The Ellis County Commission should be cognizant by now of the depth and strength of opposition to the wind energy project from those members of the community who would be most affected by it. We continue to educate the community of Hays and collect signatures on our petition for a moratorium, based on the fact that there has been no qualified, independent assessment of either the economic or the environmental impact of this project in its proposed location.
The deceptive and conspiratorial tactics employed to site this project in Ellis County have denigrated its credibility from the start - except to the few who hope to profit from it, and those who mistakenly believe it will somehow yield a net benefit for this community. The zoning regulations of Ellis County, although perhaps well-intentioned at conception, were corrupted by board members with obvious conflicts of interest in order to attract a wind farm to Ellis County for the financial gain of their families. These regulations contain only one and a half pages of regulations on wind energy, whereas responsible regulations for such development are typically 30 to 50 pages or more. These same regulations that limit landowners to two-and-a-half story buildings, allow noisy, dangerous, industrial machines 40 stories tall to be built within 1,000 feet of objecting landowners, and set the stage for eminent domain to be used against additional landholders for power line easements.
The familial relationships, conflicts of interest and other sordid details now are published for public view on our Web site, elliscoalition.blogspot.com, along with a timeline of events and a breakdown of local interests in the project. Any litigation on our part necessitated by approval of this project will inevitably lead to a public investigation and further embarrassment for local government. Given his pivotal role in this egregious process, Lance Russell should be asked to step down as chairman of the zoning board immediately.
The actions of Disgen corporation (and their diverse subsequent ownership) have been questionable at best and their claims, promises and assertions have been exposed as inaccurate, exaggerated or simply false by the dedicated research of our most educated citizens. Rest assured, the 100 families of the affected area will not yield meekly to any decision by the county commission to accept this project. We have retained qualified legal counsel and marshalled financial resources sufficient to sustain a lengthy court battle with the objective of obtaining an injunction from the Supreme Court of Kansas, if necessary.
Should this obscene project be foisted upon us, we shall document in detail every infraction, every violation and every environmental desecration made by Iberdrola during its installation and hold the county commission fully responsible. We will mount further public protests and use multiple forms of advertising to publicize this forcible industrialization of our rural community as loudly and widely as possible. We are both financially and technologically capable of generating a highly effective public relations campaign against Iberdrola and anyone supporting them.
Disgen/CPV corporation and their collaborators have instigated a virtual civil war in our community for purposes of their own financial gain. I would remind the commission that the intended purpose of zoning is protect people's health, safety and financial investments from any injustices arising from the actions of their neighbors - not to benefit a handful of would-be profiteers bent on industrial exploitation of land at their neighbor's expense.
An abrupt and definitive rejection of this project would enable our community to begin a healing process that likely will take years to complete. I call on you to end it now and allow this process of recovery to begin.
J.P. Michaud, 1189 180th St., is assistant professor of entomology with the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center in Hays