150920_windfarm (copy)

An old auger carries a sign against the installation of wind turbines in DeKalb County.

One only needs to take a drive through most of Kansas to understand the excesses caused by an unchecked industry propped up by government. The staggering number of wind turbines (over 40 fields in total) has destroyed much of the beautiful Kansas landscape. Wildlife is being chased away, and birds, bats and even beneficial insects are being wiped out. Stray voltage has negative impacts on dairy cattle.

Even though there is a moratorium on wind development in the Flint Hills to protect the unique and pristine beauty of that area, giant turbines are now sited in Marshall County, which is considered the northern portion of the Flint Hills.

While “big wind” is using Kansas as a temporary source for their heavily-subsidized turbines to make a buck off the taxpayer, these same taxpayers will soon be faced with questions about what to do with thousands of turbines that have outlived their usefulness, and the extraordinary high cost ($3 billion) it will take to decommission them — not to mention the environmental impact of burying the turbines in landfills.

While many would prefer an outright moratorium on new turbines, SB 279 is a modest approach that respects the right of property owners.

Why don’t these wind farms pay property taxes instead of the payments in lieu of taxes that remit only a tiny fraction of the funds to counties where these are installed? What will be the depreciated value of the turbines when they finally do come onto the tax rolls? Can wind companies show us a list of the 22,000 jobs that these wind companies claim to have produced?

Why is it that electrical rates in Kansas have climbed nearly 90% since 2007 when wind turbines began appearing in Kansas? Why did the attorney for a wind company offer $550,000 to the city fathers of Corning (population 650) to stop their zoning against wind? Why did they succeed despite the protests of landowners in the city and surrounding area?

— A meteorologist for 40 years, Mike Thompson is now a Republican state senator in Kansas.

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