Bismarck – In a stunning move, the Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-3 Wednesday night to deny PNE Wind’s permit request to build a wind farm in southern Burleigh County.
Security was tight for the hundreds of people that filed into the Bismarck Event Center Wednesday night.
They dodged the wind outside to come inside and debate the wind….the wind that may have a very real impact on their lives for decades.
Chicago based PNE energy has proposed building upwards of 75 wind turbines in southern Burleigh and Edmonds county.
“To me it comes down to the farmer, it’s his right, it’s his land if he wants it there. And everything, and that’s totally what it all is” said Washburn Resident Casey Buchmann
PNE even sent a representative to Bismarck to speak during tonights special meeting of the Burleigh County planning and zoning department
Residents of Morton Township both for and against the project spoke their minds for well over three hours and some of the testimony was powerful and several times commissioners had to pause the meeting after tensions between both sides almost boiled over .
“Coal Will not be here forever, it will run out eventually, i’m a young guy, I got kids, i’d like to leave them a planet pushing towards the future with a lower carbon footprint” Said a podium speaker.
Opponents of the project say their worried about the noise, height of the towers, shadow flicker and the impact the towers will have on the Bismarck Airport.
“if one of my daughters wants to buy some land from my husband and I in the future, to build a house they would be limited, maybe even prohibited completely from building a house because of somebody else’s tower it too close to our property line, how is that fair to our future.” Said one of tonight’s speakers.
But those for the project say it will result in an economic boom for the area, adding hundred of millions of dollars to the economy that will go towards local schools and emergency departments.
But at least on this night, the naysayers surly outweighed the supporters
“This is not a good place to put the wind farm because you do not have the public acceptance.”
The vote was 5 to 3, in favor of denying the permit.
But officials believe PNE will appeal the decision to the Burleigh County Commission.
Emmons County and Telfer Township must also still vote on whether or not to allow the wind farm.