Archive for Sunday, July 11, 2004

Lawrence wind power company biding time on Flint Hills project

July 11, 2004


— A Lawrence-based company that wants to build wind turbines in east-central Kansas said it was weighing its legal options two weeks after Wabaunsee County officials voted to ban the machines.

J.W. Prairie Wind Power, a subsidiary of a German renewable energy firm, has worked for more than a year on the proposed Munkers Creek Windfarm on the Wabaunsee-Morris County line.

Company officials said last week they did not plan to file suit against the Wabaunsee County Commission, which voted June 28 to shut out wind energy development projects.

But they said they would take a "wait-and-see" approach and continue trying to get the decision reversed.

"It has been and will continue to be the philosophy of J.W. Prairie Wind Power to work toward a cooperative agreement with both the county and the landowners," the company said in a statement. "To that end, we will continue to work toward resolution of the zoning requirements within the county and are not inclined to seek a judicial remedy. We will continue to support our landowners and the plan for a wind farm in Wabaunsee County."

J.W. Prairie Wind Power has an office at 3211 Clinton Parkway in Lawrence. The firm's Web site lists Jennifer States as its managing director and Bridget Patti as office manager.

Wabaunsee County Commissioners Fred Howard and Maurice Gleason, who supported the ban, declined to comment Friday. Commissioner Ervan Stuewe, who voted against it, said the other companies still were interested in coming to Wabaunsee County and several landowners who wanted to lease their property to wind farm developers were talking to lawyers.

"Just because we have a ban doesn't mean someone isn't going to challenge it," Stuewe said.

Landowners throughout the Flint Hills, where Wabaunsee County sits, have fought against the 400-foot wind turbines, saying they would spoil the only tallgrass prairie left in North America.

But the Munkers Creek developers said the turbines would be built on land already tilled for farming, not virgin prairie.

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