Archive for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gov. Sam Brownback defends decision to expand wind-free zone in Flint Hills

Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday speaks about the attraction of the Flint Hills and also comments about the recent controversy in Cowley County, where officials there have said Brownback's expansion of a wind-farm free zone eliminated a potential wind project. Brownback denies the assertion, saying that the project wasn't going to happen anyway. The comments were made during the governor's summit on the Flint Hills.

May 17, 2011

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday defended his decision to expand an area designed to keep commercial wind farms out of the Flint Hills.

Brownback has been criticized by officials from several southeastern counties who said the governor acted without consulting them when he doubled the size of an area to prevent further wind development.

And those officials said his action may have killed a BP wind energy project in their area that had been in the planning stages for years.

Brownback said his decision was based on tourism opportunities by protecting the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills.

“We are focused on long-term economic growth. And I believe this opportunity for us in the Flint Hills and tourism represents significant near-term and long-term economic growth,” he said.

Brownback this month designated the “Tallgrass Heartland” area, covering 11,000 square miles from Riley and Pottawatomie counties in the north to the state’s southern border. In 2004, then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius discouraged wind development in a portion of the Flint Hills; Brownback’s designation doubled that area.

Cowley County commissioners had been working with BP Wind Energy for years to build a wind farm in the northeast corner of the county, which now falls in the Tallgrass Heartland.

Three state legislators — two Republicans and one Democrat — sent a letter of protest to Brownback, who is a Republican. They said that excluding them from his decision “appears to fly in the face of the concept of open and transparent government.”

Cowley County Administrator Leroy Alsup was at the Flint Hills Visioning Summit on Tuesday where Brownback spoke.

Alsup said he didn’t want to confront the governor about the issue, but hoped in the future “we won’t see that closed process used on other items.”

Brownback noted that BP had publicly stated that it was already considering pulling out of the proposed project in Cowley County before Brownback announced his plan. BP was having trouble finding a power purchaser, a company official had said.

Brownback said he would “continue to work with Cowley County in any way” and that he hoped to announce soon a potential expansion of BP operations elsewhere in Kansas.

Comments

seeker_of_truth 4 years ago

Assume he was reading from Koch talking point memo. Brownie lacks ability to think for himself. Just another christian right wing nutcase.

wheels 4 years ago

Yeah, just like that crazy right winger Sebelius who set up the initial development restrictions in the Flint Hills.

gkerr 4 years ago

Seeker of ad hominem, The wind farms are ugly. Power has to be shipped out of places that might not like large transmission lines trapesing all over their territory. Add to that recent revelations that wind farming is poorly able to compete with traditional forms of power prduction and even Mr. Pickens out of west Texas wasn't able to get the support for his project. Other issues include the political considerations that G.E. Is a huge supporter of the current administration, has been heavily subsidized by the croney capitalist Mr. Obama, and the fact that B.P.was a player in the project is not exactly a reccomendation of technical confidence either and they likewise have been involved with the democrat party as heavy contributors for years. Ugly windmills were nixed in Marthas Vinyard the Democrat Mother land by the Democrat players there. Why impose them on the flint hills? Gkerr

gkerr 4 years ago

none2 pretty, Put up a windmill on your own pretty land. Get solar panels on your own pretty house. Use your solar or wind to charge the battery of your own pretty car. Heat with wood in a pretty wood burning stove. Go without air conditioning and sweat pretty much. Heat and cool with geothermal using 60 to 70% less power- pretty neat is geothermal.

You can have what you want but you have to put in some pretty effort and pretty cash to get it. Leave the rest of us alone. No windmills in the Flint Hills. Even the past pretty Dem governor had enough sense to keep wind mills off of the Flint Hills.

Gkerr

gkerr 4 years ago

Seeker of ad hominem, The wind farms are ugly. Power has to be shipped out of places that might not like large transmission lines trapesing all over their territory. Add to that recent revelations that wind farming is poorly able to compete with traditional forms of power prduction and even Mr. Pickens out of west Texas wasn't able to get the support for his project. Other issues include the political considerations that G.E. Is a huge supporter of the current administration, has been heavily subsidized by the croney capitalist Mr. Obama, and the fact that B.P.was a player in the project is not exactly a reccomendation of technical confidence either and they likewise have been involved with the democrat party as heavy contributors for years. Ugly windmills were nixed in Marthas Vinyard the Democrat Mother land by the Democrat players there. Why impose them on the flint hills? Gkerr

WHY 4 years ago

And there is no way tourism is going to make more money than one wind turbine in this state.

John Hamm 4 years ago

thebcman Or let's consider that the flinthills are one natural thing that Kansas can be proud of and deserve to be treated better than home for a bunch of windmills. Oh, did you note that BP was having trouble finding a purchaser of the power generated? i thought not. "Here behind the glass stands a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along, move along." ELP

Brian Hall 4 years ago

Have you ever seen wind turbines? They do not take away from the landscape anymore than the cell towers, power lines or dilapidated barns currently seen in the Flint Hills.

Also, Kansas has lots of natural things to be proud of besides the Flint Hills. Arikaree Breaks, the Big Basin Prairie, Alcove Spring, not to mention numerous scenic byways. Somehow I think if the Flint Hills were further west no one would care about them as much but because they are closer to Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City people consider them more important.

homechanger 4 years ago

Yes turbines do detract from nature. They are quite large, much bigger than a dilapidated barn. But who cares right?

gkerr 4 years ago

Bcman, Great arguments, well researched and thought out. Compelling. Genius. Keep it up.
Gkerr

gkerr 4 years ago

none2, If everyone left who deigned to disagree with you who would pay for your entitlements? Gkerr

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years ago

Hey, Keiling, what the heck is a "wind free zone".............In Kansas??????

Somebody needs to study up on their phraseology.

notanota 4 years ago

He's planning for long term economic growth when people will totally eschew renewable energy sources for coal, right?

Calliope877 4 years ago

I thought we were supposed be finding alternate "resources" for energy? The coal supply isn't infinite. We have plenty of open wind country. The wind farms could be tourist attractions, they'd only add to the Flint Hills.

cowboy 4 years ago

smilin Sam the Flim Flam man

Brownhack needs to figure out that as governor he has an entire state of constituents , not just the central Kansas good ole boys that he has delivered the bacon to for the last decade. In this day and age to make a mistake such as this one illustrates the absolute amateur hour staff that is present in the state house.

matchbox81 4 years ago

The real issue seems to be that Gov. Brownback made a decision that that affected quite a large number of constituents, towns, and counties, without a) discussing with affected officials, or b) basing it on any specific policy/reasoning. Tourism? OK, Why that acreage? Why those specific locations? Why not extend it another 50 miles this way or that way?

With one blow, these counties had a potentially lucrative economic opportunity taken away.

mloburgio 4 years ago

The wind turbines will get in the way of pious sam, when he is out looking for wagon trains.

"We've got to relearn the lesson of the World War II generation. We can. We're going to." He also urged development of tourism in the Flint Hills, where he said a former Kansas State University professor and entrepreneur is hoping to create the "Sturgis of horseback riding."

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: http://www.kansas.com/2011/04/19/1813639/brownback-kansas-needs-wwii-values.html#ixzz1MhuUNY00

ivalueamerica 4 years ago

I support wind energy, but I agree that the flint hills need to be protected.

What sucks about this decision is that it was made without consulting those who it most directly impacts, the local governance.

That is a heavy handed jack boot approach and flies directly in the face of what Brownback said was a core value, local rights. He believes in states rights...he says..but does not give local communities any say in what he does?

He is a failed leader who wants to be a dictator.

He should be recalled.

gkerr 4 years ago

Ivalueliberalamerica,

Sucks being conflicted doesn't it. Support wind energy and protecting the flint hills is reasonable. Sam made a decision to protect the vista of the flint hills. We have centuries of coal methane natural gas available for our energy use. Windmills breakdown and the technology must be subsidized to work- see GE in bed with Whitehouse, 5 billion in earnings not one cent of tax paid.
Gkerr

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

For Pete's sake, think of all the new jobs Il Marrone is creating for horses with this "job creating" idea.

Il Marrone says his number one priority is the economy -- it is his words that matter, not his actions.

somedude20 4 years ago

His sky god must have told him this in a dream that he had. Hey, the jesus's face is in my toast today. Which one of you god fearin Kansas folks wanna buy it? I will take two goats and a sister!

TNPlates 4 years ago

Anyone know, how much money flows into the local economy by the Symphony in the Flint Hills? I assume that the landowner gets paid, but what about other revenue from hotels, restaurants, etc?

It's been 10 years since I tried to vacation in the Flint Hills (and at that time the accommodations were sparse) - has that changed? Are there really lands someone can hike, bike or horse-ride on? Just curious whether the things Brownback speaks of are possible or just a dream. Sebelius had the same talking points when she initially stopped wind development in the "Heart of the Flint Hills" and I have no idea, besides two large stone signs on I-70, if anythings become of the tourism push.

Small irony in the video as he's defending his limits on wind development, he was nearly drowned out by the wind blowing.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

Western KS is in a drought that is impacting the agricultural economy out there.

How much water will the new coal plant use again?

Where will most of the energy from the new coal plant go again? Who will get paid as a result?

Economic prosperity for who exactly? Kansas farmers? Or coal plant owners and investors?

I'm all for preserving the tall grass prairie in the flint hills, but such a gesture is pretty empty when you turn around and support coal plants out west that exacerbate water shortages and have a direct and dire impact on the agricultural economy.

Brownback could earn some cool points if he, in return for eliminating a large swath of potential wind farm real estate, would put adequate effort into seeing some of the wind farm proposals out west come to fruition. It's windy as heck out there. The energy companies lease the land from from the land owners, putting money directly in their pockets. It's renewable energy that will likely be sold locally until we develop a more efficient storage mechanism. Win, win, win.

jayhawxrok 4 years ago

Brownback is a zealot, he cares nothing about Kansas or its citizens. The same idiots whining about the wind farms are crying drill baby drill....right wing idiots.

organicman 4 years ago

I am so excited after viewing the video clip that Gov. Sam Brownback is at last a supporter of bike trail development. With so many railbanked miles of potential trail development "shovel ready", many of them in the Flint Hills, a booster like Sam is just what the effort needs. There is an absolutely beautiful abandoned railline running north from 50 highway near Elmdale to Burdick, KS along Diamond Creek. This trail would be a world class and needs to be railbanked, if it is not already. With Robin Jennison at Wildlife and Parks and Gov. Sam Brownback solidly behind trail development in Kansas the opposition to trails and obstruction of trail construction by the Kansas Farm Bureau will be a thing of the past.

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