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12/31/2006

MY NEW YEAR’S WISH TO YOU (borrowed from anon)

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:10 pm

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $200 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address!

In simple words … May 2007 be the best year of your life.

12/30/2006

GRAB A HANKIE: IT’S THE 2006 WEEPERS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:41 pm

The Wichita Eagle’s editorial board’s annual year-end “Weeper Awards” are designed to recognize extraordinary achievement in the area of public fiascoes, flops and foolishness.

The “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” Award

To Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who said she wasn’t inclined to stop a coal-fired power plant near Holcomb that would spew millions of tons of greenhouse gases in the next 50 years. Sebelius said warming “is a very difficult issue to tackle on a state-by-state basis” — the same week eight northeastern states complained the plant would undermine their regional anti-warming compact.

It’s a difficult problem — and that’s not including the hot air from politicians.

The “Worst Performance in a Regular Series” Award

To Shirley Phelps-Roper, who when asked on Fox TV’s “Hannity and Colmes” whether the Amish schoolgirls deserved to die at the hands of a crazed mass murderer, responded, “They did deserve to die.”

She makes Charles Manson look cuddly.

The “You Can Take It With You” Award

To pastor Terry Fox, formerly of Immanuel Baptist Church. Fox was forced out by church leaders, who accused the fire-breathing, liberal-bashing preacher of neglecting his leadership duties and misdirecting funds. Fox responded by starting a new church at Wild West World.

And if that gig doesn’t work, maybe he can preside over the flock at WaterWalk.

The “Dr. Kinsey Sexual Pioneer” Award

To Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who explained to a rapt but puzzled Wichita courtroom that he thought a boy performing oral sex on a girl is probably a sex crime worth reporting, but not a girl performing oral sex on a boy.

Teenage boys everywhere celebrated Kline’s testimony with high-fives! Right on, dude!

Other awards.

BENDITO MACHINE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:38 pm

An amusing little video.

Jesse stopped by and fixed my sound problem in about 5 seconds. Yay! Things are working really well now. Music is a good surround sound.

Jesse and I see eye to eye, as closely as one can, about the wind turbines. We agree that in 15 years or so people are going to look at them and wonder how in the world so many people were duped into promoting and approving such obsolescence.

In our conversation, I mentioned that a good friend of mine said she “loves the towers”. She’s a “city” woman and we are in agreement on most things. I can’t argue with her or with anyone who loves the towers except to say they can’t possible love and treasure the prairie as I do. Prairie grasses, wildlife, wild flowers, birds of prey, bats, stars at night, peace and quiet, natural sounds…none of those things mean very much to most people who live in the city, I’m assuming, or they wouldn’t live there. Rural Kansas doesn’t mean much to a lot of people, but it means a lot to me. Well, it’s all very much a part of me and my way of life and treading on them is as painful and hurtful to me as treading on my children and grandchildren. I guess you either have that built into your genes, or you don’t. It’s not something you waffle about.

It’s still raining. It rained all night and every drop soaked in which means our driveway didn’t run out into the highway. That’s a very good thing. The rain is the only sound in the neighborhood.

Thanks for tuning in.

12/29/2006

IT’S A DOOZY OF A STORM

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:54 pm

If it continues to intensify, as weather forecasters predict, the Goodland area might be experiencing the largest snowfall in recorded history. Activity is shutting down in the western part of the state where travel is strongly discouraged.

Blizzard conditions and massive amounts of snowfall are commonplace. Two feet are predicted in some areas where white-out conditions prevail. Goodland and Colby city streets are closed to anyone without 4 wheel drive or chains. It’s almost impossible to get to Goodland.

It’s 60 degrees in Wichita and 24 in Goodland. Right now, at 5:30, it’s raining and 47 degrees in Ellsworth. If the temps drop, we’ll have ice everywhere tomorrow. We’re on the front edge of the storm and may get a couple inches of snow tomorrow. It’s “spring-like” here by comparison to western Kansas.

My sound isn’t working on my puter. I don’t know why. I’ve clicked on all the bells and whistles trying to get music to issue forth. Jesse may have time to take a look. My DVD player shot craps too, and it wasn’t very old. I’d counted on watching a movie tonight. With no place to go in my little black dress, I guess I’ll hunker down in front of the fire with Barack OBama’s new book.

I’ll be glad when the grandsons arrive home safely. I don’t suppose their return trip is nearly as much fun as the trip to Houston on Wednesday when they anticipated seeing a Wildcat victory. That was not to be.

It will be quiet around here New Year’s Eve. That’s the way we like it, but there were those many years when this town really came alive with parties. Lots of parties and we were there. I guess we all grew up and learned better. Nah…we just got too old to party!

A major arctic ice shelf fell off. It was the size of 11,000 football fields, if you can imagine that. It’s a warning to all of us.

Stay warm and have a good evening. Thanks for tuning in.

12/28/2006

TEMPS WILL FALL TONIGHT, RAIN AND ICE TOMORROW, SNOW ON SAT AND SUNDAY. PULL OUT THE EXTRA BLANKETS.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:19 pm

12/27/2006

YOU ASKED FOR THESE AGAIN

Filed under: energy — Peg Britton @ 10:10 pm

Here’s a National Wind Watch Picture Gallery you can browse through. Click here then on the right arrow. Notice the captions under the pictures. Pictures #44 and #45 are before and after pictures of our Flint Hills.

Photo #1 This is a very interesting and informative article. I hope you’ll take the time to read it.

SEDGWICK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY NOLA FOULSTON SAID SHE WOULD NOT ALLOW A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO FILE CHARGES AGAINST GEORGE TILLER. YOU GO GIRL!

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:47 pm

STOP FEDERAL TAX CREDITS FOR WIND POWER

Filed under: energy — Peg Britton @ 7:33 pm

It’s not profitable to build wind farms without tax credits. Taxpayers are footing the bill.

“I’m for renewable energy – but for responsible development,” said Michael Gannon, a Penn State biology professor who speaks on the possible detrimental effects on the environment of building wind plants on ridges.

“(Wind companies) would actually lose money without the subsidies,” Gannon said.

“The public is being led to believe that these are profitable and effective.”

Because developers don’t have to buy wind and pay just $2,000 to $3,000 annually per turbine to lease land, up-front costs represent the bulk of investment in a wind plant.

Opponents say windmills don’t produce enough energy – a 33 percent productivity rate is a high average – and they produce less energy during the summer, when use rises.

With accelerated depreciation, wind companies can write off capital costs in five years. For other types of energy companies, similar write-offs take 20 or 25 years.

Using the Environmental Investigation Agency figures, an article published by the Property and Environment Research Center calculates that renewable sources receive twice as much subsidies as the second-highest receiver, nuclear energy.

Following those two are natural gas, petroleum and coal.

Opponents say the constant industrial noise can cause health problems. One physician, who studied at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Princeton and Yale, is examining wind turbine syndrome, which she contends can cause sleep problems, headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, anxiety, concentration problems and ringing in the ears for people who are around them on a regular basis.

Take a look…

THE PRISON IFI PROGRAM IS RELOCATING

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:39 pm

The InnerChange Freedom Initiative program that is located within the prison walls is headed for a new home at the Lansing Correctional Facility in eastern Kansas, according to a front page story in the INDY today. That’s okay. There will be something that will fill its place and life will go on for the inmates in the program who will remain here.

I’ve never bought completely the idea that Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians cannot reap the benefits of the program that is within the prison system and which provides many comfortable privileges, unless they forgo their own religion for Christianity.

I wish the City Councils in the County, the Ellsworth County Commissioners and USD #327 and #328 Boards of Education would publish their agenda prior to their meetings. Maybe they could figure out a way to do it on their websites. I’m sure attendance would be greater at these meetings if the general public knew in advance what subjects were to be discussed. It would afford greater transparency in the actions of our local governing bodies.

Dane is pretty torqued that he can’t get the K-State - Rutgers game tomorrow night on cable TV in Wilson. We can view it here in Ellsworth on Channel 61, the NFL network.

The smallest grocery store in the county will close its doors on the 30th. The Holyrood Grocery has seen various owners who wanted to retain the town’s only grocery store and struggled to keep it alive. Lately there hasn’t been enough traffic through the doors to keep it open. The residents will miss it when it’s gone. That’s a given.

I’m not sure where the acrid smell of burning beef liver was coming from the other night, but it wafted all over town in a green cloud. I heard there was a “Beef Liver Burning Contest” somewhere in the 500 block of North Douglas Christmas night. They ought to skin the winning culprit… (smile!)

And, from my favorite Kansas writer, Cheryl Unruh, A Mess of Books. I love her… “vowels are like marbles on the floor”. I wish I could write like that. She makes it look so easy.

Brit said the forecast for Friday and Saturday is calling for 3″ to 5″ of snow. Bad roads. Our boys who are in Texas will be coming home Friday. Alas. Something else for me to put on my worry stick. Mackenzie and Luke just arrived home in Royce City and are saving the trip to Victoria until tomorrow when they are rested. Good idea. Dan and Tonie were supposed to come visit tomorrow from near Dallas, now they aren’t. Dern.

Brit has a nice fire burning to make our room very cozy. Eldest grandson gave me some Grey Goose for Christmas and I see no reason to stir from my comfortable surroundings. Brit is ordering a pizza. There are privileges that come with age.

SECOND WIND FARM IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS BUILT

Filed under: energy — Peg Britton @ 4:06 pm

posted: December 27, 2006

Three months after all 67 turbines of the Spearville Wind Energy Facility became active, the blinking red lights atop the towers have become a familiar site on the western Kansas landscape.

When they say things like this, it misleads the public: “According to Kansas City Power and Light, the wind farm supplies power to an estimated 33,000 homes in the Kansas City area. Sprint Nextel Corp. campus in Overland Park signed on as the farm’s first customer, said KCP&L.”

Sure, but as the Sunflower rep said…they supply power to 33,000 homes… for maybe an hour a year.

THE GOOD AND THE SAD

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 11:09 am

Half the family headed out on I-35 early this morning for south Texas. Mackenzie and Luke are going to his family’s home near Victoria for the rest of their Christmas holiday while Rod, Drew and Tyler are going to Houston for the K-State bowl game. Ally and Ruby, along with Sam and Haley, returned to Abilene last night. Todd and Karen will enjoy a lot of “quiet” for the next few days.

Around here, the silence is deafening after all the Christmas hoopla. There will be the usual period of adjustment, and then we’ll settle into our Groundhog Day routine with each day being like the one that preceded it. Ringo is listless without having his friends around.

My good friend Annette gave Dane a new, unopened box containing XP for his computer. What a great gift. Kenz installed it and Office 2003 and downloaded a program so she and Luke could work on Dane’s computer from Royse City. They reformatted my old computer for my friend Rachael so she has a “like new” computer with Win2000 on it. I always loved that computer and it was working great after they cleaned it. I was tempted to put it along side this one and become a two-computer nerd. Rachael Princess Di will be here next week to pick it up. Brit will be happy to see the top of his snooker table once again.

Over the years I’ve seen lots of pros working on computers, but there can’t be many who work faster and better than Mackenzie, imo. She’s like greased lightning. She complains about her work cube being so hot with her computers surrounding her …and no wonder. She has six computers with eight double monitors. She runs Linux on five of the computers and Windows on one. She’s remarkable with computers. Simply amazing.

I’m tempted to not open any more mail. Two of my long-time friends died yesterday. One had just written me about her Christmas plans of visiting her daughter in TX. She was well and active but died there last night in her sleep. The other had a dreadful week in the hospital and died yesterday. It adds to the emptiness of having just lost two very close family members.

I’m heading to Orozco’s to have lunch with Jesse. I’m really looking forward to that. He’s such a joy and so interesting.

Later this week, our lost son from Silverton CO arrives as his mine is closed for the winter. He’s still looking for that lost vein of gold. We’re all convinced it’s “there someplace”. Eddie will be here for a few days to have fun with Dane.

Dane’s internet has been down, but it should be up and running again soon. It’s a problem from the wtciweb end, not his, according to Kenz. If you want to write Dane, please do. His address is (remember how you adjust the addy to make it work) dbritton_at_wtciweb_dot_com

Have some fun today. I intend to.

WHERE ARE WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN?

Filed under: prairie musings, energy — Peg Britton @ 10:23 am

Hi Peg,

That Cefn Croes Web site is the most terrifying thing … . These are supposed to be the good guys, environmentally? And it looks like bulldozers destroying the rain forest! That’s just unreal. Did you see the thing that one 555mw gas-fired power plant produces more electricity than all 14,000 wind turbines in California, but it does so on 14 acres? This is just unbelievable. Where are Woodward and Bernstein on this? It has to be a matter of subsidies or some bilking of taxpayers. It cannot add up from a normal business sense, can it?

Kent

Dear Kent,

No it doesn’t add up. And, foreign companies are using our government’s financial incentives in establishing wind farms. Our tax money is flowing out of the country. Our government is forced to hand out subsidies so they can look “green.”

I don’t think a determination about the value of wind energy will be made in my life time, but people a whole lot smarter than I am who have worked on this matter for years say it isn’t working. There is no transparency in government here, so it’s hard to find out precisely what is going on.

But…at what point do people really “own land”? Aren’t land owners supposed to be stewards of the land? Aren’t they supposed to take care of it and preserve it during their lifetime for future generations? Land owners are quick to point out “there is only so much land” so they must be aware that it is part of the living organism on which we live that essentially belongs to everyone. Aren’t there are some things that conscientious people do because it’s the right thing for the greater good?

Since the jury is still out on wind energy, it’s my conclusion that it is only a stop gap measure that won’t truly solve in any substantial way our growing energy needs. So, in the meantime as something truly workable is being developed, we’re going to be left in 20 or 30 years with a national landscape of absolutlely worthless, useless ugly wind turbines.

Peg

12/25/2006

RANDOM PHOTOS OF WIND TURBINES

Filed under: energy — Peg Britton @ 6:40 pm

Photo #1 This is a very interesting and informative article. I hope you’ll take the time to read it.

Here’s a National Wind Watch Picture Gallery you can browse through. Click here then on the right arrow. Notice the captions under the pictures. Pictures #44 and #45 are before and after pictures of our Flint Hills.

After you look at these pictures and get an idea of the vast numbers of them, think about how they are going to be “decommissioned”. Eventually, they become obsolete, damaged or just cease to function. Who is going to dismantle them? Or are they going to litter the landscape forever? The concrete pads will be there forever. The damage to the forests and prairies will be forever be in evidence.

I’ve been told there is so much steel and copper to recover from each turbine that they will pay for themselves to be removed. I just don’t believe that, yet. Farmer Jones sure won’t be able to dismantle them. And, it appears there are too many of them to “recycle” for any practical purpose. As I’ve mentioned before, I think there should be a decommissioning contract with money put in escrow at the time of construction to pay for the dismantling of each tower.

Do you want these monsters destroying our Smoky Hills?

WHEW!

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:57 pm

Whew! Tinsel no longer is fluttering on the tree, Christmas wrap is furled, beautifully looped ribbons are now disheveled, the floor is free of potential pitfalls and those who played cards all night are down for the count.

The only thing we need to deal with now is leftovers. Lots of leftovers…all things Mexican and ham and trimmings.

Blogging has improved for me since I have a vibrating, heated cushion for my computer chair, and it’s wonderful. I can also use it in the car and might do that on road trips with friends. It’s a Christmas gift from the grandsons and their parents. The directions say to use it only for 25 minutes. Fine. I’ll turn it off for 2 seconds then turn it back on. It feels great on my backside.

Dane has no recollection of the last two Christmases when he was in the hospital… 2004 in St. Francis and 2005 in Wesley. I remember since I was with him and at the time he was aware of his surroundings, but now he can’t remember. That’s a good thing. If he ever wants to know, he can read my blogs as I covered it all pretty well.

Dane enjoyed being here today surrounded by his family. It was a wonderful day for all of us, and one we couldn’t anticipate as ever happening again. We’re all very fortunate. We think of Pete, Betty and their family and all the families that are not as fortunate as we are this year.

Rod and a friend are taking Drew and Tyler to the K-State bowl game in Houston. They are leaving Wednesday and driving straight through. They have great box seats and are looking forward to being together. Rod takes his little bros on some great trips, ones they’ll always remember.

Speaking of… Mackenzie gave her dad a calendar for Christmas that has pictures of all the trips they’ve taken together. It was something she did on the Kodak site and it’s really nice.

“Chicago” from Netflix is waiting. I feel as though I’ve been through a field day excursion with Meredith’s kindergarten kids. It’s time to relax.

Thanks for tuning in. I hope all of you have had warm, loving times today as we have had with our family.

12/23/2006

VERY SAD NEWS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:23 pm

We learned from our friends, Pete and Betty Peterson, that their niece, Lori, “had one arm nearly chewed off and the other one in very bad condition when she was attacked by a 350 pound tiger in the San Francisco zoo”. She was operated on this morning to have muscles removed from her back and implanted in her arm in an effort to save it…

If you want to drop Pete and Betty a note, you can contact them at lcfromkans_at_webtv_dot_net/ Remove the underlines, insert the @ and . in the proper places.

I LOVE IT…THE WHOLE FANDAMILY IS HERE OR VERY CLOSE BY.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:46 pm

Kenz and Luke retrieved Dane in the Blue Canoe early this morning. Dane was third on the shower list and was ready to roll by 9:00 a.m. Before they came back to Ellsworth, Dane took them to GBs to meet Harry and Dewey, his coffee chums who are very good to him. Dane lasted the entire day until 7:00 pm when Luke and Kenz fired up the Canoe to take him back to the home. He lasted longer today than I thought he could.

Kenz is going to install XP and Office on Dane’s computer and Luke is going to program his cell phone. Who knows how long that will take? It shouldn’t be a problem for Kenz who generally works with 6 computers and 8 double monitors…one computer has Windows the others have Linux. I get dizzy thinking about her creating all that information on those machines.

Ally and I started in with the construction of more Rom Pope at 5:00 am and made two batches before others were out of bed. We’ve finally perfected it and simplified the cooking process after 30 years of fine tuning it. It’s something we do only once a year for Christmas.

Ally got the recipe from a friend who had a bar and restaurant in Breckenridge and she promised on her knees never to share the recipe so I had to promise too. Now Tyler carries that promise. The thing is, the barkeep never gave her the exact amounts or the proper process so that’s what has taken time and experimentation. He sold it for $3.50 for a double shot and that was a long time ago. Inflation has doubled the price. (Smile)

There was more cooking, now “THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED.”

It all starts over tomorrow, but we’re ready

12/22/2006

LONG, INTERESTING DAY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:14 pm

Today was filled with errands and cooking. There were several trips to the grocery store that Tyler made for us so I didn’t have to bother. I bought more cards at Robson’s, stopped in the bank for a small transaction, smelled the fresh popping corn that Diana was making, made several phone calls and listened to recordings from Community Care RX for changes in our plan. Yes, the rates are increasing.

This was the third day in the creation of Ally’s hot tamales. She cooked the pork two days ago, then added all the seasonings and let it cook again yesterday. Today she mixed her masa, soaked the husks and we started folding them into the traditional shape… with lots of different sizes. We ended with 12 dozen plus all we had to sample along the way…plus a couple of dozen more for drop-ins. We’re not pros at this. Folding took most of the day and steaming and storing the rest of the day. Thank goodness for all of Tyler’s help. And, they are excellent.

The Dallas kids just walked in the door….

JUDGE DISMISSES CRIMINAL CASE KLINE FILED AGAINST TILLER

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 8:28 pm

A Sedgwick County judge dismissed 30 misdemeanor criminal charges against Wichita physician and abortion provider George Tiller, less than a day after recently defeated Attorney General Phill Kline filed them.

Judge Paul W. Clark dismissed the case against Tiller after Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said that her office had not been consulted by Kline, a vocal opponent of abortion who recently lost his bid for a second term.

BOB MENEILLY LEAVES THE GOP TO BECOME A DEMOCRAT

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:22 pm

Dr. Bob Meneilly, pastor emeritus of Village Presbyterian Church in Johnson County and chairman emeritus of the moderate Mainstream Coalition, is leaving the GOP to become a Democrat. His wife is making the change as well.

Meneilly founded the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village in 1949.

Meineilly said he had been contemplating a switch for several years. Last week’s election of Phill Kline as Johnson County D.A. pushed him over the edge.

Mainstream Coalition does an excellent job of publishing position statements on various candidates. Bob Meneilly is an outstanding citizen. Our paths first crossed years ago when we served together on a state board. Even then he always sounded like a Democrat to me although I knew him to be a Republican. Back in those younger years I, too, was more a moderate Republican than Dem. A RINO, I guess.

12/21/2006

MORE THAN 20,000 ACRES OF OUR PRISTINE SMOKY HILLS FALL INTO THE HANDS OF FOREIGN DEVELOPERS. THINK: 16 MILES ALONG I-70 AND FOUR MILES DEEP, TO THE NORTH, COVERED WITH 250 WIND TURBINES.

Filed under: energy, political musings — Peg Britton @ 5:32 pm

This is long, but important. It gives you another viewpoint about the Smoky Hills Wind Farm to be constructed eight miles north of Ellsworth, on the Ellsworth-Lincoln County line. If you favor this proposal, perhaps you could benefit from reading the following. If you oppose this construction, there are things you can do to help. They follow:

An Ecological Crisis: The Most Scenic and a Major Part of an Intact Prairie Landscape in the Smoky Hills Will Be Eviscerated if this Massive Project Proceeds. It Threatens to Consume a Sixteen Mile by Four Mile Wide Landscape Out of the Heart of the Smoky Hills, and Tower Over Much of the Surrounding “Post Rock” Countryside.

Sadly, Advocacy by Well Intentioned Folks Inadvertently Pushed More Than 20,000 Acres into a Foreign Developer’s Grip. The Company Will Reap Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Worth of Federal Tax Credits, Pay No Local or State Taxes, Will Not Honor Siting Standards (or even “Guidelines”) and Will Have No Accountability for Environmental Damage.

Maybe, just maybe, if enough Kansans send letters, e-mails or make calls to three entities, the unnecessary assault on this, and other irreplaceable prairie landscapes, can be averted. First, a bit of background followed by what we can all do.

A speculator with questionable credentials leased land in the most impressive Kansas landscape visible from I-70 between Junction City and Colorado for an industrial windpower development that would consist of hundreds of huge turbines, roads and powerlines. It was obvious that the company couldn’t build a project. It was then sold to another company, Tradewind Energy LLC–founded and owned primarily by former utility executives and power project developers–followed by acquisition by Enel SpA. Enel is Italy’s largest power company and is building projects in central and South America.

Enel has 500 megawatts of installed wind capacity worldwide and the proposed Kansas Smoky Hills Wind Project will boost that by 50 percent–with the proposed 250 MW development. The State of Kansas has left the state as vulnerable as a third world country to ill advised and destructive developments by foreign and domestic speculators. Counties (including Ellsworth and Lincoln) that have no zoning or comprehensive plan leave neighboring landowners and other residents without any voice in the decisions that dramatically impact their homes and lands.

For the past four years we (and others) have pointed out that the State of Kansas has abdicated its authority to protect resources of statewide importance. Nothing has materially changed that sad situation statewide.

The notable exception to this has been Governor Sebelius’ policy of promoting appreciation for the Tallgrass Prairie region of the Flint Hills, specifically the area outlined within the “Heart of the Flint Hills,” an area of impressive natural and pastoral landscapes. The governor has also provided leadership support and resources to build appreciation and the tourism potential of the Flint Hills. The “Heart of the Flint Hills” designation resulted from the governor’s leadership in establishing the Wind and Prairie Task Force which gathered and published excellent information relative to the region. Unfortunately, the ecological importance of the state’s other unique prairies was left like an abandoned puppy along the road without any plan for recognition by the Subcabinet Committee acting on the recommendations of the Task Force.

That left extensive prairie landscapes of equal ecological significance north and south in the Flint Hills and in the Smoky Hills subject to negligence, as if they don’t exist. The Secretary of Kansas Wildlife and

Parks prepared and published an excellent position paper which serves as siting guidelines for industrial windpower development projects, but they are not siting “standards” and they have been totally ignored by developers who have no stake in preserving the most precious elements of the Kansas prairie landscape. That obviously includes Tradewinds and Enel. Likewise, the siting guidelines developed by the Kansas Renewable Energy Working Group are equally ignored–even though a Tradewinds representative was involved in the committee that developed that consensus paper.

The shining example of corporate citizenship and responsibility was demonstrated by Kansas City Power and Light officials who consulted with conservation organizations and landowners in an inclusive process, and then made the best choice to build on an already cultivated landscape near Spearville.

Meanwhile Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. of Colorado and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, a public utility headquartered in Hays, have been proposing new coal-fired power plant construction near Holcomb, Kansas. At public hearings before KDHE in Topeka and Lawrence a long list of opponents called on Sunflower to build “wind farms” as an alternative–even though windpower developments will not reduce the demand for generation capacity from coal or natural gas. However, as a result of that and pressure from KDHE, the Governor and/or the Energy Council, Sunflower felt compelled to quickly sign on to a wind power project to provide PR and political cover. The financial and purchasing structure of a company with a far more appropriate site in western Kansas was not in place, so the first (lowest bidder) straw available was taken. As a publicly regulated utility, current rules imposed by the Kansas Corporation Commission reportedly did not allow Sunflower to consider environmental aspects of the project and other considerations of value to the public and state.

Here are several things that each of us can do:
(1) Contact Governor Kathleen Sebelius: (1-877-579-6757 or http://www.governor.ks.gov/comments/comment.htm ) and encourage her to do everything possible to protect intact prairie landscapes in Kansas (both in the Flint Hills and the Smoky Hills), work with the three Kansas Corporation Commission members to give public utilities the right to consider ecological and siting consequences of wind projects, and urge the legislature to enact siting standards.

(2) Contact Your State Legislators: Urge your State Representative and Senator to sponsor and support legislation to establish industrial windpower development siting standards–similar to bills introduced in both the House and the Senate this past session. Find your Kansas state representative and senator at: http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-legisportal/redistricting.do

(3) Contact the President and CEO of Sunflower: Urge Earl Watkins to find a more appropriate alternative site for development of wind power in western Kansas. There are scores of suitable sites on millions of acres of already cultivated landscapes with wind class of 6 and higher. The phone is 785-628-2845 and his e-mail address is ewatkins@sunflower.net.

Ron Klataske
Executive Director
Audubon of Kansas
210 Southwind Place
Manhattan KS 66503
785-537-4385
Ron_Klataske@audubonofkansas.org

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