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Wind Energy Continues To Be a Hot Topic

By Staff | Oct 19, 2017

by Anesa McGregor

The proposed Palo Alto Wind Energy Project was still a hot topic of discussion during the regular meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

“I was going to come in here and I have all kinds of documentation and things to show you, but I’m not,” Bertha Mathis, resident began. “You’ve already made your decision it seems to me. And if I talk to you about private property rights, you’re going to tell me that’s what this is about.”

“But you can’t block the sound at the property line. You can’t put up a sound barrier,” Mathis continued. “You can’t put up anything. I don’t want to see them in the landscape, but you can’t block them from me. You can’t do that. So, I’m not even going to talk about it. What I am going to talk about is this company [Invenergy], you are in way over your heads. I’m sorry but you are.

Palo Alto County Wind Energy LLC [limited liability corporation], everything I’ve read about companies like this, they set these up, they start them and then they dissolve them and you’re left holding the bag – the County.”

Another point that was made was that using Invenergy’s attorney as the person you [Supervisors] are listening to is wrong. The Supervisors were advised to find an attorney that deals with wind energy, which is not committed to Invenergy, as well as other points that have been made at other meetings.

“This company, Invenergy, has lawsuits all over,” Mathis added. “I’ve read what they do when they set up these little LLCs. So please, you are out of your league every single one of you and you too Linus, you know that. You’ve let them basically rape the county.”

“I want to talk about the wind energy project also,” Dr. Frank Veltri started out. “I want to talk about this concept of ‘Do No Harm’ because it has been used as a medical idea. I want to clarify, at least the way I understand ‘Do No Harm.’ If I were to absolutely say I can do no harm to anyone, I would be frozen. I would be unable to do anything.”

Veltri talked about the risks involved in prescribing an antibiotic, including the harm of cost. Surgery also has some risks involved with it.

“It’s impossible to avoid harm,” Veltri said. “I think that applies to any action or decision, it’s impossible to avoid harm. What you need to do is limit the harms as much as possible and you also need to weigh what are the possible benefits and that’s the way I understood it in medical practice. I wasn’t going to do any intentional harm unless the benefits outweighed the likely harm I was inflicting.”

Veltri went on to list some pros and cons of a wind turbine before asking the Supervisors to vote yes on the Palo Alto Wind Energy Project.

During the public comment Ron Kenyon, Colleen Kenyon, Lois Stillman and Bertha Mathis all spoke to the Supervisors regarding the wind energy project and Mark Zaccone, Developer with Invenergy also gave the Board and update on the wind energy project.

In other business, Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth discussed the Road Agreement for the Wind Energy Ordinance, informing the Supervisors that the final draft has been gone over and pointed out some important points.

“I think it is very similar to other road agreements I’ve seen,” Davis-Oeth said. “I think it is what’s going to be necessary to keep our roads in good conditions. They [the construction firm] $5 million policy for any damage done to the roads; additionally they are going to have a financial instrument in the amount of $300,000 in case there are any damages or claims that we will be able to access, but this is a last resort.”

Davis-Oeth went on to give the Supervisors an update on county roads. N40 is open to local traffic only and the shouldering should be done in the next two to three weeks depending on the weather.

The completion hearing on FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] repairs on Drainage District 23, South 15 and Joint 1 Lateral B Open Ditch was also held. Don Etler, Drainage Engineer with Bolten and Menk of Spencer recommended that the Supervisors accept the contract as complete and instructed Palo Alto County Auditor Carmen Moser to pay the retained amount to King Excavation of Cylinder. Unanimous agreement was given.

Unanimous approval was also given to pay landowners for damages and to also pay $500, for damages, to David Naig.

Palo Alto County Sanitarian presented the Board with a Septic Grant Request from Charles Rezabek with unanimous approval given. Also presented to the Board was a request to approve payment on a Septic Grant to David Loomis.

In final business, Palo Alto County Treasurer Robin Jamison requested abatement of taxes for two mobile homes for the fiscal year 2017-2018. Both trailers had been junked. Unanimous approval was given.