By Mike Saint,
Chairman and CEO, The Saint Consulting Group
Now all you have to do to block a wind farm is tell the court: “It looks ugly.” The Kansas Supreme Court upheld a county ordinance that bans wind farms on aesthetic reasons.
From Electric Power Daily :
“The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a county board of commissioners in the state’s scenic Flint Hills region was within its rights when it enacted an ordinance banning the development of utility scale wind farms for aesthetic reasons.
“In a unanimous ruling issued last month and posted on the court’s web site, the court said that ‘[a]esthetics and conformance with a governing body’s comprehensive plan may be considered as bases for zoning rulings,’ and that the “countywide ban on all commercial wind farms in the instant case was not unreasonable.”
“The Wabaunsee County Board of Commissioners enacted the wind farm ban in July 2004, asserting in a resolution supporting its new ordinance that utility scale wind projects ‘would be incompatible with the rural, agricultural, and scenic character of the county,’ would not conform to the county’ comprehensive plan, and would be detrimental to property values and opportunities for agricultural- and nature-based tourism.”
“The Flint Hills region in east-central Kansas, of which Wabaunsee County is a part, is considered to be one of the most desirable parts of the state to wind developers because of its strong wind resources and well-established transmission network.
“However, as the court noted in its ruling, the Flint Hills also is a scenic region that ‘contain[s] the vast majority of the remaining Tallgrass Prairie that once covered much of the central United States.’ In December 2004, then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius asked developers to use ‘voluntary restraint’ and not develop wind farms.”
Sebelius, the current US Health and Human Services Secretary, as Governor of Kansas sided with local voters, proving once again, that national energy policy will be blocked by the very politicians (responding to their local constituents) who claim to be in favor of eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels.
For more details, see Industrial Wind Action Group blog.
Mike Saint is chairman and CEO of The Saint Consulting Group, email email@example.com