Archive for Friday, May 6, 2011

Brownback expands area to keep out commercial wind farms

May 6, 2011, 5:09 p.m. Updated May 6, 2011, 5:21 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday announced a plan that he said would protect the tallgrass prairie by preventing further development of commercial wind farms in the Flint Hills.

Related document

"Tallgrass Heartland" ( .PDF )

Brownback said he has reached an agreement with a coalition of ranchers, preservationists, wind developers, power companies and government officials to keep the area free of wind turbines.

The designated “Tallgrass Heartland” area covers nearly 11,000 square miles running from Riley and Pottawatomie counties in the north to the state’s southern border.

In 2004, then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued a plan discouraging wind development in a portion of the Flint Hills. Brownback’s proposal doubles that area.

Brownback said his administration will work with wind developers to build in other parts of the state. And, he said, the Tallgrass Heartland designation will not prohibit construction of electric transmission lines. Wind farms currently under power-purchase agreements within the protected area will continue, he said, but will not be expanded.

The tallgrass prairie once covered 400,000 square miles of North America. Now, less than 1 percent remains, with most of that in Kansas.

Designating the area as the Tallgrass Heartland, Brownback said, would protect the ecosystem and increase tourism.

Allan Pollom, state director of The Nature Conservancy, commended Brownback for “his thoughtful and balanced approach. He has reminded us all, as Kansans, of the honor we share as stewards of the last great stand of tallgrass prairie.”


none2 6 years, 11 months ago

What a dumb move. If the Flint Hills is so special, why don't they require all structures to go underground. Why should we look at ugly farm homes, ugly barns, ugly silos, ugly telephone polls, ugly broken down old windmills, ugly transmission lines, etc. Bury them all.

parrothead8 6 years, 11 months ago

Because all those things you list have been there for decades, and we clearly can't do anything about them now. I don't usually agree with Brownback, but I can get behind him on this one. You speak as if you've never been to the Flint Hills.

Erin Graham 6 years, 11 months ago

But power lines are cool... and emissions from coal plants won't have an adverse affect on anything...... [sarcasm]

John Hamm 6 years, 11 months ago

@none2 & wxbuggin "Here behind the glass stands a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass.. Move along, move along" Is that what you'd prefer? Seems to be.....

TNPlates 6 years, 11 months ago

"Wind farms currently under power purchase agreements within the protected area will continue" There are still other projects outside the original "Heart of the Flint Hills" box that had spent substantial amounts of money on studies, permits, and land agreements that do not have power purchase agreements. For those companies and projects, this move will effectively kill the projects. And while Sam may work with them to build in other parts of the state, will he give them their money back so they can spend it elsewhere? I think we know the answer. The big companies will be fine, but for smaller companies, that loss could do them in.

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

What's better for tallgrass heartland - a few windmills or acid rain? Oh, never mind. Keep on building coal those coal plants, Brownie.

jayhawxrok 6 years, 11 months ago

Brownback doesn't give a crap about Kansas or Kansans, he ran for gov just to pad his right wing resume and run for the senate - I guess being a blithering idiot in the house wasn't enough. He's against anything that means progress for this state.

davidsmom 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that, but Gov. Brownback was a U.S. Senator before he ran for Governor of Kansas.

mloburgio 6 years, 11 months ago

Brownback: Kansas needs to return to WWII values

Gov. Sam Brownback harked back to the days of the Blitz on London and said Kansas needs to return to World War II values to overcome current economic struggles.

“I think we as a country are just going to have to go back to really saying, ’OK what got us to where we are? Hard work, ingenuity, education, strong families, commitments, character,’ ” Brownback told members of the Wichita Downtown Rotary Club on Monday.

In the Flint Hills, “you have miles of trails that look like the Old West,” Brownback said. “You know, you have cattle pens where you’re shooting through the Flint Hills — you’re looking out there and you could just see the covered wagons going through there.”

Read more:

dinglesmith 6 years, 11 months ago

We tend to romanticize the past, like Leave It to Beaver and Andy Griffith are biographical. Those WWII values included some great things - hard work and sacrifice. They also included some horrible things - segregation, no opportunities for women, internment of private citizens, sweat shops. We should be looking forward, not backwards, for our inspiration and constantly seek to improve.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

No matter what dirty,expensive coal and nuke power must not be further developed. Nuke and coal power are so dependent on a very very large taxpayer commitment to pay for them and insure them which makes these sources not only polluting but oh so expensive.

weeslicket 6 years, 11 months ago

ummm..... jobs, jobs, jobs.

yes. that's what he meant to say.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Brownback: Kansas needs to return to WWII values .... beware!

hmmmmmmmmmmm this man does not have a vision for Kansas.

Brownback discovered a way to keep alternative energy sources from growing.

So that means Kansas will suffer in the job market unless hydro,solar,geo thermal and bio mass are given serious consideration.

Bio Mass could also generate a new cash crop for farmers aka switchgrass farming.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 11 months ago

Energy conservation, alternative energy, "green" projects are all attached in the public mind to the Democratic Party. Brownback and his regime are all Republican. Is there any surprize at this? The Repubilican tea baggers will oppose any project, idea, theory, plan or proposal that can have the slightest possibility of being seen by the Republican wing nuts as favoting the opposing party. Does this clear up this issue??

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, that's definitely one of the reasons he opposes the plan, but it's a pity, since it would bring jobs of the future to the state. Ah well, better just keep regulating those businesses instead of allowing a little free market entrepreneurship in the area.

Bob Reinsch 6 years, 11 months ago

As Koch Industries makes their money off oil refining processes, I'm going to guess that the Koch brothers would prefer we didn't put up as many wind turbines as we're capable of. It might cut into their profits.

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