Library from North Dakota
The Williams County Commission voted in favor of a 75-turbine wind farm four miles north of Tioga, signing off on a project that has divided landowners during Tuesday’s meeting.
The commission voted three to two to approve. The Lindahl Wind Project, designed to harness the wind throughout Lindahl, Tioga and Sauk Valley townships and turn it into electricity. ...Two weeks ago, the project was denied by the Williams County Planning and Zoning. But the commission's approval overrides planning and zoning's decision.
The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Williams County Commission deny the applicant’s request for a conditional use permit on agricultural land and a separate variance request from setback requirements. Meanwhile, the applicant must also get approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission before moving forward.
Several landowners in opposition told the planning and zoning board not to forget Tradewind Energy and eventually Enel Green Power North America will receive millions of dollars in state-initiated tax incentives. “I do not want to pay that money,” said Todd Beasley, a resident of Tioga, who added that he was “not against wind farms” but urged the board to vote against the variance request.
"We're asking the Public Service Commission to give us some leeway in terms of siting 59 sites. Those would accommodate six different kinds of turbines so we haven't specified in our application which of those six we would use. We want to leave that up to the potential off-taker and more importantly, the guys that have the turbines that are in this IRS safe harbor."
A windfarm north of Tioga continues to raise concerns as the project winds through the permitting process.
PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk stressed that it was the developer, not the PSC, who pushed to continue the matter. He said the PSC doesn’t have the authority or jurisdiction to override the county’s decision to reject the project. “I think that’s one of the big reasons that they need to go back to the drawing board and make sure they’ve got a project that the county likes before they even bring it to us,” he said.
Approval of the reading sparked residents to reach out and voice their opinions to county commissioners, who reported they received hundreds of phone calls within the past few days regarding the matter.
The meeting, which lasted more than five hours, drew support and opposition from those attending. Board members voted 6-2 to approve the permit. The project now goes to the Stark County Commission, though it is yet to be determined when it will appear on the agenda.(Editor's note: The permit was denied by the County Commissioners)
The sure-to-be contentious hearings on a proposed wind farm east of Dickinson have been set by the North Dakota Public Service Commission.
David Montgomery, chairman of the board, said he will recommend suspending any pending projects in the 1-mile territory surrounding Williston now that the city has announced its intent to exercise its jurisdictional authority in those areas.
Krank said he has spent weeks traveling to various wind towers throughout the state. He believes the noise levels towers generate have become a major concern. “Noise is definitely a problem,” he said. “You can hear the whooshing sound of propellers from several thousand feet away.” But even more troubling than noise levels, Krank said, was the decrease in land value as a result of wind farms.
Whooping cranes are endangered while the piping plover is considered a threatened species. The incidental take permits would be issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and exempt the wind farm operators from criminal prosecution if endangered or threatened species were killed by the turbines.
Most of the questions about a wind farm proposed to surround Taylor came from those who had little power over it: residents in the town who don’t own the land with turbines on it. Nevertheless, the 87 turbines will be seen from the town — currently with few viewscape obstructions — from virtually every angle.
Commissioners were divided on the issue but voted 3-2 to make no recommendation on a proposal to put up meteorological towers in the area where Tradewind Energy wants to develop a windfarm.
The purpose of the presentation and discussion was only to help the Tioga commission determine whether to recommend the county approve the permit for meteorological towers. Even this small step has generated an intense debate over property rights, regional energy needs, and desires to maintain North Dakota’s idyllic scenery.
The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the company’s request for a conditional use permit for some testing towers after several landowners expressed concerns. The commission asked for input from the City of Tioga before making a recommendation to the county commission for approval of the permit. ...The Tioga Airport Board has voted against the project, according to President Chris Norgaard, due to concerns the project may affect future airport approach routes used by pilots.
A North Dakota Public Service Commission public hearing in Ashley regarding a proposal for revisions to the Merricourt Wind Power Project has been rescheduled. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 at the Ashley City Hall, 113 1st St. NW, in Ashley. The hearing was originally scheduled to be held Monday.
Two leading bird conservation groups, American Bird Conservancy and the International Crane Foundation, have sent a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) voicing strong concerns about renewed consideration of the Merricourt wind energy project in North Dakota.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commented in February 2010 that “an adverse effect to whooping cranes is likely” from the project and recommended EDF not start construction until it obtains an “incidental take” permit, which allows a landowner to proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal killing of an endangered or threatened species.