Article

El Paso County commissioners approve wind farm changes, say views not guaranteed

Despite the lengthy meeting and late hour, about 100 people stayed for the vote, and there were shouts of disapproval. "You've ruined my property," some yelled. In early January, the county's planning commission recommended against the change, citing health risks, equipment eyesores and infringing on private property.

Nearly 15 hours after they began, the El Paso County commissioners voted unanimously late Thursday to approve a change to a controversial wind farm project.

NextEra Energy Resources, the owner of the project, plans to reroute sections of a 29-mile above-ground power line that stretches across the plains surrounding Calhan and Falcon. The commissioners approved the wind farm in 2013 with a plan for buried power lines, but NextEra wanted to change to above-ground lines.

About 11:45 p.m. Thursday, the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the proposed change. Commissioner Sallie Clark was absent.

Despite the lengthy meeting and late hour, about 100 people stayed for the vote, and there were shouts of disapproval. "You've ruined my property," some yelled.

In early January, the county's planning commission recommended against the change, citing health risks, equipment eyesores and infringing on private property.

But commissioners said property owners are not guaranteed a view free of such things as power lines, and there was no evidence that they posed a health concern.

Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who made the motion to approve the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Nearly 15 hours after they began, the El Paso County commissioners voted unanimously late Thursday to approve a change to a controversial wind farm project.

NextEra Energy Resources, the owner of the project, plans to reroute sections of a 29-mile above-ground power line that stretches across the plains surrounding Calhan and Falcon. The commissioners approved the wind farm in 2013 with a plan for buried power lines, but NextEra wanted to change to above-ground lines.

About 11:45 p.m. Thursday, the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the proposed change. Commissioner Sallie Clark was absent.

Despite the lengthy meeting and late hour, about 100 people stayed for the vote, and there were shouts of disapproval. "You've ruined my property," some yelled.

In early January, the county's planning commission recommended against the change, citing health risks, equipment eyesores and infringing on private property.

But commissioners said property owners are not guaranteed a view free of such things as power lines, and there was no evidence that they posed a health concern.

Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who made the motion to approve the changes, said there was no violation of residents' property rights.

"Our property rights end at the end of our property line, that's the way it is," she said.

Commission Chairman Dennis Hisey said he thought the transmission line project had a poor design, but "you really don't own a view."

"The uncertainty is the worst part, not knowing what they will look like," he said. "But once the poles are in, we'll forget them."

The proposed route stirred controversy among residents who fear the wind farm and all that comes with it will destroy their way of life.

But some farmers and ranchers argued that the board's decision could usher in needed economic prosperity to a region where the agricultural way of life has been dying.

NextEra began the board's meeting at 9 a.m., and after it spent a couple of hours discussing the project, scores of residents in support of or against the project took the microphone.

Testimony also included a Canadian environmental health expert who refuted claims that emissions from the towers would have negative health effects.

The only break in the marathon session was a 7 p.m. pause for dinner and an executive session called for by County Attorney Amy Folsom to advise the commissioners and to discuss agenda items, she said.


Source: http://gazette.com/el-paso-...

FEB 7 2015
http://www.windaction.org/posts/42140-el-paso-county-commissioners-approve-wind-farm-changes-say-views-not-guaranteed
back to top