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Firm: Rules would kill wind project

The company that plans a wind farm in the Valley says a proposed three-mile setback from homes would kill the project. Mark Jacobson, business development director for Chicago-based Invenergy, told the San Miguel County Commission this week that the three-mile rule would be far more than what other counties with wind farms require.

The company that plans a wind farm in the Valley says a proposed three-mile setback from homes would kill the project.

Mark Jacobson, business development director for Chicago-based Invenergy, told the San Miguel County Commission this week that the three-mile rule would be far more than what other counties with wind farms require.

His firm proposed the county go with a 1,500-foot setback - or a little more than a quarter of a mile. Many counties have setbacks as short as 750 feet, Jacobson said.

In early 2009, the county enacted a moratorium on wind farms and formed a task force to update the county's 7-year-old ordinance dealing with wind farms.

To this day, the county still doesn't have wind turbines, and Invenergy hasn't submitted an application yet for the its proposed wind farm on the Bernal mesa.

Last year, the task force proposed an eight-mile setback from homes, but the industry complained that such a standard would eliminate just about every area in the county.

The county then changed the makeup of the task force, saying it wanted to include more viewpoints.

But at a hearing this week, Jacobson and other wind-farm proponents contended that the task force was... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The company that plans a wind farm in the Valley says a proposed three-mile setback from homes would kill the project.

Mark Jacobson, business development director for Chicago-based Invenergy, told the San Miguel County Commission this week that the three-mile rule would be far more than what other counties with wind farms require.

His firm proposed the county go with a 1,500-foot setback - or a little more than a quarter of a mile. Many counties have setbacks as short as 750 feet, Jacobson said.

In early 2009, the county enacted a moratorium on wind farms and formed a task force to update the county's 7-year-old ordinance dealing with wind farms.

To this day, the county still doesn't have wind turbines, and Invenergy hasn't submitted an application yet for the its proposed wind farm on the Bernal mesa.

Last year, the task force proposed an eight-mile setback from homes, but the industry complained that such a standard would eliminate just about every area in the county.

The county then changed the makeup of the task force, saying it wanted to include more viewpoints.

But at a hearing this week, Jacobson and other wind-farm proponents contended that the task force was still one-sided.

He said the task force didn't have a consensus and didn't take into account the industry's suggestions.

"Any setback measured in miles - whether it's one, two or three miles - doesn't represent industry standards anywhere in the country," Jacobson said.

He said the county's task force went with three miles as a compromise but that it had no documentation to support such a decision.

He also said the provisions of the proposed ordinance regulating wind farms' noise were too restrictive.

He recommended that the county hold an evening meeting when it votes on an ordinance so that working people could attend.

County Commission Chairman David Salazar rejected that idea, saying residents were used to the time the commission usually meets.

He also said the county doesn't go by industry standards, saying it had to do what was best for residents.

Invenergy had the backing of the Farm Bureau and a number of farmers and ranchers during the public hearing.

But some residents from the Valley said the company's proposed project would be too noisy and ugly.

Gloria Luz Gonzales, a Valley resident and task force member, said the wind farm would impact residents' lifestyles.

"We are supportive of industrial wind energy where it can be supported and be away from communities," she said.

She contended there was documentation to support the three-mile setback, saying that a study from Los Alamos National Laboratory said that the setback was appropriate.

"Let's not say that someone pulled that number out of their hat," she said.

Bill Madison, owner of Madison Vineyards in the Valley, said the wind farm would destroy the view of the mesa.

"The mesa will be destroyed because of money and greed," he said.

However, Roberto Rios, executive director of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corporation, said the United States was a capitalistic society.

"Mr. Madison makes money as a capitalist running a winery. I don't know anyone here who is independently wealthy," he said.

Rios said two other wind-related companies have approached his office with interest in setting up wind turbines in the area. But they are waiting to see what the county does with its wind-farm rules.

• • •

The commission decided to hold off on approving a resolution that would begin the official process of considering the proposed wind ordinance. The commissioners agreed to take up that resolution at their regular meeting on Tuesday.

Chairman Salazar said the commission had a difficult decision ahead, saying its ultimate decision wouldn't make everyone happy. He said the commission had to create an ordinance with the whole county in mind, not just the Valley, which he represents.

"I have friends and family on both sides (of this issue)," he said.

If the resolution passes next week, the commission could vote on the ordinance as early as September.


Source: http://www.lcni5.com/cgi-bi...

AUG 6 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/27596-firm-rules-would-kill-wind-project
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