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High court rejects latest plea to save Fairbank wind turbines

High court rejects latest plea to save Fairbank wind turbines


The three large wind turbines are near the Flint Hills ethanol plant near Fairbank. 

FAIRBANK — The Iowa Supreme Court has dealt another blow to three controversial wind energy turbines just east of Fairbank.

The high court on Tuesday rejected a request from the turbine developers to review a district court order requiring the structures be removed by Dec. 9.

Attorneys for turbine developers — Mason Wind, Dante Wind 6, Galileo Wind 1 and Venus Wind 4 — indicated in a separate district court filing that they have ceased electric production at the project and intend to sign a turbine removal contract by Friday.

The project has been embroiled in litigation since 2015 when the city of Fairbank and surrounding landowners filed a lawsuit against Fayette County and the turbine owners claiming the project was built in violation of county zoning regulations.

They were already providing power to Alliant Energy in 2016 when Judge John Bauercamper sided with the project opponents and ordered the turbines to be removed. That decision was later upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Bauercamper then ruled June 12 that the county and turbine owners were in contempt of court for failing to remove the structures or post a bond to cover the removal while the issue was pending appeal.

That contempt order required the turbines to cease energy production by July 2, be under a removal contract by July 27 and be removed at the turbine developers’ cost by Dec. 9. Meeting the deadlines would purge the contempt order and potentially more serious penalties the court could impose.

Attorneys were expected to be back in court today to clarify terms related to the removal contract.

A separate case related to the turbines remains active.

The turbine developers had sought a variance to the zoning ordinance — in essence, legalizing them after the fact — from the Fayette County Board of Adjustment but were turned down June 12. The developers have appealed that decision in district court.


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