Articles from Nebraska
An amended version of a bill that would allow landowners a foot in the courthouse door if eminent domain is threatened was sent to Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday.
Like all power-generation facilities, wind energy turbines have a lifespan, and at the end of that time, the companies that built them are required to decommission the sites. There is no minimum requirement for what decommissioning entails under Nebraska law, however, leaving those agreements up to the wind energy providers and landowners who agreed to have turbines erected.
That compromise says such projects are presumed to be for a public use, and can use eminent domain. But it still gives the landowner the right to go to court to argue against that. Sen. Wendy DeBoer, who worked on the compromise with Brewer, said that was better than a blanket prohibition by the Legislature.
"Eminent domain for a private purpose was something I did not believe should be in law, especially if it's going to be a particular industry benefiting from it," he said. "I think it's worth discussing again." While it would apply throughout Nebraska, the bill especially had been sought by residents of the Sandhills, some of whom said a neighbor should not be forced to allow a feeder power line to pass through their land to reach a bigger transmission line, such as the Nebraska Public Power District's R Project.
Lancaster County will still have the most stringent setbacks for wind farms of any county in the state, but they will now be a little less stringent.
According to court documents, Kohmetscher lives on an 11-acre plot that is surrounded on three sides by wind turbines from NextEra's Cottonwood Wind Energy Center, a 40-turbine, 89-megawatt farm that began operation in the fall of 2017. Kohmetscher says in the lawsuit that the closest turbine is 1,300 feet from his property line.
Filed on Friday in West Palm Beach federal court, the lawsuit is seeking damages to be determined at trial for hundreds of residents nationwide who live within three miles of a NextEra wind turbine.
It was heart-wrenching for Brewer, he said, to see the Sandhills residents in the balcony, who were there for probably the fifth time on the issue, watch as senators who were elected to represent their districts be unwilling to listen to the debate. And then walk in at the end and not vote, or vote against it. "It really doesn't leave a very good taste in their mouth about what this unicameral's all about," he said.
Vest said his goal from the beginning has been to allow for development of the wind energy project while providing as much protection as possible for those who don’t want turbines next door. "I am trying to find that balance," he said.
Vest, who wants to find a compromise on the county setback rule, which at 1 mile is among the most stringent in the state, then asked the board to put the issue on the March 19 board agenda.
Wind energy developers in Lancaster County will be required to place turbines at least 1 mile from any home that is not being paid to participate in the project. The 1-mile rule, the strictest in the state, will give homeowners some comfort and protect the quality of life in rural areas, said County Commissioner Deb Schorr.
LB 155 strikes this sentence from the law. This is all the bill does. Nothing more. ...I want this sentence repealed from the law because it is morally wrong to give private citizens the government power of eminent domain over their neighbors just so they can make money. Imagine Tom and Tony are neighboring ranchers.
The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court by Laredo Ridge Wind LLC, Broken Bow Wind LLC and Crofton Bluffs Wind LLC, and it seeks an injunction to stop NPPD from terminating the 20-year power purchase agreements. ...According to court documents, projected combined payments to the three wind farms in fiscal 2019 are more than $38.5 million.
Terry Madson is from Nuckolls County and belongs to Preserve Rural Nebraska. His county in south-central Nebraska, he said, has no zoning, and some of those that do created zoning before anyone was thinking of wind turbines. Other county zoning may not have taken into consideration escalating tower heights, larger generators, more noise and shadow flicker because of size changes. The bill gives those counties and others in the state the chance to get current, Madson said.
Rural residents who dislike windmills clashed with renewable energy advocates and economic development officials over a bill that would regulate the construction of wind turbines. ...Many were worried about noise or other problems from a turbine allowed on a neighbor’s property.
Rath and others who are concerned about the Nebraska Public Power District's R Project power line and the wind farms that are popping up across the land — and the whooping cranes — have found a champion in the Nebraska Legislature. Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon has taken up their cause with proposed legislation and advocacy, working from his Capitol office in Lincoln.
Lancaster County commissioners voted 4-1 to increase the decibel level standard for landowners participating in a wind turbine project ...There is no change in the county noise rules for nonparticipating landowners.
Despite strong opposition from residents of southwestern Lancaster County, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday approved changes to the noise limits in its zoning code for wind farms. The change was sought by NextEra Energy Resources ...that is considering building a wind farm with up to 50 turbines in southern Lancaster and northern Gage counties.
At least two problems occur with wind power development in Nebraska counties. First, no standardized impact assessment is required of wind power developers (e.g., visibility zones, key observation points, renderings of proposed towers, etc.), and the process and expertise vary greatly from county to county. Second, wind power impacts do not remain contained (or containable). Wind power impacts become foisted upon willing and unwilling neighbors alike.
It’s taken about seven months to put the proposed regulations together, so it was not surprising Wednesday that the Madison County board of commissioners spent as much time as necessary listening to testimony and discussing the updated wind energy regulations.