Bismarck – The proposal to build a wind farm in Southern Burleigh and Northern Emmons County was dealt another blow this evening.
It was another packed house during Monday evening’s meeting of the Burleigh County Commission. But in the end…those wearing the red shirts were the ones who walked out of the Bismarck City/County building with their heads held high.
“Commissioner Jones?, Yes,
That was the vote Monday evening by the Burleigh County Commission, denying PNE Wind’s application for a special use permit to construct over 70 wind turbines in Southern Burleigh and Northern Emmons County.
PNE had also requested the commission direct the Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission to do several things including allow written expert testimony refuting statements made during a nearly 5 hour meeting on December 5th. But the commission denied those requests on the basis that they don’t have the power to do such things.
“The counties states attorney advised them to send us back to the planning and zoning board, because there were some obvious holes in the process that was done, and they decided not to do that tonight, so I think they’ve left themselves open to not having conducted a fair process.” Said Courtney Timmons, Director of Business Development; PNE Wind.
Another issue raised tonight by Burleigh County Building Official Ray Zeigler is that the National Weather Service has issues with the height of the turbines, saying they would interfere with radar operations. Those fighting the project from the start, say this is a rare victory for the little guy…
“You know, our team and our group actually took a very conservative approach from a legal perspective we let the process work and we were very pleased with how things turned out, the commissioners went with the will of the people and we’re very glad it turned out that way” Said Andy Buntrock with the no Burleigh Wind Campaign.
But Timmons tells me Burleigh County is missing the bigger picture with the project…
“It’s slated to generate over a million dollars a year in new property taxes to Burleigh and Emmons counties, it’ll also generate over a million dollars a year to these landowners that are out here as well who are mostly farmers and ranchers who have decided for themselves this is what they want to do for this project so this is a terrible decision for economic development in Burleigh County”
Now the main question is, is this battle over…it’s not, in fact commissioners and the assistant states attorney this evening all conceded that fact that PNE will most likely take the county to court in a lawsuit…or appeal tonight’s decision to district court.