Articles from Iowa
The bald eagle recovery program in Iowa is perhaps our state’s best wildlife management success story to date, but progress is being lost due to the mass killing of bald eagles by industrial wind turbines. This conflict between industry and environment is now playing out near Fairbank, Iowa located in Fayette County, where shell companies Mason Wind (parent firm is China’s largest naval defense contractor) and Optimum Renewables (parent company is a German wind services firm) are attempting to build their wind farm in an area known for bald eagle habitats.
In order to ensure your project moves forward — even without state approval — you have broadened your approach to include a federal legislative effort. Senate Energy Bill 1017 would grant eminent domain authority despite our state laws. Please understand the depth of staunch and unbending opposition we have to this concept. We are lobbying our Congressional and Senate delegation to prevent you from ever having that tool.
Two Apex Clean Energy representatives approached the Clay County Board of Supervisors last week to discuss the company's proposed Upland Prairie Wind project.
Maintenance issues have plagued the project over the last few years. Today, the owners are faced with repair costs of up to $100,000 to keep the turbines in operation.
A proposed wind farm in Palo Alto County was a main concern during the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, November 17. Several local area farmers as well as representatives from Steier Ag Aviation were on hand to discuss concerns over how a wind farm could potentially affect area farmers.
Backers of the proposed Rock Island Clean Line, a subsidiary of Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, asked the Iowa Utilities Board to put a hold on the technical review as the company determines the process for moving the project forward in Iowa, a Clean Line spokeswoman said Thursday. “The regulatory process in Iowa is unique because companies are required to complete right-of-way acquisition up front before the IUB has determined whether the project is in the public interest,” spokeswoman Sarah Bray said.
Optimum Renewables, on behalf of Mason Wind LLC, withdrew its request for a special permit from Black Hawk County zoning officials to develop a site near Dunkerton before a hearing Tuesday night. The project faced heavy opposition from surrounding property owners.
Opponents said the turbines would take farm land out of production, lower surrounding property values, hinder farming operations and kill birds and other wildlife. Some were concerned about human health impacts.
INDEPENDENCE/FAIRBANK - On Wednesday, Aug. 2, Buchanan County Zoning & Planning Commission met at the Independence Public Health Building to discuss and vote on a request to rezone two parcels in Section 7, Fairbank Township, in proximity to Buchanan County’s Amish settlement. The request seeks permission from the Commission to rezone the site from A1 to A2 for the purpose of leasing out the land to Optimum Renewables for the construction of three small wind turbines at that location.
Jane Albright Lee, whose family farms near the proposed site, said wind farms that have been cropping up across the state are a threat to agriculture. "It's going to come at a steep price for the neighboring farmland, if wind turbines continue to sprout up across America's best agriculture land," she said. "I hope you consider that agriculture is what Iowa is."
Officials estimate the equipment should generate $12,000-$14,000 annually, but has earned far less due to mechanical breakdowns. Instead, it's generated about $4,050 in total profits over the past five years, Crozier said.
At 9:30 a.m. the public hearing regarding the Thomas and Kimberly Rourke rezoning request was held, to rezone 89 acres in Sections 6 & 7, Fairbank Township from A1 agricultural to A2 agricultural for the purpose of constructing three small wind turbines for a small wind energy development. ...most residents that were present for the hearing agreed with the zoning commission’s decision, to deny the request, citing health concerns, concerns for livestock and that fact that the site was too close to town.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing an environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential of issuing incidental take permits for protected bird and bat species if regional wind industry development grows. According to a news release by the service, the states within the plan are Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It is called the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
"On approach, we could see a lot of heavy smoke coming from the turbine," said Manchester. "As we got closer, we were able to see there was quite a bit of flame coming from the top portion of the turbine where the blades attach. We were advised by Iberdrola not to approach the turbine, just due to the safety factor, because there was a lot of debris that was burning and falling off.
A third planning workshop on wind turbine placement rules in Lincoln County saw supporters and opponents using students as ammunition for their arguments Tuesday night in Canton.
“The windmills were a generous gift that served us well for a decade,” said Superintendent Steve Gray. “The first 10 years, they made us money; the last 10 years we’ve gotten as much out of them as we’ve put in; if we keep them 10 more years, they will turn into a money pit and run us a deficit.”
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that county officials failed to follow state law when preparing to condemn more than 2,000 acres of farmland to build a lake ...the case is important because major crude oil pipeline and wind energy transmission line projects are pending before the Iowa Utilities Board, which has yet to determine whether eminent domain may be used to force landowners to sell farmland for the projects.
Black Hawk County supervisors want to ensure a full public airing of any concerns regarding a proposed ordinance that would offer tax breaks for wind turbines, even as little of the apprehension expressed so far relates directly to the proposal.
The war continues, but rural property owners are claiming a victory in what they see as a key battle against the Rock Island Clean Line's proposal to run an electric-power transmission system across the state.
“In our opinion, the RICL transmission line does not serve a public good in the state,” Sheridan said. “No electricity will be used in Iowa. They’re also promoting the development of thousands of wind turbines in western Iowa and South Dakota. If somebody wants to put a bunch of wind turbines on your land, it’s a personal choice. This is not a personal choice."