(St. Joseph) -- Buchanan County commissioners in northwest Missouri are working toward enacting regulations for wind energy, which has become a controversial issue for county residents.
No wind farm has located in Buchanan County, but some companies have shown interest. Presiding Commissioner Lee Sawyer sees a need for regulations.
“Here’s what we’re trying to do. As it stands now, we have absolutely no regulations whatsoever for any type of wind energy,” Sawyer says. “So, what we’re trying to do, and we’ve hired an outside firm who does this all over the country, to help us put together an ordinance and regulations for wind energy.”
The commission is working with Kansas City engineering firm Black and Veatch. Sawyer says a draft proposal is modeled on regulations Black and Veatch helped draft in Michigan.
Sawyer says, at present, there are no rules on the books.
“Frankly, any landowner in Buchanan County does not have any protections regarding what would be considered kind of typical or normal regulations for that type of energy,” according to Sawyer.
He says wind farms have created additional tax revenue for some counties.
“We know, in other counties that it has significantly helped out school districts and significantly helped out fire districts and significantly helped out other situations through additional tax revenue,” Sawyer says. “So, we want to keep that into consideration, too, because, in a sense, it creates an economic development boon in some ways.”
Sawyer says the commissioners also know many oppose wind energy, especially the wind turbines and don’t want them going up in the county.
He says the county will hold public hearings before adopting any final regulations of wind farms.