Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Residents File Class-Action Lawsuit to Block Wind Turbines Near Kingfisher

Seven landowners filed a class-action lawsuit this week to prevent wind turbines from being built near their homes in Canadian and Kingfisher counties.

In the complaint, which is embedded above, the landowners claim that planned wind farm projects controlled by Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy would create a nuisance, devalue their property and adversely affect their health.

An organization that opposes wind projects in the two counties, the Oklahoma Wind Action Association, brought the lawsuit on behalf of the landowners. The suit was filed Aug. 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

The landowners who brought the lawsuit all live within three miles of the planned wind farm, and, in many cases, own property within the “no-build” zone of the planned locations of the 500-foot-tall turbines. From the complaint, with bullets added for readability:

  • … Industrial Wind Turbine manufacturers recommend a minimum setback or safety zone of three (3) times turbine height—in this case fifteen hundred (1500) feet—between any home and an Industrial Wind Turbine for safety purposes in case of catastrophic failure of one or more components, not to protect against adverse effects resulting from noise.
  • As a result, Industrial Wind Turbines, by their own safety standards, create a de facto “no-build” zone in a fifteen hundred (1500) radius surrounding the Turbine. In many instances, this “no-build” zone overlaps with the property of landowners who have no agreement with Defendants.
  • This invasion of Plaintiffs’ right to use and enjoy their property requires Defendants to obtain an easement from the landowner that restricts their ability to construct upon any property within the fifteen hundred (1500) feet of the Industrial Wind Turbine. Otherwise, Defendants’ Industrial Wind Turbines will interfere with Plaintiffs’ ability to use their property as they wish safely.
  • Defendants have undertaken no effort to obtain such easements and Plaintiffs will be left with a cloud upon their titles.

The wind energy industry is booming in Oklahoma, which was the country’s fourth-largest wind-power producer in 2013. But there has been consierable resistance to some wind farm projects, including the Apex projects planned for Canadian and Kingfisher counties.

In December 2013, officials in the nearby city of Piedmont approved an agreement with Apex to settle a heated, year-long fight to block wind farm construction near the city. Officials in Kingfisher, too, are negotioating with Apex on a similar setback agreement, according to the lawsuit.

On Sept. 11, the Oklahoma Corporation will hold its first public meeting to discuss potential statewide rules for the wind energy industry, an action requested by Sen. President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, which was spurred by vocal opposition to proposed wind farm projects in Osage and Craig counties.

Kent Dougherty, Director of Development at Apex, declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, but said the company has a “proven track record” in addressing community concerns.

“Numerous third-party studies on the impact of wind turbines on both health and property values repeatedly demonstrate that there are no measurable impacts,” he tells StateImpact in a written statement.

Updated 08/27/2014 with comments from Apex Clean Energy.

 


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Comments

  • Valewood

    We wish them luck. The REAL Green Movement — Trees Not Turbines — will be watching this court case, as will over 2000 other anti-wind groups from around the world.

    • Spencerforhire

      How many cases have you won?

      LOL!

  • Goldstein

    Keeping the turbines at least 1500 feet away from people’s property who aren’t getting paid by the wind energy companies should be a top priority. The farmer’s who have turbines on their land are paid $3000 – $5000/yr per turbine, and that’s not fair to their neighbors:
    http://grist.org/list/2011-04-07-money-is-a-miracle-cure-for-wind-turbine-syndrome/

    Wind is a new and untested technology which hasn’t proven itself to be reliable and safe, like hydraulic fracturing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/20/pennsylvania-fracking-spill-gas-blowout-2011_n_851637.html

    Of course the pantywaist liberals will try to go after the petroleum industry:
    http://www.infowars.com/fracking-shakes-the-earth-poisons-our-water/

    But correlation does not denote causation:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-07/oklahoma-temblors-outpace-california-as-fracking-booms.html

    Overreliance on wind energy can cause rolling brownouts when the wind isn’t blowing:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Iowa
    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/01/wind-energy-hits-over-30-of-denmarks-electricity-consumption-at-end-of-2012/

    Nothing to see here. Move along people, move along. Remember we don’t want any wind spills to contaminate the local water supplies with benzene or butoxyethanol.
    http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/02/would-republicans-string-up-koch.html

    • Spencerforhire

      Ontario (where the to top bloggers are from) is over 1800 feet setback.

    • Judy

      wind turbines are built with hazardous materials mined in China, and use huge amounts of oil and grease to run. This can and does end up on soil and water tables. Huge amounts of coal, electricity and petroleum products are required to manufacture, transport and erect this. Plus the land is torn up doing it. They are not environmentally friendly at all.

  • Jim Wiegand

    Don’t forget the protected wildlife these turbines are slaughtering. With wind turbines it is an open season with no consequences. And since this industry relies completely on fraud and corruption, any laws that require “real accountability” will chase these scum bags out of town.

  • Jim Wiegand

    I have some advice for those planning to make comments on the proposed 30 year eagle killing permits for the wind industry before the deadline on Sept 22.

    Do not beat around the bush with your statements. If you think they are liars, tell them. If you think they have been hiding the bodies of endangered species and thousands of eagles, tell them. If you think they are rigging studies and surveys, tell them. If you believe that having wings or legs chopped off by a turbine blades and then left to die is 1st degree animal cruelty, tell them.

    Then make them answer very direct and uncomfortable questions. Do not worry about being polite because they do not deserve it.

    Also remember this, the FWS answers to the Interior Department and the Interior Department unfortunately answers to the wind industry. These are the bad guys in this and the corruption taking place flows down in this order.

    Lastly I will point out something very obvious…….

    The Industry has only reported a handful of bald eagles ever having been killed by wind turbines across America . Yet in new projects where their bodies will be found by the public the because of les isolated turbine locations, the FWS estimates that 15-43 Bald Eagles will be killed annually by a single project like that planned on Chesapeake Bay.

    How could such eagle mortality estimates ever be made when tens of thousands of turbines running for decades across the remote regions of America have reportedly killed just 6 bald eagles?

    The reason for this absurdity is that they (FWS and Interior Department) already know how deadly these turbines are to bald eagles. They know this from the unreported bald eagles being killed at wind farms and their carcasses then shipped off to the National Eagle Repository.

    Since 1997 approximately 28,600 eagle carcasses have been shipped to Denver . Of these carcasses approximately 18,000 have been bald eagles. The public only knows what happened to 6 of these bald eagles (Pagel FWS 2013). Last year the parts(“pieces”) and bodies from 1795 bald eagles were reported being shipped to the Repository .

    As I pointed out earlier if you think they are liars tell them.

  • Richard Mann

    What nobody wants to hear. Bad news about Wind Turbines.

    Wind Turbines in Ontario, Canada.

    1. Health impacts of Wind Turbines. Invited talk at University of Waterloo,
    new DOT livestream DOT com/itmsstudio/events/2968290.

    2. Ineffectiveness of Wind turbines at reducing C02:
    ospe DOT on DOT ca/?page=adv_pub
    Go to report 2012, “Wind and the Electrical Grid”. Lots of other stuff there.
    OSPE is “Ontario Society of Professional Engineers”, those responsible for Generation, Distribution and Billing of Energy in Ontario. They are also the ones building Wind turbines…

    3. Economic failure of Wind Turbines:
    atguelph DOT uoguelph DOT ca/2013/06/prof-questions-benefits-of-wind-turbines/

    • Spencerforhire

      Your 1. was a talk you organised with a pharmacist so it is total biased bunk.

      Your 2. is by the Nuclear industry and had no clear Anti Wind message. Their “bad and ugly” have been debunked by every Grid that has a large Wind component. Google the myth of backup which uses data from actual “boots on the ground” Grid operators and NOT Pro or Anti Wind.The OSPE showed that Winds share of negative sales in four one hundredths of one percent. Also their life cycle is among the highest of all generation.

      3. professor of “economics” Ross McKitrick has long since been debunked as a paid supporter of Big Oil and Deniers. “We deny that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. ” So no wonder he does not see any benefit of a low carbon planet. Environment Canada calculates that it costs Canadians $40 billion a year,TODAY.

      I’m glad to you have dropped the health effects NIMBY angle , as 21 studies have really slammed that one to the matt!

  • gus

    where are the turbines manufactured and by whom?

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