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County halts windmill tower leases  

Credit:  Thurman heads up review in face of 300 in opposition to wind farm | By Dan Swanson | KMLF-LD Channel 30.1 (NCN) | central.newschannelnebraska.com ~~

NEBRASKA CITY – Otoe County commissioners’ moratorium on applications for windmill turbine permits will halt finalization of any more leases between the county’s landowners and energy producers.

Commissioner Jim Thurman, who is heading up a county review on wind turbine regulations and an outlook on future energy needs, said some landowners have already signed leases for a proposed wind farm of 18 to 56 turbine towers from Panama in Lancaster County to Douglas in Otoe County.

Thurman said county commissioners will consider if wind farms meet regulations, but the Otoe County Planning Commission can consider public reaction when deciding to issue a conditional use permit.

Thurman: “Over the past few weeks we’ve received quite a bit of opposition through phone calls and e-mails from people who actually live in the area, so we wanted to slow things down a little bit. At the last county commissioner meeting, we approved a review, which I’m going to do, and we put a moratorium up to 12 months so no more leases could be signed.”

He said the Florida-based energy company has had little communications with the county board, but has already signed leases with some landowners to put turbines on their property.

Thurman said he suspects the leases are with absentee landowners who do not live in the area.

Thurman said while the moratorium may not impact the existing leases, it will not allow any new leases.

Thurman said his review will include regulations in adjacent counties with understanding there are 300 people in opposition to the proposed Panama wind farm.

Thurman: “As Otoe County, we need to decide if wind turbine farms are something we want in Otoe County.”

He said the county commissioners did make room to place wind turbines when it established regulations in 2016, but said he will be looking at impacts on property values and proximity to homes to see if changes are needed to the current regulations.

Thurman and Commissioner Dan Crownover will meet with the planning commission regarding the regulations.

Thurman: “I will be providing the information to them of adjacent counties and just the follow up the people who are opposed of it and those who are in favor and getting a broad picture for them to make a decision.”

Thurman said all five county commissioners and members of the county planning commission are planning to attend the May 11 meeting in Syracuse, if NextEra Energy goes through with its presentation.

Source:  Thurman heads up review in face of 300 in opposition to wind farm | By Dan Swanson | KMLF-LD Channel 30.1 (NCN) | central.newschannelnebraska.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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