Fremont County citizen’s group files lawsuit against county over wind energy regulations
Credit: Ethan Hewett | Jan. 26, 2023 | kmaland.com ~~
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A local citizen’s group has filed a lawsuit in Iowa District Court against Fremont County regarding alleged mishandlings of regulating wind turbines in the county.
According to a press release from the offices of Lawyers Shawn Shearer and Theodore Sporer, a 60-page petition outlining at least 20 separate allegations has been filed into district court in Fremont county to “express frustrations with the county’s Board of Supervisors” and their attempts to regulate wind turbines. According to the release, allegations include the board failing to comply with their own ordinances and the laws of Iowa requiring proper notice, open public proceedings, and legally required publications of county ordinances.
The filing into state court also comes as Page County is also in a legal battle with residents regarding wind energy, with its respective case currently awaiting a ruling in the federal Southern District of Iowa court. However, lawyers representing the Fremont County petitioners state the timelines and facts are not identical.
The full release from Shearer and Sporer is available below:
2023 blew into Iowa District Court for Fremont County yesterday with an opening salvo from a local citizen’s group. In Jennings et al v. Fremont County et al, Petitioners expressed frustration with the southwest Iowa county’s Board of Supervisors’ alleged mishandling of attempts to construct wind turbines.
In a 60-plus page filing containing more than 20 separate claims, petitioners argue, among other things, that the Fremont County Board of Supervisors failed to comply with their own ordinances and the laws of Iowa requiring proper notice, open public proceedings, and legally required publication of county ordinances. Co-counsel for petitioners, Shawn Shearer of Des Moines, said “Fremont County demonstrated in 2001 when it adopted its ordinance addressing the construction of cell phone towers that it knows full well how to comply with Iowa statutory law. Our petition states that the board’s conduct with regard to the proposed construction of wind turbines contradicts statutory requirements known to them. My clients are aware of this discrepancy and our petition requests that the Iowa District Court stop further momentum toward construction of wind turbines in Fremont County until the board – at the minimum – complies with their own ordinances and the statutory law of the State of Iowa. To this date, the board has failed to do either.”
While Fremont County geographically adjoins Page County – already four months into their litigation against their own Board of Supervisors on the matter of wind energy – the timelines and facts are not identical. Co-counsel Theodore Sporer, also of Des Moines, said “Each county has it’s own unique set of circumstances here but a common thread is that both sets of petitioners demand that their Board of Supervisors uphold its duties and obligations both to the counties themselves and the laws of the State of Iowa, as each petition has stated.
Mr. Shearer said that his clients feel that litigation is the only option left to them to force their board into compliance. “Many citizens of Fremont County, including our clients, have made their opinions about the way in which wind energy has been allowed to force itself into their county known in meetings and in writing – and their board appears to have not listened. Upon examination of the facts brought to Mr. Sporer and me, our conclusion as plead in the petition – is that this Board of Supervisors is, regrettably, doing it wrong.” Mr. Sporer adds “We look forward to hearing the answer from Fremont County and the other respondents to the allegations contained in our petition.
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