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Page County residents air frustration on ‘lack of transparency’ for ‘Shenandoah Hills’ wind farm  

Credit:  Ethan Hewett | KMA | Jul 18, 2022 | www.kmaland.com ~~

(Clarinda) – Residents continue to express their frustrations in Page County over what they say is a lack of information on a proposed wind energy project.

During its regular meeting Monday afternoon, the Page County Board of Supervisors heard from Page County Horizons on continued areas of concern for Invenergy’s proposed “Shenandoah Hills” wind farm, straddling the Page-Fremont County line. The Fremont County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved their portion of the project’s permit application last week, but a decision has yet to be made for Page County. County Resident Jane Stimson says she was disappointed in the Fremont County board’s decision given the variety of what she says are “basic” issues wrong with the application.

“There were townships that were attributed to the wrong counties, that is pathetic, there were roads mislabeled, pathetic,” said Stimson. “Numerous inhabitant houses in Fremont (County), were not even on their map – I’ve heard anywhere from 40 to 70. One person said they were told ‘they didn’t count the uninhabitable houses and the houses that were a wreck.'”

Stimson also inquired whether the board had requested the full environmental report for the project. While not confirming if they have done so, Supervisor Jacob Holmes read from a previous email response the board received when he inquired about the complete reports during a meeting.

“It says ‘all the data gathered during our field surveys in consultation with Iowa DNR and (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services), should not be shared in the Page County permit process as it is not required in the county ordinance nor in any state or federal process,” said Holmes. “Some of it is confidential in nature and can not be shared publicly due to disclosure of sensitive resource locations.”

Stimson also called the Invenergy proposal “sloppy,” citing issues such as the possible FCC hang-up with three turbines within three kilometers of KYFR’s AM transmitter towers and one turbine proposed near the Wabash Trace Nature Trail that falls within a required half-mile setback laid out in the county ordinance for “all other parks or areas” not listed as a state or federal park or managed by Page County Conservation.

County resident Jesse Stimson says he feels there is still some confusion about how any additions within the project’s boundary – which is larger than the proposed turbine area – would be handled.

“I know we’ve heard ‘no, they’re going to have to re-apply for a new proposal and do all the stuff that they had to do for the first one,” said Jesse Stimson. “But, I believe they said prior to that that everything within that blue line would essentially be grandfathered in, so there’s a little bit of confusion that is happening. I think there are already some instances of people questioning whether they’re going to buy a home within that blue line because they think that there are turbines coming.”

He says he believes it would be “worth the county’s money” to seek out a third-party engineering firm to review certain parts of the application and future needs.

“To look over the decommissioning and the road agreements, and if anything else is in the proposal that could use an engineering firm’s expertise,” said Jesse Stimson. “I think that if you’re relying on Invenergy to come up with numbers, that’s a little bit of short-sightedness to me. I think you need a third party really just for the accountability side of it.”

In related business, after a closed session discussion, the board approved extending the timeframe for Ahlers and Cooney to provide legal guidance on inquiries from the board on Invenergy’s permit application – including the proposed project boundary.

Source:  Ethan Hewett | KMA | Jul 18, 2022 | www.kmaland.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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