The issue of wind energy development is once again before the Gage County Board of Supervisors. Thanks to the good work of Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission, reasonable wind energy development regulations have already been developed and approved.
These guidelines were developed to balance the interests of farmers and landowners who want to take advantage of the opportunity to increase their farm income with other rural residents that choose not to participate in wind energy development. Whether it is dairies, livestock operations, or wind energy development, it is impossible to make everyone happy.
Despite the claims of the opponents, wind energy is a tried and proven technology. Wind energy development has brought almost $10 million of new annual income for Nebraska farmers and landowners, over $15 million of new annual local tax revenues, and over $4 billion of new capital investment to rural counties.
In addition to the new good paying permanent jobs, there are the short term wind energy construction jobs that provide a real shot in the arm for local restaurants and hotels.
Everyone who reads a newspaper knows that Gage County is struggling financially from the payments for the Beatrice 6 settlements, family farmers are struggling with low commodity prices for yet another year, and all land and home owners are struggling with heavy burden of property taxes.
Please join me in encouraging our Gage County Supervisors to take advantage of the win-win-win economic opportunity wind energy provides for Gage County, property tax payers and family farmers. When a badly needed economic opportunity knocks, let’s take advantage of it.
Vern Jantzen, Plymouth
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