Labette County residents weigh in on potential wind farm

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LABETTE COUNTY, Ks. — Labette County could be the newest site for wind farms — but not everyone is excited about it.

Helen Erickson, Labette County Resident, said, “We are 31.7 miles away. We see the flashing lights at night.”

Wednesday’s Labette County Commission meeting was where residents gathered to voice their concerns about the potential RWE wind farms. While an agreement has yet to be reached, RWE has already begun talking to local landowners.

Cole Proehl, Labette County Commissioner, said, “They’ve leased their land, there has been some leases taking place between individual landowners.”

While this will benefit those who have already leased their land, it doesn’t have the same benefit for others.

Ron Eggers, Labette County Resident, said, “I’m not in that footprint, I’m on the edge of the footprint, I’m going to receive all the negative, but I got nothing positive.”

During the construction, Labette County would receive an economic boost from RWE.

“They have a 10 year tax abatement, so they don’t pay property taxes, but they do compensate the county as a whole for the impact,” said Proehl.

This has residents concerned for what the project could mean for their roads that can’t handle the construction.

“You have that much abuse going over them, it doesn’t take long to break down,” said Erickson.

For the project, RWE would keep up the roads so those concerns won’t be a problem.

“The roads would need to be improved in some areas and they would need to be upkept for the life of the project,” said Proehl.

Now heading into negotiations, county commissioners want to keep residents and Labette’s best interests at heart.

“We need to be transparent with whatever is going on, whatever agreements are being worked on, be transparent about that to our citizens,” said Proehl.

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