Library from Missouri
The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday that could effectively block one of the nation’s largest wind energy projects by prohibiting its developers from using eminent domain to run a high-voltage power line across the Midwest.
“In light of the recent PSC decision on the Grain Belt Express, the General Assembly will act to protect Missourians from private companies trying to seize their land through eminent domain. The legislation the House is moving forward is vital for many Missourians who otherwise would be forced to allow unreasonable restrictions on their family farms, damaging the value of their land and taking away their private property rights,” Haahr wrote in an official statement this week.
“We’re asking our Missouri farmers and rural areas to give up their land and their rights so that people further east can save on their energy bills? I don’t think that’s good for Missourians,” said Republican Rep. Dean Plocher, the chairman of the committee that advanced the eminent domain legislation. ...At a legislative hearing this week, Marilyn O’Bannon vowed that she and her relatives never would agree to provide easements for the transmission line to pass through about 5 miles of her family’s farmland near Madison.
More than 1,000 wind turbines and associated industries could spring up in western Kansas as a result of the Grain Belt Express. After years of setbacks, the project gained Missouri utility regulators’ approval late last month to proceed.
Thompson said his research has shown that during the last three years there was one day in St. Joseph that had an average daily wind speed of 25 miles per hour and that was in March of 2017. There were around 30 days of wind per year that reached around 15 miles per hour, which produces slightly less than half of their rated capacity, he said. “Many times when the wind blows, it is not at the most beneficial time of day or time of year,” Thompson said.
Landowners drafted a list of 88 questions for the company about the potential impact of the wind farm on their land, their livestock, their crops and their property values during a Saturday meeting. ...The meeting was less than satisfactory, and people were not very happy, Ernst said. “I don’t feel like we got some questions answered that needed to be answered.”
HARRISBURG — A proposed wind farm near Harrisburg by a Chicago company quickly divided this mid-Missouri town over the past month.
Ryan Lidholm, a real estate agent with Weichert, Realtors, said the project might have an impact on property values. Lindholm recounted a home sale where the buyer backed out after learning of the potential wind farm. The uncertainty of the project made the buyer nervous, Lindholm said. “There were so many unknowns,” Lidholm said. “She wasn’t sure she wanted to build her dream home in Harrisburg.”
“We remain committed to defending property rights,” said Jennifer Gatrel, a spokeswoman for Block Grain Belt Express. Gatrel said there’s strong local government opposition to the project along the planned route and she believes many of the eight county commissions will refuse to sign off on needed assents allowing construction.
NextEra Energy has constructed two meteorological evaluation towers, or met towers, to measure wind speed on properties in Washington Township in DeKalb County. However, the township’s board president and other neighbors believe NextEra constructed those towers illegally.
Mckim said the federal tax credits are what allows Nodaway County, and even Missouri as a whole, to become viable. “The stand-alone project may be viable, may be profitable, but it may not be as profitable as another location,” ...McKim said those tax credits allow Nodaway County to be in the wind business.
The company said that the gradual sunset of wind production tax credits starting after 2020 is “certainly a key consideration” that adds some urgency to its push to build up its wind resources.
This company will bully you with lawsuits if they don’t get their way and does nothing to alleviate problems caused ( our local TV signals have been scrambled and my close neighbor has had sound readings of 90-plus decibels recorded from her driveway even though we have a zoning limit of 50).
The meeting’s attendees had the goal in mind of keeping tax revenues from the proposed High Prairie wind farm project in Adair and Schuyler counties, rather than disbursing the tax benefit across the state of Missouri. Because the project will be purchased by Ameren Missouri, a public utility company, after its construction, its taxes would currently be assessed at the state level.
Though still a long way from fruition — or even a concrete application — the prospect of up to about 50 turbines and 200 megawatts has already stoked debate across some of the surrounding farms and growing bedroom communities of Monroe County.
Members of the Missouri Public Service Commission heard from members of the public on the possible positives and pitfalls of a proposal to bring a wind farm to Adair and Schuyler counties at a meeting Tuesday in Schuyler County’s elementary school.
Opposition in Missouri has been fierce as landowners along the proposed route have organized and fought regulatory approvals needed by Grain Belt to bypass landowners. Jennifer Gatrel, a spokeswoman for the landowners’ group, said though Tuesday’s ruling is a setback, her members believe they will ultimately be successful in their fight against the Grain Belt project.
“The overall purpose is to listen to people’s issues with wind energy, both good and bad,” said Joe Lear, Extension’s Northwest Missouri director. “It is really trying to gauge people’s feelings and tell their story a bit ... We’re prepared to listen.” The prospects of more wind farms locating in the state also factored into the planning, he added. He said DeKalb and Atchison counties were both chosen for the meetings based on their number of wind turbines.
Paul Agathen, a lawyer who is spending his retirement representing the opponents without charge, disputed the characterization that the ruling leaves counties with little or no discretion. More litigation may be needed to determine where the line lies, he said.
Carroll said the county had other options at its disposal for pursuing economic development. “There are a lot of other businesses we could have had,” he said. The wind farms, he continued, have been divisive for DeKalb County.