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Citizens offer wind farm opinions

Most feedback opposed to turbines

DAVENPORT - Two proposed wind farms by Omaha-based Tenaska and Toronto-headquartered Cordelio Power are facing backlash from Lincoln County citizens.

The Record-Times polled online followers this week to gauge what questions readers have surrounding the turbine projects, which are titled "Hawk Creek" and "Lincoln County SW." 72 responses had been received by Monday, Jan. 20 through call, text and online commenting forums.

Of those 72 responses, 70 had voiced their opposition to the wind farms. Two said they were in favor.

Several other readers posed questions they had surrounding the farms, one of which is proposed between Davenport and Reardan and the other of which is proposed in the Harrington area.

When contacted for responses to those questions, Tenaska officials told The Record-Times to go through the 700-plus-employee company's public relations department. That department told the newspaper that no one was available to speak by this week's deadline, which at the time of contact was a 30-hour window following polling of readers.

Staff at the Tenaska/Cordelio Power office in Davenport, 711 Morgan Street, were friendly to the newspaper but said they couldn't speak on behalf of the company.

Previous meetings had been held in Lincoln County to answer questions, including a sparsely-attended meeting in Davenport Jan. 30 and well-attended meetings in Harrington and Reardan last week.

The companies are asking landowners to lease their land for wind turbine construction, offering 30-year leases with payouts over $3 million plus pre-construction rent, crop damage compensation, signing bonuses and construction bonuses.

Many citizens are opposed to the projects, voicing a variety of concerns like fire danger, health and environmental impacts, impacts on county roads and more. Project manager Monte Ten Kley responded to many questions at the Reardan meeting, which was covered in last week's newspaper, but was unavailable for comment on further questions by press time.

Jen Adams of Reardan said she is against the wind farms due to concerns with unknown financial impacts.

"There are too many hidden costs, hidden strings, hidden dangers," Adams said. "The end of the story is often not pleasant with this type of thing."

Lynn Knapp voiced concerns with noise and carbon footprints surrounding the turbines. Ten Kley said at the Reardan meeting that the turbines would operate at a roughly 50-decibel level.

"They are a horrible eye sore and leave a bigger carbon footprint than what the companies tell us," Knapp alleged.

Garrett Sheffels of Wilbur said he wants assurance the companies will compensate any damage from fires caused by turbines or the construction process.

"I'm worried they can escape through bankruptcy court, buy the assets with a new firm at the auction and then screw over the land owner," Sheffels commented.

Ten Kley said in Reardan that the company would work to compensate for any fire damage caused and would assist local firefighters with equipment if necessary.

John Kriete said he is in favor of the turbine projects.

"I think they'll be a good thing," Kriete said. "It's a good renewable resource. Much better than coal power plants that were (proposed) in the early 80s."

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 20, the County Commissioners maintained their stance that they can't tell others what to do with their private property if those happenings are legal. The Commissioners are working on an ordinance requiring that wind and solar companies compensate and amend any damage done to county roads.

Ten Kley said in Reardan that the company plans to compensate road damages.

Any allegation of damage done to state highways would indeed go through the state, Commissioner Rob Coffman confirmed.

Author Bio

Drew Lawson, Editor

Author photo

Drew Lawson is the editor of the Davenport Times. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.


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