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Minutes for HB2273 - Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications

Short Title

Establishing the wind generation permit and property protection act.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 19, 2019

Chair Seiwert opened the hearing.  Nick Myers, gave a brief overview of the bill. (Attachment 1) He stood for questions.

Kristy Horsch gave proponent testimony. (Attachment 2)  She believes that citizens that live in and around industrialized wind energy have no guarantee of any protection.  She believes this is a jumping off point of protection for local land owners who previously have not had laws protecting them, until local county officials can develop regulations that are best-suited to the local area. 

Will Eisenbise, speaking for Lafe Bailey, who was ill, offered testimony in support of the bill. (Attachment 3) He specifically noted that they take no issue with industrial wind energy in western Kansas, but in Eastern Kansas where there is more population which industrial wind then interrupts.

LeRoy Burk County gave testimony in support of the bill. (Attachment 4)  He gave specific impacts of the proposed wind farm in Neosho county.  He also noted that property value would be reduced by 20-40% and that there would be an actual tax dollar loss of $400,000 because of this reduced valuation of property.   

Doug Wertenberger's proponent testimony was read to the public by Laura Pryor, Legislative Services. Mr. Wertenberger had been admitted to the hospital the night before. (Attachment 5) His testimony spoke of the wind noise of the turbines to the north of them in Nebraska. 

Brian Coover offered testimony in support of the bill. (Attachment 6)  He spoke of the chronic noise from industrial wind turbines.  He noted that the low frequency sounds are not heard as readily as the decibel A range common in familiar household appliances like a refrigerator. The Neosho community have consistently asked for danger issues from wind turbines. 

Lori Menold, RN,spoke on behalf of medical professionals in Nemaha county in support of the bill. (Attachment 7) She noted that about 20% of people exposed to the high frequency sound waves develop adverse health effects.  She noted that landowner has to sign a contract an Effects Easement that includes all the following:  "audio, visual, view, light, flicker, noise, shadow, vibration, air turbulence, wake, electromagnetic, electrical, and radio frequency interference, and any other effects attributed to the Wind Farm." She noted that the wind farms from the outset are protecting themselves from any responsibility of the results of the existence of wind energy farms from the outset.  She talked of various medical affects of the wind turbines. 

Galen Ackerman gave testimony in support of the bill.  (Attachment 8) Mr. Ackerman used a comparison of a neighbor putting up signs on their properties thus devaluing your properties. He believes this is a property rights bill for the non-participant of the wind energy industry.  He notes that population density of counties do, in fact, make a difference in the placement of a wind farm.  He also noted that the wind turbines are about 1.5 times the height of the state capitol.  Most of these projects are in contract for 40-90 years.  He notes that the placement zone for the turbines are to keep the towers outside the fall zone of the towers. 

David Fisher, Johnson County, spoke in support of the bill. (Attachment 9) He thanked the legislators for their service. He noted that he is counting on the legislators for their protection and their safety as a private citizen.  He believes that counties do not have the knowledge and expertise to make appropriate decisions regarding wind farm placement. 

Frank DeRemus, Linn County, spoke to the committee in support of the bill. (Attachment 10) He referred to many reports that have concerns for the safety and health issues due to wind turbines. 

Questions were held until all proponents had spoken.  Chair Seiwert closed the proponent portion.

Written only Proponents testimony was received from Ron Hirst, Reno County, (Attachment 11); Darryl Becker, Nemaha County, (Attachment 12); Andrew Burnett, VP, Southeast Kansas Audubon Society, Neosho County, (Attachment 13); Milinda Sperfslage, Nemaha County, (Attachment 14); Kristy & Brian Schweitzer, Brown County, (Attachment 15); Brian Bergman, Nemaha County, (Attachment 16); Melissa Detweiler, DVM, Nemaha County, (Attachment 17); Lane Dyck, Marion County, (Attachment 18); Bradley Lueger, Nemaha County, (Attachment 19); Matt Amos, USMC retired, (Attachment 20); Tony Condon, President, Kansas Soaring Association, (Attachment 21); Andrew Peters, Director Sunflower Soaring Association, (Attachment 22); Jerry Hawkins, attorney, Hite, Fanning & Honeyman, LLP. (Attachment 23)