Letter: There’s much more than county wind ordinance at stakeIn response to the June 21 Goodhue County Board meeting, I am compelled to write about the outcome of a request by a citizens for a “Resolution Requesting a Comprehensive Avian Study by AWA Goodhue LLC Prior to the Construction of an LWECS Project.”
By: Barbara A. Stussy, Zumbrota, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
In response to the June 21 Goodhue County Board meeting, I am compelled to write about the outcome of a request by a citizens for a “Resolution Requesting a Comprehensive Avian Study by AWA Goodhue LLC Prior to the Construction of an LWECS Project.”
AWA Goodhue Wind completed an environmental study dated July 2010 (submitted October 2010) reporting no bald eagles within the project.
Since that time, many new nests have been found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have been actively involved with local landowners in the documenting bald eagle nests, roosting/foraging areas and numbers. Westwood Professional Services (contracted by AWA Goodhue) has been notified of all information found.
This information prompted the resolution taken to the county commissioners notifying them of the eagles in the AWA Goodhue footprint, the recent communications with the USFWS and DNR, the timing of the submission of documents, the incomplete and inaccurate “desktop” study done by Westwood, and the need for Goodhue County to support a complete, comprehensive avian study before the AWA Goodhue Wind project begins construction.
Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel expressed concern that signing the proposed resolution would undermine the integrity of the county’s wind ordinance submitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (This is the same person who signed a letter with Commissioner Jim Bryant on county letterhead undermining the ordinance after its passage in October 2010 and sent to the MPUC.) Bryant would not support the resolution either. (Commissioners Richard Samuelson and Ron Allen were not present.)
The MPUC will make its final decision on the AWA Goodhue’s certificate of need and site permit on June 30. Whether the MPUC will listen to this new information is unknown.
It appears there are two county commissioners who do not feel the avian population in our beautiful county is important enough to request a thorough and comprehensive study before the wind project outcome is decided.
Barbara A. Stussy