Nearly 650 wind turbines in a 30-mile radius, plus the largest transmission line in the state with towers reaching 150-200’ tall – taller than our water towers… That is what Nemaha County residents can look forward to in their future. The view from your vehicle, tractor, or deck will change dramatically in the next two years as Nemaha County becomes industrialized. The new wind turbines will be 500’ tall – that’s 100’ taller than the approximately 40 you see north of Bern and west of Axtell. The Soldier Creek project in the Goff-Corning-Centralia corridor was approved by commissioners last week and will consist of 120 turbines. The Pony Express project is projected to be 800 MW, which equates to 320 turbines spanning northern Nemaha County and into northwestern Brown County. The Irish Creek wind project was recently announced west of Vermillion in Marshall County and will host approximately 120 turbines. Much land is leased outside of these areas, suggesting even more could be coming. Where will it end? Questions: How “green” is this energy when you consider waste disposal, all the impacts of hauling and infrastructure, and the backup power needed when the wind isn’t blowing? What will happen with the turbine blades and non-recyclable components someday? Will the decommissioning agreements hold up and will the county be able to access the moneys if it comes to that? Will the impact on bats, which the wind industry acknowledges, have a negative consequence to farming? Will it impact other wildlife/animals, people, or property values? Will our electricity prices rise due to infrastructure costs? Will the wind industry fall apart if the government subsidies go away? Will we as a society regret allowing “big wind” to greenwash and steamroll through rural America without first carefully considering the long-term consequences, as they collect billions of dollars of profits and taxpayer funding along the way? Is it too late to stop them? Nemaha County commissioners have a moratorium in place until May to pause further wind negotiations. It will have been a year since that was executed with the intent to do comprehensive planning which could lead to zoning regulations. However, confidence in our current commissioners is at an all-time low after the disappointing and inadequate terms of the agreements were released. And the wheels of a comprehensive plan have barely moved. Our elected officials have heard my so-called “minority” voice – but have they heard yours?
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