Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where is our moratorium?

Submitted to Hays Daily News, Sept. 20, by J.P. Michaud.

Opponents of the proposed wind energy project west of Hays went to great effort and expense to collect more than 700 signatures petitioning for a moratorium on wind energy development until adequate assessments of environmental, economic, and medical impacts can be conducted by suitably qualified, independent experts – as opposed to blindly accepting the propaganda of those with vested financial interests in the project.

Surely no one can argue that this is an unreasonable request. So what could possibly give county commissioners pause in proceeding in this direction? After all, fewer than 400 signatures of registered voters are required to recall a county commissioner, or to petition a grand jury to investigate political corruption and conflicts of interest on the part of appointed or elected public officials.

A moratorium is not saying 'NO' to wind energy. It is simply a temporary stay of proceedings to permit the gathering of information by qualified individuals, the development of adequate regulations to protect the community, and a sober, unbiased assessment of all the consequences.

The alternative is a hasty and ill-advised rush forward without adequate information or sufficient analysis of consequences. Were our County Commission to consider entertaining an early reapplication by Iberdrola, gerrymandered to circumvent a perfectly valid protest petition, it would be cause for serious concern about the depth and breadth of political corruption in Ellis county, not to mention setting the stage for a lengthy and expensive legal battle.

It cannot be denied by anyone that the current zoning regulations are little more than a blank check for Iberdrola to do as they please on 10,000 acres. They consist of language designed to facilitate, rather than regulate wind energy and they were installed by Lance Russell and Jo Kraus specifically to benefit their family – not Ellis County. These regulations are so pathetically inadequate that even David Yearout, the state counsel sent to advise Ellis County on such matters, and incidentally a member of the governor's task force promoting wind energy, found it necessary to remove himself from any association with them.

So I ask again, where is our moratorium?

No comments: