Residents of Palo Alto county and some representatives from Steelhead, an arm of Vestas American Energy gathered at the VFW in Emmetsburg again Wednesday to continue discussion about possible amendments to the ordinance relating to the construction of wind turbines.
Some speakers didn’t want turbines at all to protect conservation areas, but one thing most of the speakers agreed on was the need they felt to ensure any turbines were placed responsibly to protect the land for the future.
Some residents also feared medical and emotional effects of wind turbines near homes and attributed growing social turmoil to the expansion of wind energy.
Other concerns shared by those opposed included real estate value of land with turbines, proximity to the Emmetsburg Airport and other projects and revenue from things like hunters/fishers being offset or delayed due to the construction process of turbines.
There was an increase of speakers in favor of the ordinance changes at the second reading on Wednesday compared to the previous meeting. Many in this camp addressed concerns of bird casualties by stating they have visited several turbines and noticed little to no evidence.
Speakers for the change also reiterated the benefits of the increase of tax and energy revenue and how revolutionary wind energy could be.
Other speakers also countered the claims of danger of the turbines by comparing it to dangers of farming, citing water quality issues stemming from the use of chemicals and other “dangerous materials”.
Dale Opine stressed that the county would have to cover inflation, and it was either raise taxes, or find other sources of income, which he believes this is a great source. He originally was even against turbines until his experience with the construction of one near him.
The Steelhead representatives present at the meeting answered some questions for the supervisors. One of the members of the team in charge of the Lost Island Wind Project said that it is still very early in the planning process and final locations have yet to be mapped out. He says that Vestas is there to hear concerns and try to address them during the project.
The Board of Supervisors approved an extension to the moratorium on the ordinance revision to July 15 and closed the meeting by emphasizing to attendees that these meetings are only for the changes of ordinances at this time, not to pick final locations of turbines. The third and final reading is set to take place on June 22.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding