Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Kansas

Thank you, Kansas governors, for the moratorium on wind development in tallgrass heartland

Sometimes it takes an outsider to appreciate what we here take for granted, to see what our eyes and our minds fail to grasp: the Flint Hills of Kansas are a national treasure. ...Gov. Kathleen Sebelius first promulgated such a moratorium in 2004, which was then continued and expanded by Gov. Sam Brownback. On July 28, 2020, Gov. Kelly issued her proclamation, thus continuing bipartisan protection of this endangered ecosystem.
17 Oct 2020

Wind turbines on the horizon?

Nearly 650 wind turbines in a 30-mile radius, plus the largest transmission line in the state with towers reaching 150-200’ tall – taller than our water towers… That is what Nemaha County residents can look forward to in their future. The view from your vehicle, tractor, or deck will change dramatically in the next two years as Nemaha County becomes industrialized. 
3 Mar 2020

Land trust adds 6,800 acres

"I like that you're here with nature and not with cars, people and concrete," he said. "I need green space and open air." ...The land had been earmarked for a 100-turbine wind farm, but the agreement shields the property from encroachment of developers. The ground will remain in private hands, but be reserved for recreational activities and agriculture, primarily cattle grazing.
23 Jul 2010

Wind industry faces 'Prairie Rebellion' in Kansas County

Local governments are beginning to flex their permitting authority to challenge commercial-scale wind farms, a trend some industry observers say could impede broader federal efforts to expand renewable energy production. The latest round in the emerging battle between local governments and wind-energy developers occurred last week in Kansas, where the state Supreme Court upheld a Wabaunsee County zoning ordinance banning industrial-scale wind ...Experts say the Wabaunsee ordinance, unanimously upheld by the Kansas court, is a key test of local governments' power to effectively ban large-scale wind farms, as opposed to blocking a specific project or proposal.
5 Nov 2009

Kansas Supreme Court rules against wind farms

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Wabaunsee County commissioners have the right to prohibit the construction of commercial wind farms in their county. But the court also questioned whether an ordinance banning commercial farms but allowing smaller wind generators for personal use violated some provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Commissioners adopted the ordinance in 2004. In a unanimous decision, the court acknowledged the commission's concerns about potential harm to the aesthetics and ecology of the Flint Hills if huge wind turbines were erected in Wabaunsee County.
31 Oct 2009

Saving a prairie treasure

The preserve itself has grown to 39,100 acres. But that's only a fraction of the 3.8-million-acre region known as the Flint Hills, straddling the Oklahoma-Kansas state line with the largest remaining patch of tallgrass prairie on the continent. ...While wind power generates clean energy, the vast networks of turbines, roads and power grids can disturb a natural ecosystem just as much as any other industrialization, Hamilton says.
13 Sep 2009

We're off to see ... the wonderful scam

''If you want to see how invasive a wind farm can be, just take a ride in Schuylkill County,'' he wrote. ''A ridge that stretches from Mahanoy City to Centralia, an area of the best hunting and passive recreational woods in that part of the county, has been ruined with these monstrosities.'' I had not visited that area for years, and the worst environmental damage I recalled was from anthracite mining. That, however, had a legitimate purpose; wind turbines are a scam that serves only to enrich those who peddle and build them.
3 Jul 2009

Let us see the stars

We need to adopt a new way of thinking for the prairie land that sustains us. Our prairie isn't a waste dump to place a huge, monetarily motivated, (supposedly) economically stimulating thing that defaces it of its natural beauty and hampers the land's usefulness. ...Might I appeal to all fellow prairie landowners to look about this endless simple beauty and say, "You can't pay me enough!" when approached to lease for a commercial wind farm.
16 Mar 2008

Let us see the stars

We need to adopt a new way of thinking for the prairie land that sustains us. Our prairie isn't a waste dump to place a huge, monetarily motivated, (supposedly) economically stimulating thing that defaces it of its natural beauty and hampers the land's usefulness. ...Might I appeal to all fellow prairie landowners to look about this endless simple beauty and say, "You can't pay me enough!" when approached to lease for a commercial wind farm.
15 Mar 2008

Wind farms are not good for this rancher

As a rancher in Osborne County that is not leasing to the proposed wind farm here, I took interest in your article of Dec. 31, 2007, "First Phase of State's Fourth Wind Farm Nearing Completion." I have spent most of my life working to acquire and maintain my ranch properties and one parcel goes back four generations. Am I to sit and let this huge, disruptive, totally scenery changing wind farm operation take place around me, as helpless as the bison that originally roamed the prairie home? I find business contracts offered me the poorest business venture I could ever make. One-third of 1 percent per structure value per year's rent offered or, to my understanding, under 1 percent royalty hardly matches oil royalty. What I see driving past the Lincoln project is a far bigger mess than any oil patch I've ever seen. ...I do not want to be part of a low rent wind farm and hope there are others enough so we have a Kansas prairie fully up to our counties true life blood support of agriculture. With faith in our prairie lands of Osborne County, I, for one, do not feel it appropriate to put up these tombstones to a failed agriculture.
9 Jan 2008

Wind summit held

Wind generators have been the Rodney Dangerfields of the electricity market. They're unreliable, traditional utilities say. And expensive. So when Rob Gramlich, policy director of the American Wind Energy Association, got up to address the fifth Kansas Electric Transmission Summit on Friday, he seemed to be suppressing a smile. A previous presenter had just dropped a couple pretty stunning figures: about 13,000 megawatts of wind projects have been queued up for study, and the total could reach 40,000 to 60,000 megawatts in the near future. To put that in perspective: total peak demand in the heat of summer is only a little over 40,000 megawatts. ...A huge stumbling block for wind development is that the cost of connecting the wind farm to the electric grid can fall to the local utility. Most of the wind potential in Kansas is in rural areas served by small electric cooperatives, who therefore could be forced to underwrite connection to the network even though they may not use any of the electricity.
16 Dec 2007

Benefits of coal

I am equally saddened to see the sorry, unreliable, expensive substitute - a "wind farm" - being installed just west of Salina. A recent full-page ad in the Journal-World dishonestly portrayed children playing under a wind turbine. Fact is, the noise created by these gigantic turbines will make the land uninhabitable for nearly all forms of life, including people and birds. No responsible parent would allow their loved ones to live or play around these monsters.
28 Oct 2007

Wind farm would forever change our identity

For those of us who call this area home, there are real worries about the documented health effects that may occur if such an industrial complex is built so close to our homes. There are concerns about safety during the building phase as well as from the turbines themselves after construction. The wind turbine complex controversy continues to divide our county. This conflict isn't about foreign oil or saving the planet -- it's about location and the proposed location is not suitable. ...There are fears about property and market values decreasing on the biggest investment that most of us have. Some claim that there is no proof to any of these concerns. We can provide ample documentation to show that the county is taking a huge risk if this project proceeds. To the doubters, we say we don't want to be the guinea pigs that find out whether the fears and concerns are real or not. It's simple, move the location of the turbines somewhere where there are not homes and eliminate the risks.
23 Oct 2007

Forcing turbines on landowners is wrong

Just more than 43 percent of the landowners have signed a formal protest petition stating that they do not want to live in an industrial park. The actual percentage of landowners against this project was closer to 67 percent. ...These are the landowners that live within 1,000 feet of where these intrusive machines are proposed to be built. I use the word intrusive because there is no other way to describe how these 67 percent feel about being forced by others to live under conditions they had not chosen for themselves. Conditions from which the county itself vowed to protect.
24 Aug 2007

There’s nothing farm-like about turbines

As I drove on, I was less amazed and more distraught that anyone would call what I saw, a farm. My uncle is a farmer and his farm doesn't look anything at all like what I saw. The words wind and farm conjure up a friendly pastoral connotation. An image that is harmonious with nature. What I saw is an industrial wasteland. Row after row of huge machines placed menacingly along the highway. They evoke images of the future and the "Terminator," a science-fiction/horror film. It doesn't look anything at all like a farm. The vista looks like a factory, a huge money-making, profit-sucking corporate machine. There weren't any farm hands working the area. Machine after machine of cold hard steel and there was no one working.
18 Jul 2007

Protecting Kansas’ tallgrass prairie and Flint Hills from “wind farm” predators

Friends in Kansas have been fighting for the past 5 years to protect the world's last Tallgrass prairie ecosystem in the Flint Hills of Kansas from predators. The predators in this case are a bunch of US and foreign "wind farm" developers and lobbyists - who gain cooperation from receptive legislators, regulators and other government officials - plus some electric utility executives who don't have the fortitude to tell political leaders the truth about the real environmental, ecological, economic, scenic and property value costs of wind energy.
10 Apr 2007

Opponents offered downside of wind farms

The Flint Hills and Smoky Hills are the last largest pieces of contiguous Tallgrass and Mixed Prairie left in North America. They are recognized as “World Class Grasslands” and cannot be duplicated, replaced, or repaired to its original form once it is destroyed. This point was stressed by opponents of the wind farm who attended the afternoon session with the County Commissioners. Speakers included: Virgil Huseman, Zack Grothusen, Rob Manes, Liz and Steve Donley, Ron Klataske, Wayne Bohl, Scott Bohl, Rose Bacon, Mary Jo Huseman, Joan Bohl, Melinda Boeken and Anne Grothusen. Rob Manes of the Nature Conservancy and Ron Klataske of the Audubon Society of Kansas also spoke on behalf of the groups they represent to keep turbines off undisturbed native prairie. The opponents asked that the County Commissioners place a moratorium on the construction of the wind farm until they are fully informed of the consequences of allowing a wind farm to be built in the Smoky Hills which is pristine prairie grass. Rose Bacon who hails from Cottonwood Falls and served on the Governor’s Wind and Prairie Task Force presented information on “industrial wind utility” developments and siting issues associated with them.
23 Jan 2007
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