A lot of residents living in the proposed wind energy development area already find the activities of Krista Gordon and CPV corporation very unethical - and they haven't even built any of their big ugly machines yet.
It all started with CPV corporation going quietly around trying to buy easements and sign leases, one at a time, instead of approaching the local community as a whole with a public statement of their intentions.
While the instigating landholders received contracts entitling them to thousands of dollars per windmill, per year, some unsuspecting retirees and elderly absentee landholders were lured into signing contracts entitling them to a mere $500 per year.
Is this the kind of corporation we want to entrust with our local economy?
Krista Gordon’s presentation on Friday May 18 at the Fox Pavilion was both inaccurate and misleading. She claimed that our photos were depicting her turbines as 900 ft tall – all while she showed us photo montage shots angled to make the turbines look shorter than power poles strategically placed in the foreground. Not one of Krista’s photographs depicted any familiar building or landmark – or any type of tall structure other than turbines that might serve as a reference for their true height. In contrast, a careful review of the photo distributed on the ECEAC flyer reveals a familiar landmark – the cell phone tower on Golf Course hill – known to be 400 ft in height and clearly taller than any of our depicted turbines. Clearly, this was a conservative simulation.
There was plenty of other material in that presentation that merits de-bunking, but in the interest of space I will address only one other issue. We were shown pictures of several properties in Fenner, New York, that sold at increased prices over a five year period despite being located near the Fenner Wind Farm. Notably, no turbines were visible in the pictures – possibly they were cropped out by the real estate photographer. The problem is that the Fenner Wind Farm could not possibly be less like the Hays Wind Farm.
There are only 20 turbines in Fenner (marked in green), they are only 150 ft towers, they are all in a central cluster on a ridge, and the minimum setback from houses is 4000 ft. with most homes at a distance of a mile or more (marked by the thin blue inner circle). In contrast, the proposed Hays wind farm is seven times larger, with towers 50% taller, and is scattered throughout established settlements. Furthermore, the nature of the terrain is very different – Hays has very flat terrain with virtually no tree cover so the visibility distance will be greatly increased.
In the early days of May, CPV corporation began spying on us with road-side listening devices, possibly to try and record the loudest passing truck noises. I suppose that way, after they destroyed our environment visually and audibly, they could try and tell us we already lived in a noisy place before the turbines went in. We called the Ellis County Sheriff and verified that permits were required for such devices, but no permits had been requested. CPV were asked to remove these devices several times before compliance was finally obtained.
Besides spying on our noise levels without proper authorization, they have also been spying on our wind levels for at least four years. Back in August 2005, CPV (then DisGen) boasted in the High Plains Journal that they had a tower 400 feet tall to collect wind readings at the Hays site. You can read about it here at www.hpj.com.
And here is the tower just northwest of the end of 180th Ave. north of Golf Course Road.
This tower truly is 400 feet tall. For reference, the hay bales in the left lower corner are each 5 ft tall.
CPV has up to ten more towers distributed throughout the area on private lands, each roughly 200 ft high. We checked with the local environmental office and found that no zoning permits were on file for any of these constructions. This would not have been a violation of local building codes for their original construction, because coutny-wide zoning was not yet in place. However, at least two towers collapsed in the ice strom of New Years Day, and their re-construction did require a permit. We were initially told at the environmental office that no permits were on file. Now we are told by the county attorney that they do exist, although no one has yet been able to see them.
A more serious infraction is that any structure over 200 ft. tall requires form 7460-1 to be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration. We checked with the FAA. They have no records of any 7460-1 forms being filed for these towers. We helpfully provided them with exact GPS coordinates of 2 towers so they could investigate.
Any structure more than 200 ft tall is required to have lights for aviation safety. Each violation is punishable by a fine of $1,000 per day. In addition to its low visibility, the 400 ft tower has 28 guy wires holding it up - you can barely see them in the picture. It is not surprising to discover that in May, 2005 a local newspaper reproted the death of a crop dusting pilot in Crosby County, TX who flew into an anemometer tower for a wind farm development. "The 400 foot structure had only been installed recently and was not fitted with any warning devices..."
You can see that the instrumentation for the anemometers on these towers is powered by a small solar panel at the base. There is no power for lighting whatsoever. The 400 ft. tower has been in place FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS, so we are very fortunate that no pilots have been injured or killed.
Will Our County Government Protect Us?
This company has not put up their first windmill in Ellis County and they have already disregarded and disrespected local and federal regulations, apparently without consequence.
Why does it fall on the citizens of this county to investigate these matters in an effort to protect themselves?
More importantly, in light of these infractions, how can our local government possibly entrust this corporation to honor and protect this community throughout a $300,000,000 industrial development with all its attendant dangers?
To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!