Lincoln County, S.D. -- Next Tuesday's big vote in Lincoln County is not about banning wind farms, it's about making them safer.
That's the take of the President of We Care South Dakota, Dave Brouwer, near Beresford.
"What this vote does have to do with is a safe setback, a distance from a home that is occupied by people and an industrial wind turbine," Brouwer explains to KELO.COM News. Brouwer says the current half-mile setback will better protect people from the noise and health issues, he says, are associated with wind turbines.
The other side of the hot button issue wants you to vote to return to less stringent setbacks, claiming the half-mile requirement could effectively kill wind farm projects in Lincoln County.
Brouwer counters that there is an exception in the ordinance that allows a proposed wind farm to have its turbines closer than a half mile if all the affected property owners agree.
"There's a waiver possibility in that new ordinance, so it gives them that possibility. Is it more work for them? Certainly it's more work for them, but if this project is all that they claim it is, they should be able to do it," says Brouwer.
Dakota Power Community Wind has been trying for years to develop a big wind farm project in southern Lincoln County, emphasizing that it's clean energy and will bring millions of tax dollars to the growing county.
July 18, voters will decide to stick with the new setbacks approved by the County Commission by voting 'Yes' or return to earlier, more accommodating requirements by voting 'No'.