Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wind Industrialization Located Too Close to Hays Would Harm the Economic Growth of Hays

Letter from Jody Pfannenstiel, resident of Ellis County, Kansas

Recent claims have been stated in the The Hays Daily News claiming the majority of Ellis County support the current industrial wind development. On what basis are these claims made? Has this entire debate really just come down to "because I said so"?

Unfortunately, there has been a tremendous amount of confusion and misguided information circulating about the project in the effort to secure public support. Virtually no attention has been paid to full disclosure or fact-finding.

Iberdrola has put out a lot of misleading information to secure their project.

They, of course, have massive profit at stake. Yet the citizens of Ellis County have been left to make up their minds based on this information alone without any independent study. Reminds me of the old advertising poster that read; "Four out of five doctors smoke Camels!"

In order to make an informed decision, interested citizens require at bare minimum the following: a comprehensive land use plan and independent projections of the economic growth of Hays. I am at a complete loss as to how we can make this decision responsibly without any real study of question.

As we look back over the last 35 years of Ellis County history, we can project huge problems ahead if we allow this development this close to our city.

Imagine, what if 35 years ago turbines were placed north of the interstate? This area was roughly the same distance from town then as the proposed project is today. Has this been allowed, we could forget Wal-Mart, Home Depot and everything else in one of the most economically important areas of our city today.

We don't have to stop there however, look east down 27th Street, 35 years ago, you would not have found the Sternberg Museum, Edward Jones, the nursing homes, dental offices and beautiful homes that now occupy that area. More economic growth vaporized by turbines.

Thirty-five years ago, these pasture areas were vacant and available. Had we filled them with something as short-sighted as a wind development, we would have lost millions in additional growth potential. If we could go back in time and purpose wind turbines in those areas knowing what they contribute today, how many people would actually vote for them?

Similarly, if we allow this project this close to town, what development we will never envision or realize in place of a project that could easily have been sited elsewhere? At the very least, this area of 20,000 acres of prime development land deserves and demands independent study to ensure that the $600,000 per year will not cost us millions annually in lost potential.

Why hasn't this been done? That question should deeply concern the citizens of Ellis County. Based on my research, I think we will find a much different picture than the one being sold to us. I have yet to find a single community that can verify an economic boom as promised to them by the likes of Iberdrola.

Now, since imaginary figures have played such a crucial role in this debate, allow me a few of my own projections, based on the people I drink coffee with:

  • One hundred percent of the people of Ellis County believe they should be presented with unbiased facts and figures to decide their vote.

  • One hundred percent of them want to know what the hidden risks of such a development are before it is approved.

  • One hundred percent also want to know if there has been any underhanded political dealings to avoid rewarding unethical behavior.

Lastly, 100 percent of people in Ellis County are positive that if this project is approved and things go bad because of the poor choice of location, poor regulation and planning and shady political dealings, no one will step forward to take the blame.

Submitted by:
Jody Pfannenstiel
974 Mount Pleasant
Hays, Kansas

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