Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Kansas
Construction of the Smoky Hills Phase I wind site in Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties, KS. Phase I will include 56 - 1.8MW turbines.
Just more than 43 percent of the landowners have signed a formal protest petition stating that they do not want to live in an industrial park. The actual percentage of landowners against this project was closer to 67 percent. ...These are the landowners that live within 1,000 feet of where these intrusive machines are proposed to be built. I use the word intrusive because there is no other way to describe how these 67 percent feel about being forced by others to live under conditions they had not chosen for themselves. Conditions from which the county itself vowed to protect.
As I drove on, I was less amazed and more distraught that anyone would call what I saw, a farm. My uncle is a farmer and his farm doesn't look anything at all like what I saw. The words wind and farm conjure up a friendly pastoral connotation. An image that is harmonious with nature. What I saw is an industrial wasteland. Row after row of huge machines placed menacingly along the highway. They evoke images of the future and the "Terminator," a science-fiction/horror film. It doesn't look anything at all like a farm. The vista looks like a factory, a huge money-making, profit-sucking corporate machine. There weren't any farm hands working the area. Machine after machine of cold hard steel and there was no one working.
Friends in Kansas have been fighting for the past 5 years to protect the world's last Tallgrass prairie ecosystem in the Flint Hills of Kansas from predators. The predators in this case are a bunch of US and foreign "wind farm" developers and lobbyists - who gain cooperation from receptive legislators, regulators and other government officials - plus some electric utility executives who don't have the fortitude to tell political leaders the truth about the real environmental, ecological, economic, scenic and property value costs of wind energy.
The Flint Hills and Smoky Hills are the last largest pieces of contiguous Tallgrass and Mixed Prairie left in North America. They are recognized as “World Class Grasslands” and cannot be duplicated, replaced, or repaired to its original form once it is destroyed. This point was stressed by opponents of the wind farm who attended the afternoon session with the County Commissioners. Speakers included: Virgil Huseman, Zack Grothusen, Rob Manes, Liz and Steve Donley, Ron Klataske, Wayne Bohl, Scott Bohl, Rose Bacon, Mary Jo Huseman, Joan Bohl, Melinda Boeken and Anne Grothusen. Rob Manes of the Nature Conservancy and Ron Klataske of the Audubon Society of Kansas also spoke on behalf of the groups they represent to keep turbines off undisturbed native prairie. The opponents asked that the County Commissioners place a moratorium on the construction of the wind farm until they are fully informed of the consequences of allowing a wind farm to be built in the Smoky Hills which is pristine prairie grass. Rose Bacon who hails from Cottonwood Falls and served on the Governor’s Wind and Prairie Task Force presented information on “industrial wind utility” developments and siting issues associated with them.
NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After two years of traveling and stays in 12 galleries around the state, “Homage to the Flint Hills,” an exhibit of 37 pieces of art (mostly paintings and photographs), will make its last stop at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum March 14-May 31.
Nov. 30--LINDSBORG -- Three opponents of large-scale wind farms explained their reasons Tuesday night in Lindsborg to a group of about 50 people.
Still, I weep for the industrial erosion of this wondrous region, even as land owners rejoice over this new use of their land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The study pointed out that when a community focuses on tourism as a strategy for economic vitality, it is important that they coordinate tourism and other economic development activities. Weak or non-existent planning and zoning, polluting industries, etc. can lower the visitors’ impression and the likelihood of repeat visits. Furthermore, that essential word of mouth advertising, so wonderful when everything works well, can work against a community that fails to keep up its appearance and its offerings (YNG study).