want him,” Gehring said. “That’s obviously coming at me from a biased viewpoint.”
Flaming said his wife did sign a lease with the NextEra company three years ago, when NextEra was looking to build a wind farm in McPherson County.
The Flamings own property in both counties.
McPherson County finance manager and administrator Rick Witte said NextEra has made no further efforts to move forward with developing a wind farm there.
Flaming said he and his wife have heard nothing further from the company about renewing the lease on their property, which is set to expire soon.
Gehring, who has been pondering whether Flaming should remain on the board since his judgment was questioned, now said his concern “is whether people have faith that he’ll make the right decisions.”
“I guess I’ll have to talk to him,” Gehring said.
Gehring said his understanding is that Flaming’s first term will expire at the end of the year.
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