- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Wind energy developers are having trouble getting a site for a project in Stark County after one was rejected last year and a second is being disputed in court.

NextEra is planning a $250 million, 87-turbine wind project along Stark County’s southern edge, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1XgvJc7 ) reported. A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Stark County has sued, saying that the county’s zoning board and commission failed to give proper public notice for meetings when both panels approved the wind farm in December.

Citizens group spokesman Tom Reichert said the second location is no better than the first the county turned down in the Richardton-Taylor area. He said the group is holding out for deeper setbacks so that turbines would be required to be 2,000 feet from a property line, rather than a residence.

Stark County Commissioner Jay Elkin said there will be less impact on the population in the remote location than NextEra’s first attempt. He said the wind project would help with tax revenue for school and emergency districts and with turbine lease payments for landowners.

“With low commodity prices, farmers and ranchers need help and this happens to be the help they’re looking for,” Elkin said.

NextEra did not return a call from the newspaper seeking comment.

The last regulatory stop for the project is the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The commission said it would delay its public hearing until March 30 at the request of the citizens group, which wants more time to look over information submitted by the company.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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