SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A coalition of farm and energy groups is asking voters to overturn restrictive wind turbine rules recently passed in southeast South Dakota.
The Lincoln County ordinance passed last month requires turbines to be at least a half mile from homes unless the energy company receives a waiver from the neighboring landowner, the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/2s0hpPD ) reported.
The coalition met Tuesday in Sioux Falls to support a repeal, organizing as a ballot question committee under the name “Farmers and Friends of Wind Energy.”
Supporters of the Dakota Power Community Wind farm said the setbacks reduce hope of renewable energy development in the county.
Dakota Power official Brian Minish said that commercial wind supporters see the potential for additional payments for landowners, which unites agriculture groups who don’t always see eye-to-eye on other issues.
“This is one thing that all the farm organizations agree on: This is good for rural America,” Minish said.
Beresford Mayor Jim Fedderson said that a 300-turbine development will bring in about $25 million in estimated tax revenue over 25 years, which would be shared between schools, counties and townships.
“Most of the townships don’t have enough money to put gravel on the roads,” Fedderson said.
People who back the ordinance said it protects property values and public health from the impact of large-scale wind projects. Winnie Peterson, chairwoman of the nonprofit We Care-SD, said that the real motivator from Fedderson and other wind supporters is profit.
“They’re motivated to do this for lots of reasons, most of them financial,” Peterson said.
Residents in south Sioux Falls are scheduled to vote on the restrictions July 18.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com