The Lancaster County Planning Commission and Citizen Working Group have published their latest draft of wind turbine zoning regulations.

Click here to read the proposed zoning (PDF).

Bold Nebraska supports more wind development in our state.

As counties are developing strong local control of energy—whether it is pipelines or wind turbines—we believe citizen and landowner input is critical.

We call on all levels of government to be fully transparent and to engage the public in meaningful ways as new regulations are developed.

The Lancaster County Planning Commission has done exactly this—they developed a Citizen Working Group that gave recommendations and met over several months.

Some information posted from those meetings we agree with, and some we do not; but the model the Lancaster Board has put forward of having a transparent process is one we fully support.

The proposed ordinance, which is now open for public comments and has a public hearing on August 19th, was developed by listening to citizens, the wind company Volkswind, the health department and environmental groups.

While everyone involved does not agree on every part of the proposed ordinance, we think the process is a good path and want to see more Nebraskans weigh in on the ordinance to express where they think it should be strengthened or where they think the ordinance is too restrictive.

Given the language of the ordinance has now changed, these are the three items we will bring to the Lancaster County hearing:

  • Establish a wind-turbine specific penalty in dollar terms for violations of the limits, setbacks or decommissioning (Note: while the proposed ordinance covers these issues, it does not cover a fine or penalty if a wind company is non-compliant).
  • Wind turbine setbacks should be no less than 1,000 feet from a non-participating residence (Note: the proposed ordinance now does this).
  • Lancaster County should ensure all forms of energy have local zoning regulations and should ensure regulations are consistent. If wind turbines have a 1,000-foot setback, so should pipelines.

Sign the petition for your name to be added to the over 1,000 Nebraskans who support local control of wind power!

Bottom line for Bold Nebraska: Local zoning and transparent governance is the right path for wind, solar, coal and pipelines.

Citizens and landowners should continue to weigh in to ensure property rights are protected, health concerns are addressed, siting is done with great care, and that the development of clean, reliable wind energy is strongly encouraged to get our state off its dependence on coal.

Especially in the Hallam community — where a large coal plant is located that is harming the climate, water and public health.

In addition to signing the wind petition, we encourage you to also submit public comments to the Lancaster County Planning Board, and attend the public hearing on August 19. 

Submit your comments via email:

You can mail your comments to:

Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department
555 S. 10th St., Ste. 213
Lincoln, NE 68508

Thank you for being part of Bold Nebraska. Each action we take brings us closer to energy that protects our land and water while ensuring property rights are respected.

-Jane Kleeb

(photo by Bill Sitzmann for Omaha Magazine)