Debate Over Wind Turbines and Invenergy’s ‘Shenandoah Hills’ Wind Farm Continues in Page County | New

(Clarinda) – Opponents and supporters of wind turbines and a proposed project in Page County continue to make their respective points.

At its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the County Board of Supervisors discussed Invenergy’s “Shenandoah Hills” wind farm project with Page County Horizons and their ongoing concerns about the company’s permit application. Mary Ann Gibson is a landowner in Lincoln and Morton Townships. Gibson asked the board who would hold Invenergy or a respective project owner liable for complaints filed by residents or companies such as KYFR for signal interference.

“The order states that the owner/operator, which is Invenergy or a company to which it sells the project, receives a written complaint and takes reasonable steps to respond to it,” Gibson said. “My question is, what if the problem isn’t fixed? It’s not specified in the order. Have you thought about ‘where would this problem go, who would be responsible?'”

Gibson says that while Invenergy has argued that it wants to “partner” with the county and its people, it believes their actions fall short of that goal. Including the proposed turbines with three miles of KYFR AM transmitter towers and one a quarter mile from the Wabash Trace Nature Trail — which could fall into a planned setback for “public areas” in the county ordinance.

Additionally, months away from the 180-day moratorium on commercial wind project applications established in late March, Gibson proposed a task force or committee of board members and residents to review the order.

“To me, that seems like a reasonable process,” Gibson said. “There are a lot of people who have looked and researched and studied the matter and looked at the ordinances from all over the country and other places in Iowa. I think there would be people willing to put in the time and energy to the process.”

Supervisor Chuck Morris, along with the other board members, said they would be open to a committee working over the next 60 days to eventually reach an agreement on the changes.

During the public comment period of the meeting, council also heard from a wind energy proponent. Although she is not a resident of the county, Lisa Lawrence says she was speaking on behalf of several county friends who had felt bullied or pressured into removing their land from the “Shenandoah Hills” project. One of the concerns raised by many residents is how companies dispose of turbine blades – usually fiberglass. Lawrence says companies in the United States continue to find different ways to recycle blades, including Global Fiberglass Solutions, which converts the material into ecopoly pellets.

“Pellets can be made into a variety of products such as warehouse pallets, flooring or parking bollards,” Lawrence said. “Based on its demand forecast, Global Fiberglass Solutions expects to be able to process 6-7,000 blades per year at each of its two factories. You want to guess where these factories are located? One is in Texas and the other right here in Iowa.”

The Iowa plant is located in Newton. Additionally, Lawrence says companies such as Mid-American Energy are partnering with Carbon Rivers, Inc. of Tennessee to recycle turbines rather than landfill with grants from the US Department of Energy.

in other cases, counsel ..

–Approval of a preliminary design contract for the replacement of a bridge on Avenue C to CB&A Architects for $20,130.

–Approved a resolution of the Safe Streets for All action plan.

–Approved the awarding of the 280th Street Bridge replacement contract to Godbersen-Smith Construction for approximately $1.4 million.

–Approved the county’s renewed eligibility for FEMA dollars through the National Flood Insurance Program.

–Approved Treasurer Angie Dow’s semi-annual report for publication.

–Approved a risk mitigation grant resolution allowing the county to access FEMA dollars on related matters for the county and its municipalities.

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