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Kline meets with wind opponents

Congressman John Kline listens to local citizens' thoughts on wind turbines at a meeting Monday afternoon in Cannon Falls.

CANNON FALLS -- "They pretty much tell you 'We're going to be here. Accept it, you don't have a choice,'" Goodhue resident Melody Ryan said of AWA Goodhue Wind, the developer behind a planned wind farm in Goodhue County.

Ryan was one of about 20 people Monday who contended that AWA Goodhue Wind has been lying to residents within its project footprint. She said a neighbor signed an agreement to be part of the project because he was told that several of his neighbors had also signed -- only to find out they didn't.

"This is common. They lie to people," said Kristi Rosenquist, another Goodhue resident against the wind company.

The wind opponents sat down with District 2 U.S. Rep. John Kline in Cannon Falls on Monday to share their concerns and ask for his help because many felt they were being ignored by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, no matter how credible the information they provide.

"They ignore anything we send," Bob Rosenquist of Goodhue said.

Citizens thought a more well-known name like Kline's on a letter to the PUC would help shine light on some concerns surrounding the wind farm of which the PUC approved a permit.

"I think ... every kind of pressure we can get, every kind of push we can get makes a difference," Bob Rosenquist added.

Mary Hartman of Rochester asked Kline whether he could appear on a television news program to discuss the hot topic.

Kline reminded citizens that he primarily works on education, work force and armed services issues: He serves on those House committees.

He made no promises, but the congressman did say he doesn't agree with wind energy as a solution.

"I've never been a fan of these wind turbines, I don't like them," Kline said. "Wind doesn't provide electricity. In terms of percentage, it's tiny."

"What's going on at the federal level to keep this out of the county?" Kristi Rosenquist asked Kline.

The congressman said for the past several years, practically anything with the word "green" in front of it was able to secure federal funding.

"There was a sense that we ought to explore any kind of renewable energy that existed," Kline said of the pressure put on legislators.