Palo Alto County residents argue whether to change the Wind Conversion System Ordinance

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 9:30 PM CDT
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EMMETSBURG, Iowa (KTIV) - The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Wednesday night as it considers whether to amend the Wind Conversion System Ordinance.

Wednesday night was the first of three scheduled public hearings for Palo Alto County residents to voice their opinions, feelings, and concerns to county supervisors.

The ordinance was first approved in 2016, to build Wind Energy Conversion Systems, or wind turbines, in Palo Alto County. 170 were built northeast of Emmetsburg, and an additional 40 to 50 more might be built near Lost Island Lake.

Some residents have mixed feelings about building additional turbines. Some see the benefits for energy as it relates to farming, while others feel it will take away from the quality of life near Lost Island Lake.

“What we’re trying to do is get the setbacks back further,” says Del Ray Bredehoeft, a resident near Lost Island Lake. “Make it where there’s a lot of wildlife in the area, lots of migratory birds. SO we want to protect those and do what we can. So we’re moving everything back as far as we possibly can to protect the churches and cemetery.”

Some people are concerned about the wildlife. That’s because some areas near Lost Island Lake are bird conservation areas.

Others feel the turbines can boost energy, which in turn, would lead to successful farming.

“My family and I are in favor of the windmills. My son is a 4th generation on our farm and we feel it will help our farm going forward. And we’re harvesting the wind and we’re in favor of it,” says Dave Chapman of Ruthven, Iowa.

Representatives from Vestas Wind Systems were also there to share their proposal and hear concerns.

The next scheduled hearing is set for June 15th.

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