12 June 2013

Wind Measurement Towers Approved for Cherry County

Cherry County officials have approved the placement of three wind measurement equipment towers by Bluestem Sandhills L.L.C.

The towers, with a height of a few inches more than 196 feet, will be placed on public and private property at three places within the county. Details on legal descriptions, with the numbers as designated during their local consideration, were provided by Jim Edwards, the county zoning administrator. Land ownership was determined by checking online parcel ownership details.

# 3: section 30/31, T27N, R34W, which is section 30-31 in township 27 north and range 34 west.
On the Donald Cox Ranch northwest of Mullen.
# 4: southeast 1/4 of section 20, T25N R28W
On public property managed by the Bureau of Educational Lands and Funds and within a larger extent of land comprising all or a portion of 14 sections west of Highway 83, on and north of the southern edge of Cherry county, north of Thedford.
# 5: southwest 1/4 of section 29, T34N R31W
A parcel on the Rocking J Company ranch south of Cody; with Jerry Adamson a principal.

Construction of these towers was approved by the Cherry County planning commission at their May 7th meeting, with a vote of 5-0, according to Jim Edwards, zoning administrator. There are nine members of the board. One member, George Johnson did not vote on the measure, according to Edwards.

Johnson, of Cody, is president of the Cherry County Wind Energy Association.

The county commissioners vote on May 28th was 2-0 for approval. Commissioner Jerry Adamson did not vote on the measure, Edwards said. The two other members are Mark Adamson and Jim Van Winkle.

The Bureau of Educational Lands and Funds, a state agency, has entered more than 28,000 acres "into membership with the Cherry County Wind Association for potential wind activity," according to Cindy S.H. Kehling, a spokesperson for the agency who responded to an email inquiry.

"The membership agreement allows undertaking of wind energy activities including measuring, monitoring, recording, studying, testing, analysis and evaluation of wind resources and other meteorological data on any land entered into the Cherry County Wind LLC association during the pre-operating phase," she indicated.

This management board of this state of Nebraska agency discussed and approved belonging to the Cherry County Wind LLC at its May 11, 2012 meeting, Kehling said in an email response to a second inquiry. The board is responsible for "maximizing the income and preserving the assets of the Trust for the exclusive benefit of the Trust's beneficiaries - K-12 public schools," she said.

Each monthly meeting is open to the public.

"There was no separate 'hearing' on this topic" of approving the placement of a MET tower, Kehling said.

There was no information provided in regards any sort of a public review process associated with the approval for placing this tower or wind turbines on the public property.

To attain additional details on these towers, such as projected time of construction, period of operation, several calls were made to contact Eric Johnson, a principal contact of Bluestem Sandhills L.L.C. He was not available via phone on several occasions, and despite a couple of unsuccessful messages, repeated attempts were not successful. This company has a primary office on Izard Street, in Omaha, NE, as well as an office in Valentine.

These towers were being registered with the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics office in early June, as required since they have a height of more than 150 feet above ground level.

Since they are less than 200 feet in extent, these towers do not have to be registered with the Federal Communications Commission.

Also: July 12, 2013. Grant County News 128(49): 1, 4.