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Complaints filed against Big Blue

By Staff | Jan 21, 2018

The Big Blue Wind wind farm is located south of Guckeen along Highway 16 west of Blue Earth.

The Big Blue Wind Farm, located south of Guckeen in Jo Daviess Township, was a topic of conversation at the last County Board meeting on Jan. 16.

Blue Earth area farmer Dan Moore addressed the Faribault County Board of Commissioners regarding alleged site permit violations on Big Blue’s 36 megawatt wind farm.

According to Moore, the 18 turbine project is currently under investigation by the Department of Commerce for a significant number of bird and bat strikes. Moore also revealed Big Blue is being investigated for potential noise violations.

Meanwhile, District 5 commissioner Tom Warmka indicated he did not notice any significant noise issues in the area.

“I’ve been out to Big Blue several times and we stood under one of the turbines and we didn’t hear any noise,” said Warmka.

In response to Warmka, Moore added the noise problems are most likely to occur at Big Blue during windy days.

“Under certain conditions, when they are trying to slow down the RPMs on the blades, they pitch the blades back. That’s when you get these terrible jet noises.

“I don’t know what the remedy is going to be, I’m just here to raise awareness,” Moore continued. “I wanted to give you guys a heads up on what’s happening with Big Blue.”

After a lengthy discussion with Moore, the board took no action on the matter.

Other items from the meeting included:

The board passed a motion to allow a cell phone stipend for Soil and Water Conservation District planning and zoning administrator Loria Rebufonni and county attorney Kathryn Karjala-Curtis.

The hiring of recorder’s office secretary Troy Thompson and Veterans Service Office secretary Wendy Brown was approved by the board.

The board approved county engineer Mark Daly’s submitted quote of $32,266 for a new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck. The truck will be used for public works department projects.

A motion was passed to restructure the parks department staff. A parks manager, lawn mowers, and cleaning services will be added to the department.

Meanwhile, the positions of Pihls Park and Woods Lake caretaker will be changed to park host. These roles will report to the park manager and will not be county employee positions.

Lola Baxter and J.R. Hanson were appointed to the Board of Adjustment. While Baxter will serve a full three-year term, Hanson is responsible for a two-year term.

Haulers for solid waste recycling were approved for licensing by the board. In a related issue, a motion was passed to allow the city of Easton to administer a solid waste plan for the town.

In a role call vote, the county commissioners approved the sale of general obligation courthouse bonds in the amount of $1,400,000, and the sale of drainage system bonds which totals $6,141,000.