Articles from Kansas
But Larry Patton, a landowner in Chase County who opposes wind farms and operates the "Protect the Flint Hills" Web site, said the project is even worse than people feared. "I think most people I talk to agree that it's more industrial than most thought it was going to be," he said. "It just dominates that landscape out there."
Event will build on tourism potential of the Flint Hills
Dr. Lee Allison, director of the science and energy policy office for Governor Kathleen Sebelius, presented information on a topic that is circulating much controversy these days in McPherson County -- wind energy.
Turbines are starting to spin in southeast Butler County, Kansas. Source: El Dorado Times
Rose Bacon, member of the Governor's Energy Task Force and a rancher who owns property in the Flint Hills, spoke about the vulnerability of communities facing proposals from international companies that want to build commercial wind farms in rural areas. She pointed to the lack of “teeth” in regulations, and the attractive tax write-offs granted to wind energy companies, and the inexperience of local officials in dealing with such monstrous deals, depicting a state-wide scenario akin to the “wildcatter days in the oil business.”
Environmentalists fought against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, fearing it would spoil one of the last pristine places and that the rigs and access roads would hurt caribou. These are very close to the arguments against filling places like the Flint Hills with turbines.
We would all like to find a clean, renewable answer to our energy needs. Wind turbines don’t provide that answer.
Manhattan (Kansas) benefits greatly from the scenic and intrinsic values of Flint Hills ranching landscapes and the from the stewardship of ranch landowners who struggle to preserve a way of life in the Flint Hills in Riley County and the two adjacent counties to the south and southeast.
“America can't afford to have an energy policy that's tailored to what's "in" politically. We need to focus our efforts on expanding meaningful alternatives to fossil fuels that can have a major impact on achieving energy security and reducing global warming.”
All too often I hear an enthusiastic statement that wind generators will replace the power plant and become the singular source of our energy supply. Despite what the infrequent visitor to western Kansas may think, the wind does not always blow. Consumers want to turn on the television or do the wash at any time, illustrating that the demand for electricity is present even when the wind is not blowing.
Scientists compare the environmental importance of the tallgrass prairie to that of the rainforest. Its roots act as a carbon sink, cleansing the air of pollution. Its plants and limestone soils purify rainwater. Per acre, it provides more environmental benefits than any other ecosystem in North America.
With increasing resistance to wind turbine industrialization in Europe and other U.S. states, it makes no public policy sense to allow the Flint Hills to be ripped up while people throughout the world voice concern about the negative impact of industrial wind turbines on the general health and welfare of inhabitants.
There is less than 4% of native tallgrass prairie left in North America, and two-thirds of it is right here. Once you have experienced the spaciousness and exceptional beauty of open native grasslands, you know there is nothing in the world quite like it. These native grasslands are truly a national as well as a Kansas treasure.
there are few if any places in the entire Midwest more worthy of preservation as an example of the great Midwestern prairie than those Wabaunsee County vistas
Money will not purchase balm for our eyes or salve for the spirit: a place of beauty provides these. The Flint Hills provides.
He had been charmed by the spirit of our grassland, and kept coming back.
We should not let wind power's "green" image trick us into abandoning the principle that some places and some species should be saved for their own sakes. We should reject the argument that everything must be "useful," that every place and every aspect of life should be commercialized.
Although my research started with the visual and spatial aspects of WECSs, and continues to be focused on WECSs effects on “landscape character” i.e. impacts on the spatial environment, with implications for cultural values and social systems of our region. I am equally concerned about the predictable negative effects of WECSs on the natural systems of the Flint Hills. I am concerned about serious cumulative effects and the degradation of: the visual character of our environment; the social fabric of communities that are facing the prospect of WECS-C; the health of biological, ecological components of our regional ecosystem; and the long term viability of our local, increasingly “nature-based” economy.
Manhattan and Riley County certainly have legitimate governmental interests in the development of the corridor, the promotion of tourism and protection of the tallgrass prairie.
Consider this: We could be looking at 1,000 or more wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty on the high ridges of the Flint Hills, and they would contribute only about one-tenth of 1 percent of our current electricity use. That simply isn't worth the destruction of our unique Tallgrass Prairie land resource.