Local authorities should control wind siting

By Mike and Kellee Rasmussen, Ericson, Nebraska

We are concerned about a bill in the Legislature regarding the proposal of zoning restrictions on new wind farms in Nebraska. Legislative Bill 373 proposes that all new wind farms will need to comply with zoning standards outlined by the Legislature instead of local county zoning boards. Wind farms must already comply with local zoning ordinances, and counties are free to determine the zoning requirements that work best for residents. These boards are made up of individuals of various backgrounds and interests making them better suited to address the concerns of community members.

Zoning boards are designed to ensure guidelines are in place and proper policy and procedures are followed. Our experience has been that outside pressure on county board members often leads to bad decision-making that ignores what is best for the county as a whole. Legislative Bill 373 does not promote growth in our state, and true property tax relief will come from new companies investing in our state.

Wind energy is something we feel is a benefit for the state of Nebraska. While it is important to look at the big picture of each wind farm and its impact, we have found that there are individuals and groups with an agenda trying to influence these boards. When these groups push for overly strict zoning standards, they are essentially putting a stop to wind energy and the benefits it provides. We ask that everyone look at the big picture for our state and our rural communities.