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Sen. Brewer: Engaged local citizens get results

A large, 50-turbine wind energy facility is planned for northern Gage County, Nebraska. It is not surprising the citizens in the area are up in arms about it. Like they have in the Sandhills and in counties all over Nebraska, citizens are organizing and are actively resisting the plague of wind energy infecting their county and ruining the quality of their lives.

The Gage County Alliance for Wise Wind Energy Decisions invited me to attend a meeting of the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission last week. I was joined by my colleague Sen. Myron Dorn, who represents that county. The question before them was should the minimum setback (distance from a residence) of an industrial wind turbine be increased from three-eighths of a mile to 1 mile in the county zoning regulations? The high school auditorium had about 200 concerned citizens and scores of them provided public comment. The overwhelming majority were in favor of the 1-mile setback.

I have attended quite a few wind energy meetings like this in counties all over the state. Several I’ve seen got pretty rowdy, but not this one. The people were polite and respectful. The commissioners were engaged and asked a number of good questions. I was proud to see my fellow Nebraskans gather together and play their part in their county government. The more local government is, the better it is, and the people and commissioners of Gage County provided a splendid example of this.

People all over Nebraska are waking up to the truth about wind energy. It is not “green” or good for the environment. It slaughters wildlife and is near impossible to dispose of at the end of their service life. Wind energy isn’t “free” either. Utilities companies have costs associated with bringing wind energy into the electrical grid, and those are passed on to the ratepayers. Wind energy isn’t reliable and can never replace a conventional power plant. Nebraska doesn’t need the power. We have enough surplus electricity in the state to power a second city of Lincoln. The only reason wind energy is built is to make money off an incredibly wasteful federal government subsidy program.

It says “The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen” above the north door of the capitol in Lincoln. Like their fellow Nebraskans from the Sandhills and all over the state, who are fighting to protect their private property rights, the good people of Gage County have certainly lived up to that standard, and I salute them.

The planning and zoning commissioners voted 6-1 to extend the setback to one mile.