Supervisors Discuss Wind Turbine Ordinances

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

SIGOURNEY – During the May 25 meeting of the Keokuk County Board of Supervisors, the board gave Treasurer Christine Edmundson Long permission to look into investing county funds in the Iowa Public Agency Investment Trust. Edmundson Long will need board approval to invest, but this decision gives her the authority to talk to the trust about investing.

During the June 3 meeting of the board, Supervisor Daryl Wood brought up the idea of writing out ordinances regulating the building of wind turbines in Keokuk County. Wood stated he was not anti or pro wind turbines, but noted that a wind turbine project in Jefferson County had been effectively canceled due to public backlash and that Henry County put a one year moratorium on wind turbines, to wait until after the election to discuss them. Supervisor Michael Hadley brought up hog building ordinances, which prevent hog buildings from being less than 1250 feet away from a neighbor’s property. The board discussed setting the wind turbine distance to be the same as hog buildings, to keep things simple.

Wood brought up the idea of putting a limit on the height of wind turbines or extending the distance requirement for higher turbines. Wood stated that he didn’t want wind turbines being built in peoples’ backyards, but also didn’t want to tell landowners they couldn’t build something on their property. Wood suggested passing an ordinance requiring a removal bond for wind turbines, forcing energy companies to give the county the money needed to eventually remove a wind turbine in 30-40 years in advance. He stated he didn’t want taxpayers years from now having to pay to remove turbines. Hadley asked about the costs to administer and enforce these bonds.

Auditor Christy Bates called wind turbines an eyesore. Hadley asked why the county was getting into the wind turbine business. Supervisor Fred Snakenburg stated that the costs of removing wind turbines can’t fall on the taxpayers if the supervisors don’t allow turbines to be built. Hadley brought up the idea that the county could eventually end up in possession of land where wind turbines sat and have to find a way to sell it. He stated that landowners signing deals to put up wind turbines on their properties are after instant gratification and aren’t thinking about the costs of eventually removing the turbines. He stated he was not anti-wind turbine, but needed to protect the county from liability over wind turbines. Snakenburg stated he didn’t think the county needed the wind farm.

Wood noted that the anti-wind turbine people were far more vocal. He stated the board also needed to discuss solar panels. Hadley said he had no problem with solar panels and would build them on his property if he could. Bates stated that solar farms take farmland, but Wood stated that they are built when that’s what farmers want to do with their land.



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