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Ruling upheld that favors wind turbines

Patricia LaPoint said she wasn't surprised Thursday when an appeals court sided with the wind industry and upheld a lower court ruling that people can't sue simply because they hate the way wind turbines look or sound. "It's not surprising given the politics of wind energy in the state of Texas," said LaPoint, one of a group of rural Taylor County landowners who sued and claimed FPL Energy created a public nuisance by erecting unpleasant-looking and noisy wind turbines at the company's Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. LaPoint's group claimed noisy turbines lowered their property values and stamped out their picturesque views.

Patricia LaPoint said she wasn't surprised Thursday when an appeals court sided with the wind industry and upheld a lower court ruling that people can't sue simply because they hate the way wind turbines look or sound.

"It's not surprising given the politics of wind energy in the state of Texas," said LaPoint, one of a group of rural Taylor County landowners who sued and claimed FPL Energy created a public nuisance by erecting unpleasant-looking and noisy wind turbines at the company's Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center.

LaPoint's group claimed noisy turbines lowered their property values and stamped out their picturesque views.

"There's too many politics and too much money at stake. ... That would prevent anything from being a negative with wind energy in the state of Texas," said LaPoint, who lives on County Road 672 about 28 miles west of Abilene and due west of Tuscola. "There's been a number of these, and I think the judicial process doesn't want to touch it" because it would be "negative for the development of wind energy" in Texas, she said.

LaPoint said the group would seek legal advice before deciding whether to further appeal.

In Thursday's ruling, the 11th... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Patricia LaPoint said she wasn't surprised Thursday when an appeals court sided with the wind industry and upheld a lower court ruling that people can't sue simply because they hate the way wind turbines look or sound.

"It's not surprising given the politics of wind energy in the state of Texas," said LaPoint, one of a group of rural Taylor County landowners who sued and claimed FPL Energy created a public nuisance by erecting unpleasant-looking and noisy wind turbines at the company's Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center.

LaPoint's group claimed noisy turbines lowered their property values and stamped out their picturesque views.

"There's too many politics and too much money at stake. ... That would prevent anything from being a negative with wind energy in the state of Texas," said LaPoint, who lives on County Road 672 about 28 miles west of Abilene and due west of Tuscola. "There's been a number of these, and I think the judicial process doesn't want to touch it" because it would be "negative for the development of wind energy" in Texas, she said.

LaPoint said the group would seek legal advice before deciding whether to further appeal.

In Thursday's ruling, the 11th Court of Appeals concluded the lower court was correct because state law "does not provide a nuisance action for aesthetic impact."

However, the appeals court seemed sympathetic to landowners.

"We do not minimize the impact of FPL's wind farm by characterizing it as an emotional reaction," the judges wrote in the ruling. "Unobstructed sunsets, panoramic landscapes and starlit skies have inspired countless artists and authors and have brought great pleasure to those fortunate enough to live in scenic rural settings. The loss of this view has undoubtedly impacted plaintiffs."

The judges also ruled that the lower court would have to reconsider how much the plaintiffs would pay FPL Energy for its court costs.

Dale Rankin, another of the landowners who sued, said he was reserving comment until he had a chance to read the ruling and confer with counsel. He said he would be willing to comment after doing so.

Attorney Trey Cox of Dallas, representing FPL Energy, told The Associated Press that the company was "very pleased" with the ruling.

"We think it's the right result," Cox said.

Plaintiffs' attorney Steve Thompson, of Houston, did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press or e-mails from the AP seeking comment Thursday.

During the 2006 trial, the opposing sides argued over issues such as the levels of noise that constitute interference with a neighbor's use and enjoyment of property, whether FPL's wind turbines at times created noises rivaling a B-1 bomber's, and the amount and cause of any property devaluation near the wind farm.

The wind farm covers about 60,000 acres and stretches from Taylor County into Nolan County.


Source: http://reporternews.com/new...

AUG 22 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16676-ruling-upheld-that-favors-wind-turbines
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