Minnesota Landowners Trying To Terminate Contracts With Wind Power Company

It seemed like a good deal at first, but now landowners are extremely concerned about the impact the new wind power turbines will have on migratory birds.

A handful of participating landowners who agreed to be part of the 78-megawatt wind farm are now anxious to get out of their contracts and have sent what they call a letter of termination to AWA Goodhue.

AWA Goodhue officials declined to comment.

In addition to a long list of other reasons, the landowners — who asked not to be identified — said realizations about possible effects on the area’s wildlife caused them to want out of the project.

“Those landowners a lot of times are making decisions based on what the wind folks are saying,” said Jaime Edwards of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “If they had both sides of the story, they may not have signed the contracts.”

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources share the concerns of the landowners:

“It’s nice to try to use alternative energy, but we are right on the Mississippi Flyway,” Edwards said. “You really have to look hard at whether something like this should be placed on a flyway.”

Edwards also said that although the project has fewer than 50 turbines planned, once one moves in, she expects more are likely to follow.

“It’s the American way — if one wind turbine is good, then 200 must be better,” she explained. “But is it really?”

Edwards traveled out to and studied the project footprint in order to provide assessments of any potential impacts to the non-game wildlife there.

The irony of green energy projects being waylaid over wildlife concerns shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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