Library from Missouri
The proposed project has met stiff opposition from concerned residents who have organized against the effort. The county currently has a moratorium on all wind energy applications until the zoning board decides what, if any, amendments they would propose.
The Clinton County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday, February 2, to sign off on an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinances placing a moratorium on all wind energy applications until the planning and zoning board can review – and potentially amend – their wind energy regulations.
The moratorium approved Friday comes in the form of an amendment to the county’s zoning order. At the end of the meeting, despite a vague attempt by the board to clarify, it was unclear if the planning and zoning board’s vote meant the moratorium amendment would be enacted immediately or if there was more to the process.
The small Mississippi River city of Hannibal, Mo., best known as the site of Mark Twain’s boyhood home, could play a big role in a developer’s effort to win regulatory approval for a $2.2 billion wind energy superhighway across the Midwest.
The following is the speech that I gave at the Clinton County Planning and Zoning Board meeting on January 22, 2016 that I would like to share with your readers.
“In some of the rural communities, we see this as an invasion,” Gatrel says. “Many of our members are military veterans, and we are planning this out like a war.” We’re not talking about an armed standoff here, but Gatrel helped organize a statewide campaign to stop the Missouri Public Service Commission from giving Clean Line powers of eminent domain to compel land owners to go along.
No offers were made when representatives of Clean Line Energy Partners met with the Hannibal Board of Public Works Board on Tuesday afternoon. And while no decisions had to be made by the BPW Board, it was certainly given plenty to digest by both Clean Line and its opponents.
The Clinton County Planning and Zoning Commission will be hosting a public hearing on Friday, January 22, to hear opinions before deciding on a proposed moratorium of any permit applications pertaining to wind energy conversion systems. The moratorium, if approved, could run until December of this year in an effort to give the commission time to rework wind energy regulations in Clinton County.
The loud and persistent opponents are far from conceding defeat, however. They say the 780-mile line, 200 miles of which are set to pass over Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby Cumberland and Clark counties in Illinois, is being rammed through over widespread objections.
Although Clean Line pledged to make a portion of its power available to Missouri, state regulators determined it was not needed to meet local demand nor the state's renewable energy requirements. Regulators also cited the burden on Missouri landowners, noting that most of the 7,200 comments it received were opposed to the project. ..."I think (wind energy) is fine. But "it doesn't make sense to me to have to transport it halfway across the United States. We're smarter than that."
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.
When Illinois regulators voted recently to approve the Grain Belt Express, joining Kansas and Indiana, that left Missouri as the sole holdout. “We’re digging in, and we’re ready to fight,” Jennifer Gatrel said last week as she and her husband worked cattle on their ranch in Caldwell County. “We beat ’em once and we’ll beat ’em again.”
Changes to the landscape are inevitable. But farmers shouldn’t be conscripted to serve a climate-change agenda. States should think twice before granting the power of eminent domain to developers of renewable-energy projects, who should have to negotiate with individual landowners like everybody else.
Tradewind Energy based in Lenexa, Kansas, is planning to build around 150 wind turbines that are about 500 feet tall as part of the Rock Creek Wind Project covering 30,000 acres of land. The turbines will be placed between the city of Tarkio in the center of the county and Tarkio Prairie Conservation Area in the eastern part of the county.
“We probably wouldn’t have bought (land) if we’d known it (the wind farm) might be something right outside the window,” said Ron Hayter, a property owner in Colfax Township. “It’s not fair how it’s being handled, especially when three of the four zoning board people having contracts.”
Grain Belt has stated it will continue trying to get permission to build. The company is currently engaged in a legal battle in Illinois attempting to obtain eminent domain authority. Several legal groups, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, and individual landowners, have legally opposed the project.
Nearly 90 people crammed into the community room of the Clinton County Courthouse last Thursday evening, not to see the county’s Planning and Zoning board rule on an issue, but to hear the opinion of perhaps the county’s most prominent business. ...In July, the Planning and Zoning Board denied a request from Tower Associates – a subsidiary of NextEra Energy – to build and operate meteorological test towers in northern Clinton County. Since that decision, Tower Associates or Next Era have yet to file an appeal with the county.
Should the developers of the Grain Belt Express seek to move forward with the multi-state wind line project, it could include filings with the appellate court in Missouri. In a 3-1 vote, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) denied a rehearing to reexamine if the multi-state wind-power project should be granted a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN). According to an Aug. 12 order, Clean Line Energy did not demonstrate “sufficient reason to rehear the matter.”
Shatto fears a wind energy project proposed for the region by NextEra Energy, based in Florida. Shatto says a wind turbine would be erected less than a half-mile from his farm. "That's very scary to us," he said. "Anything that comes about, whether it's noise, whether it's electricity, that can all put stress on the dairy animals."
Saying Missouri officials made multiple errors and did not act “even-handed,” a Houston-based energy company is asking the Missouri Public Service Commission to rehear its application to build a $2.2 billion high-voltage transmission line to carry Kansas wind power across Missouri to Eastern power grids.