Permit denied for Burleigh-Emmons wind project
Dec 5, 2018 | Cheryl Mccormack, Amy Dalrymple | Bismarck Tribune
The Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-3 late Wednesday to deny a permit for the proposed Burleigh-Emmons Wind Farm, following a four-hour meeting with passionate testimony from both sides.
More than 500 citizens attended the rescheduled public hearing, which was held in the Bismarck Event Center’s main arena, with more than half wearing a shade of red, representing opposition to the project.
Chicago-based Pure New Energy USA is proposing to develop the 250-megawatt Burleigh-Emmons Wind Farm, which would be located about 15 miles southeast of Bismarck and 12 to 13 miles from the city’s airport.
The proposal includes about 70 wind turbines that would be erected in southern Burleigh County, including Morton and Telfer townships, and northern Emmons County in an area that covers 15,000 acres.
Opponents raised questions about impacts to quality of life, wildlife, health impacts and reduced property values, among other concerns. Supporters of the project emphasized the new jobs the project would create and other economic benefits to the community, particularly the local school district.
After the public hearing that grew heated at times, Commission Vice Chairman Neil Effertz made a motion to deny the permit. Effertz said members needed to make their decision based on what they feel is the future vision of the county.
“I think that we see that there’s probably a better place to put a wind farm development,” Effertz said.
Steve Marquardt, who is on the planning commission as well as the Bismarck City Commission, said he opposed the project because of the potential impact on future growth at the Bismarck Airport.
Mayor Steve Bakken, who is a member of the planning commission, said he anticipates the company will appeal to the Burleigh County Commission.
During the lengthy public hearing, rancher Cody Kologi raised concerns about shadow flicker, or a flickering shadow caused by the wind turbines’ blades.
Kologi, who owns and operates a ranch 6 miles west of Moffit, also was among several who said the project has divided the community.
“People who used to be good friends don’t talk to each other anymore. Families are hurt over – what – some money from a wind tower?” he said. “We have to ask, ‘Is it really worth it?’”
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Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, distributed a letter to commissioners that was signed by all North Dakota utility companies indicating that none of them have agreements to purchase power from the proposed project and are not in any discussions to purchase the power.
Brandenburg, who is typically a supporter of wind projects, testified against the project, prompting opponents to stand and applaud.
“There are good places to put wind farms. This is not a good place to put a wind farm because it does not have public acceptance,” Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley said.
Additional News on this Project:
Proposed wind farm in Burleigh County causing issues between neighbors
Meeting room overflows, public hearing gets rescheduled
Burleigh County commissioners deny wind farm permit, The Associated Press