EMPORIA, Kan. - A recent Kansas Supreme Court decision upheld the Wabaunsee County Commission's decision to enact a countywide ban on commercial wind turbines. I don't fault the Court's reasoning -- I am very disappointed in Wabaunsee's elected officials and in the citizens of Wabaunsee who supported the restrictions.
The legal challenge centered primarily on the wording of a state statute which regulates the process by which a County or City Commission can override the recommendation of an appointed planning commission. Here, the Wabaunsee County planning commission had been tasked with review of a development proposal for a commercial wind farm way back at the beginning of the last decade. After an extremely long review process which included several public hearings at which some citizens complained about the aesthetic appeal of wind turbines in the Flint Hills, the County Commission, by a 2-1 vote, overrode the recommendation of their planning commission and determined that no permits should be issued any where in the county for commercial wind farms. The County Commission also imposed severe limits on smaller residential wind turbines. This action puts regional development of commercial wind farms in jeopardy and proclaims Wabaunsee County as unfriendly to alternative energy. I would be happy to reach out the environmentally minded citizens of Wabaunsee County to and discuss their concerns. My bottom line is that America needs clean energy and every wind turbine built in the Flint Hills is another step to preventing more coal fire power plants being built elsewhere in Kansas.