Two wind farm companies have sued the town of Hinton, claiming a recently passed ordinance targeting wind turbines outside the town limits was illegally enacted.
Minco Wind IV LLC and Minco Wind V LLC, affiliates of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, said the town's Jan. 17 ordinance calling their equipment a public nuisance was "intended to restrict and curtail the Minco projects."
The wind farm companies filed lawsuits this week in both Caddo County district court and federal court in Oklahoma City. They want a judge to declare the town ordinance "null, void, and of no legal effect."
"If the ordinance were to be enforced as written, it would bar plaintiffs from developing parts of the already-planned Minco projects," the Caddo County court petition said.
The lawsuit said Hinton adopted the wind turbine ordinance on an emergency basis using authority it voted on in its December meeting. But the lawsuit said the city purported to act under the newly created Regional Planning Commission before it took effect.
"Because the Regional Planning Commission lacked authority to consider and recommend the ordinance to the Town of Hinton, the Town of Hinton likewise lacked authority to pass the ordinance on January 17, 2017," the petition said.
It also said the town failed to give proper notice to Caddo County landowners who might be affected by the ordinance.
Kim Spady, the town's attorney, said Hinton had not yet been officially served with the lawsuit and couldn't comment on specific allegations. But Spady said developers previously met with the town administrator and mayor and indicated they could agree to a two-mile limit.
Hinton is about 50 miles west of Oklahoma City.
NextEra spokesman Bryan Garner said the ordinance was passed to regulate its projects and wind development in the region. He said the company disagreed with the ordinance and didn't think the town had the authority to pass it.
"The people of Hinton and Caddo County should have an opportunity to benefit from the good jobs, millions of dollars in tax benefits and landowner payments and economic boost that wind energy brings to the area," Garner said in an email Friday morning.
The Hinton dispute echoes one from Piedmont in 2013. Piedmont officials had passed an ordinance declaring industrial wind turbines within three miles of the city limits as "public nuisances." The city rescinded the ordinance after reaching a settlement with the developers of the Kingfisher wind project in northern Canadian County and southern Kingfisher County