Nemaha county weighs pros and cons of new wind farm at community hearing

SENECA, Kan. (WIBW) - A proposed wind farm in Nemaha county is drawing a great deal of support and criticism from people who live there.

Dozens of people came to the Nemaha county community building in Seneca Thursday afternoon to speak their mind about the project at a county commission meeting.

The Soldier Creek wind farm project is big - covering about 85,000 acres.

The land is just south of Seneca, and turbines could be constructed as early as 2020.

With the exception of Corning and Goff, the area would soon be dotted with over 100 wind turbines.

At this point, it's all still just a plan - a plan that's generating a lot of buzz well before the first turbine goes up.

The goal of Thursday's meeting was two-fold - let the public speak their mind - and let experts debunk wind energy myths.

"Clear up some of the misunderstanding that people have about the project," said Conlan Kennedy, a spokesperson for NextEra Energy.

But Sebetha resident Laverne Orton disagrees. He was one of the first people to speak his mind in front of the board of county commissioners.

"The people I've talked to are dead-set against it," he said.

"I am concerned for my grand-kids and for my great grand-kids because I think that these turbines do create a health hazard."

He isn't alone - many people at the meeting share his view - citing the incessant noise of the blades and calling into question the cost to build versus energy saved.

"If it wasn't for the subsidies that the government was giving them, they just wouldn't work," Orton said.

Many others disagree with him. They say turbines generate much more than power.

"Wind energy is safe, it's good for the economy, and it's good for the environment," Kennedy said.

"It's gonna generate millions of dollars for landowners it's going to create jobs, it's going to boost the local economy," he continued.

"Not only that but it's also gonna bring in millions of dollars for schools, roads, and other essential services."

For now it's still just a plan until the commission's term sheet is agreed upon.

if you'd like to read those terms for construction yourself - you can find them here.