Lancaster County Loosens Wind Turbine Regulations, Landowners Not Happy

Feb. 19, 2021, 12:53 p.m. ·

Photo by Tom Swinnen from Pexels

The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to this week to allow for the electricity-generating wind turbines in rural parts of the county to be noisier and installed closer to residents.

During the meeting Thursday, several commissioners cited the consequences of climate change and changing industries as justification for amending regulations.

Vice-Chair Sean Flowerday noted that the University of Nebraska, General Motors, and the United States Government have all made moves to support renewable energy.

“There should be no doubt where the moral arc of this issue leads,” he said Thursday.

Attorney David Bargen is representing over 200 landowners who opposed the changes and told NET News the deregulation process was rushed, denying his clients' due process. He cites a 2015 turbine regulation dispute that took months to settle.

“I don't think the wider Lancaster County community even was really aware that this was occurring, but there seemed to be a preordained result that the County wanted to get to,” said Bargen, “and that’s what’s concerning.”

The vote allows turbines to generate 42 decibels day and night, up from 37 decibels at night and 40 during the day. It also allows for turbines to be installed near residences at 3.5 times turbine length, down from 5 times turbine length.

Editor's Note: By way of full disclosure, David Bargen works for Rembolt, Ludtke, LLP, a funder of NET.