EUREKA — An ongoing disagreement over the filing of a decommissioning report between Woodford County and the Minonk Wind Farm appears headed to court.
“It’s going to court,” said Jason Jording, a member of the county board conservation, zoning and planning committee. “There are issues that need to be decided. There is no good faith being shown.”
The committee turned the matter over to Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger.
Wind farm representative April Meyer admitted there had been “communication issues” between her company and the county, adding it is not in the best interests of either party to go to court.
The special use permit currently held by Minonk Wind Farm LLC was born in controversy and its issuance strongly opposed by members of previous county boards and strongly favored by others.
However, once the wind farm was built, in operation and ownership transferred, the controversy centered on the decommissioning report.
Under the terms of the special use, Minonk Wind Farm must provide an update of its decommissioning report every three years. The report is supposed to give details on what it would cost to tear down the turbines when the wind farm goes out of business.
The wind farm also is required to issue a letter of credit proving it has those money available to do that work.
Built in 2009, Minonk Wind Farm did not provide the county with an updated decommissioning report until this year. Last year, the county hired an independent engineering company to create an updated report, which the wind farm initially agreed to pay for. The company later changed its mind and provided a simplified report of its own.
“We are now at, what I believe is an impasse,” Jording recently told the county board. “We have the right to hire outside legal counsel.”
Board member Tom Karr said he did not want to see the county end up with a big legal bill.
“The last thing I want to do is go to court,” Karr said. “We don’t have attorneys locally to handle this; we would get a terrible bill. I’m not willing to take the chance we’re gonna win and somebody else is 'gonna pay.”