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LETTER: Offer your input on wind energy systems

(metro creative)

To the Editor:

In August 2016, 300 people attended a meeting in Avon hosted by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to take comment on the proposed Prevailing Winds energy project. There were many people attending that meeting with serious concerns about the project.

Shortly afterwards Prevailing Winds withdrew their application to the PUC. Representatives of Prevailing Winds indicated a need to "better inform the community on the wind project." Their project manager stated Prevailing Winds did not intend to split the community. They also initially indicated that they did not intend to break the project up into small parts to fall below the thresholds requiring PUC approval.

Since then, there has not been a great deal of information provided to the public and impacted land owners by Prevailing Winds. They have not provided specifics of their proposed projects including physical locations of the turbines and transmission lines. In addition, the Prevailing Winds project has been broken into 13 separate entities that won't require PUC approval. This appears to be the same project involving up to 100 wind turbines in eastern Charles Mix, Bon Homme and Hutchinson counties. The concerns remain on how this project will impact the esthetics, wildlife and people living and working in and around the area.

We would like Prevailing Winds and its 13 entities to provide detailed information on the proposed installation of turbines, transmission lines and what easements will be required to complete the project.

We are in favor of renewable energy. We also own a home in the impacted area. It is hard for people to be in favor of or opposed to something if they cannot see and understand what it will look like in its final form and how it might impact them.

Since the Western Area Power Administration is providing the public an opportunity to identify issues and alternatives to the environmental assessment, the project is not finalized, and we encourage the community to submit their responses by the January 13, 2018, deadline to the WAPA by letter at: WAPA 2900 4th Ave North Billings, MT 59101-1266 or email:

Paul and Lisa Schoenfelder