Drainage, road use permits okayed for wind turbine project

Progress will continue on Phase 2 of MidAmerican’s Beaver Creek Windpark. The Greene County supervisors on Monday approved the needed road use and repair agreement, and acting as drainage district trustees, they approved the public drainage system protection agreement.

County engineer Wade Weiss clarified that the secondary roads department has “a very good working relationship with MidAmerican.” Previous comments Weiss had made to the supervisors had raised a concern that he was “trying to play hardball unnecessarily.” He said his comments regarding any problems with the projects “have been more the result of conversation with the contractor, and not specifically MidAmerican”.

“The contractors work all over the United States. Everybody has their own rules and regulations. As we’re going through this, we’re figuring out what is in the best interest of the public. Scott (Cobb, of MidAmerican) has been very forthcoming, very agreeable to anything that we’ve had for changes,” Weiss said.

The agreement on Phase 1 didn’t include haul routes to the sites. Haul routes for Phase 2 include 15 bridges Weiss referred to as “national highway system” bridges, and other bridge structures that are shorter than 20 feet. Those bridges are all being inspected prior to work beginning.

Weiss again lobbied for the secondary roads department to receive the revenue from the construction permits for the project. “As you all understand, these projects are not without considerable additional work by the secondary roads department and the engineer’s office in particular,” Weiss said. “That’s why I’m asking about the construction permit process and where those dollars end up going.”

The drainage agreement had been drafted as being between the county and MidAmerican. Assistant county attorney Thomas Laehn reviewed the agreements and pointed out that it was with the supervisors on behalf of the county, rather than with the drainage districts.

The agreement was revised during the weekend with that change. Laehn explained that the county and the drainage districts are separate entities, even though the supervisors serve as trustees for most districts. Under the revised agreement, the landowners in a drainage district could sue the trustees, “but there’s not a lot of money there. They can’t sue the county because the county is a legally distinct entity,” Laehn said.

A clause was added to the agreement addressing the possibility of moving tiles and waterways. Also, Fields said regarding the turbine site that was her larger concern last week that the center pin of that turbine site is more than the required 100 feet from the open drainage structure.

The drainage agreements include districts 2,27, 47, 51, 114, 153 and 169.

The wind turbine project also includes three joint drainage districts, two involving Webster County and one involving Boone County. Joint meetings will be scheduled and those agreements will be approved soon.

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