Citizens show concern over proposed wind farm

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The permitting of the transition lines and substations for the Pleasant Valley Wind Project took another step forward Tuesday.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners submitted a summary of the concerns voiced at a June 1 “scoping meeting” to McGhie & Betts Inc. McGhie & Betts Inc. will write a draft of the environmental assessment to be submitted to Environmental Services Director Angela Knish for review before it goes to the full county board.

The board, which is overseeing the substations and transmission lines for the project, added four issues discussed at the scoping meeting to the environmental assessment. The state is permitting the turbines for the project.

“The resonating factor when I read the comments was the issue of the duplication of transmission line,” Knish said.

With transmission lines from an Xcel Energy project and other projects expected to pass through the project area in the future, many citizens asked for the lines to be combined onto one structure.

However, it is unclear if that is possible because of the multiple companies involved.

Another issue added was concern over eminent domain, which RES Americas does not have the right to exercises as a private company.

Citizens expressed concern over how the transmission lines will affect organic farming — both livestock and produce. The transmission lines’ possible affect of electronic equipment and wireless tools like cell phones and Internet will also be addressed.

A total of nine issues will be included in the environmental assessment.

Judy and Neil Knutson submitted alternative routes for the transmission line expected to pass by their property.

Before the board approves or rejects a final version of the environmental assessment, there will be a 30 day comment period for the public to read the document. The board may publish the document by July 6.

To read The Herald’s coverage of the Pleasant Valley Wind project, check these stories:

Wind farm proposed

Pleasant Valley project moving forward

County to permit parts of wind farm