Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Nebraska
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Martinez revoked a federal permit that would have allowed the Nebraska Public Power District to kill or severely disturb the endangered American burying beetle as a consequence of building its R-Line project.
ROSE -- The first thing you notice on Dave Hutchinson's Sandhills ranch on a July day are the dragonflies -- so many dragonflies.
Nebraska State Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, Neb., has worked with his constituents to address those concerns and have even attempted to stop construction of the project in the fragile Sandhills. Brewer said he is “very disappointed in NPPD and the federal agencies making these terribly flawed decisions. They have steadfastly ignored the many concerns from hundreds of citizens, and the mountains of hard evidence and research presented to them.”
For more than 50 years, Carolyn Semin has treasured the black nighttime skies in the Nebraska Sandhills dotted with twinkling stars. "People come from all over the world to look at it, especially at Merritt Reservoir for the annual Star Party," she says.
The writer, who lives in Cloverdale, California, is a native of Mullen, Nebraska. He is a longtime energy auditor who is now retired.
Hines and Harms both reiterated that Fish and Wildlife could only make recommendations to NPPD, but that ultimately it was NPPD that decided the route for the transmission line. “We suggested two alternate routes that would have minimal environmental impact,” Harms said. “NPPD came back and said those routes wouldn’t work because of the cost involved.”
The Sandhills are one of the world’s largest contiguous grasslands and the largest stabilized sand dune region. They are 11-percent groundwater derived wetlands. They provide crucial habitat to migratory birds. The Sandhills remain pristine and unaltered. They are unique and truly Nebraska’s finest natural resource. Most residents of the Sandhills, as well as many throughout the state and from other states feel this very fragile, pristine ecoregion is entirely unsuitable for such an industrial project and that future wind energy development will exponentially compound the damage.
Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon told a legislative committee on Wednesday that disputes about wind energy development in the Sandhills are "tearing communities apart," dividing neighbors and families and even spawning death threats. ...The bill was endorsed by representatives of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy and sparked testimony from a parade of supporters who journeyed to Lincoln from the Sandhills for the morning hearing.
Today’s vote might not be the last word on the Kilgore project. One member of the three-member Cherry County Board, Jim Van Winkle, is a member of Cherry County Wind. He recused himself from the recent public hearing and probably will not vote today. That presents the possibility of a tie vote, which would send the wind farm back to the drawing board.
The enticement of government-funded projects that exclude individual rights is causing a rift among Sandhills residents that may never heal. Infringement on landowner rights using eminent domain and endangering livelihoods by destroying our grasslands with this unnecessary construction project is offensive.
Sen. Ken Haar includes much misleading information in “The death of opportunity by over-regulation” (Local View, LJS, Nov.4).
Scott Holmes, manager of the environmental health division of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, cited research showing that the nature of wind turbine noise makes it more annoying than noise from aircraft, trains or traffic on roads. The rotation of the big blades produces a swoosh, thump and silence. The uneven, pulsating sounds repeatedly capture attention and are difficult to ignore, one researcher wrote. The circumstances call for the Lancaster County Board to give considerable weight to the pleas of rural homeowners as it enacts regulations on wind turbines.
On Wednesday night, the nine members of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed rules on a 5-4 vote, after rolling back sound limits and doing away with a daily limit on the amount of time flickering shadows cast by turbine blades can pass over neighboring houses. ...The move disappointed Hallam and Cortland area property owners. They had wanted the noise limits to remain at 40 decibels in the day and 37 at night, numbers that were recommended by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department.
Scenery is a non-renewable resource because once it’s disturbed, it can’t easily be restored, Palmer said. “It’s valuable because it exists and it needs to be respected,” he said.