HINTON, Okla. – There is a legal battle brewing out in western Oklahoma over a proposed wind farm.
Those wind turbines are being developed in Caddo and Canadian Counties, including near the town boundaries of Hinton.
Earlier this year, the Hinton town trustees passed an ordinance declaring any wind turbine within two miles of the city limits to be a nuisance.
But, within 30 days of the passing of that ordinance, NextEra Energy Resources filed a federal lawsuit against the city saying they did not have the authority to pass it.
The mayor of Hinton said they passed the ordinance so future anticipated housing development would not be in the shadow of a wind farm.
“It would only affect five or six of their turbines, so we thought that was a pretty fair deal,” said Shelly Newton.
Attorney Jason Aamodt helped the city of Piedmont draft a similar ordinance.
“The fact is that the law is clear they have a right to protect their borders,” Aamodt said. “From my viewpoint, it’s pretty clear that the city has the right to do that. Now, how far back can the city push the wind turbine company, maybe that’s where they’re saying the ambiguity is.”
But, the lawsuits aren’t stopping there.
A group of landowners has filed their own case against NextEra Energy Resources, trying to force them to follow the few rules and regulations in place.
“We stand a lot to lose and a very little to gain,” said one of the landowners suing the company, Roger Entz. “What protection do we get, you know, as a landowner and as families that live in rural Oklahoma?”
“The state of Oklahoma had good intentions, but they opened up the floodgates for an industry to come in,” Newton said. “And, they’re not giving the citizens in rural Oklahoma any protection whatsoever.”
NextEra Energy Resources sent us this statement:
“Since 2003, NextEra Energy Resources subsidiaries have been doing business in Oklahoma. We have 13 successful wind farms in the state. At NextEra Energy Resources, we go to great lengths to make sure we play by the rules when we plan new investments in a community. In this case, the town of Hinton passed an ordinance aimed at regulating our project and wind development in the region. We disagree with the ordinance, and we don’t think the township had the authority to pass it. The people of Hinton and Caddo County should have an opportunity to benefit from the good jobs, millions of dollars in tax benefits and landowner payments and economic boost that wind energy brings to the area. We checked, and there are approximately two dozen landowners who would be affected if the town is successful in blocking wind development within two miles. Those people are not happy the town rushed to push through the ordinance against wind, and they wish they would have had an opportunity to voice their support for wind development and their rights to develop their property as they choose.”