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DNRC backs approval of Martinsdale wind farm

Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation recommends wind turbines be allowed on state land as part of what would be the state's largest privately owned wind farm. The Martinsdale Wind Farm is proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. It would be built on 18,000 acres of private and state land in Wheatland and Meagher counties, five miles northeast of Martinsdale. The DNRC has released a draft environmental impact statement on the project for public comment, which will be accepted until March 13.

GREAT FALLS - Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation recommends wind turbines be allowed on state land as part of what would be the state's largest privately owned wind farm.

The Martinsdale Wind Farm is proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. It would be built on 18,000 acres of private and state land in Wheatland and Meagher counties, five miles northeast of Martinsdale.

The DNRC has released a draft environmental impact statement on the project for public comment, which will be accepted until March 13.

Clive Rooney manages DNRC's northeastern land office. He said a final decision will be made 30 days after the comment deadline, on whether to allow the use of state-owned school trust land for wind turbines or road and power easements - or both - to help advance construction on the private land. The DNRC's preferred option is to allow Horizon to lease the land from the state and build turbines on adjacent state lands. A second option allows only easements on public property.

About 3,080 acres of the wind farm would fall on school trust land owned by the state, with the remaining 15,557 acres privately owned by the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony.

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GREAT FALLS - Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation recommends wind turbines be allowed on state land as part of what would be the state's largest privately owned wind farm.

The Martinsdale Wind Farm is proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. It would be built on 18,000 acres of private and state land in Wheatland and Meagher counties, five miles northeast of Martinsdale.

The DNRC has released a draft environmental impact statement on the project for public comment, which will be accepted until March 13.

Clive Rooney manages DNRC's northeastern land office. He said a final decision will be made 30 days after the comment deadline, on whether to allow the use of state-owned school trust land for wind turbines or road and power easements - or both - to help advance construction on the private land. The DNRC's preferred option is to allow Horizon to lease the land from the state and build turbines on adjacent state lands. A second option allows only easements on public property.

About 3,080 acres of the wind farm would fall on school trust land owned by the state, with the remaining 15,557 acres privately owned by the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony.

Wind farms sited entirely on private land can escape environmental review under the state's Major Facilities Siting Act.

Up to seven turbines would be built on state land in the first phase of construction for the Martinsdale Wind Farm. That phase would bring in $36,750 to $42,913 in annual lease revenue to the state, Rooney said.

"It's a lot more than the grazing rental we're receiving," Rooney told the Great Falls Tribune in a story Friday. "It's good revenue for the land, considering it can still be used for the grazing purpose."

A total of 15 turbines could be put up on public property if the full 300 megawatts are built.


Source: http://www.billingsgazette....

FEB 21 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19213-dnrc-backs-approval-of-martinsdale-wind-farm
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