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A message from our president:
I am the 5th generation of my family to live and work in the Flint Hills, one of the most unique landscapes in Kansas and the last remaining significant Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem in the world. Please allow me to explain why so many landowners have concerns about the development of large scale commercial wind energy complexes in the Flint Hills.
Almost everyone is perceptive enough to realize that any large-scale industrial development will have a lasting negative effect on our endangered landscape. Even wind energy corporations acknowledge that their turbines have a certain amount of negative ecological and visual impact, yet developers continue to search for ways to justify their pursuit of profit at the expense of our environment. They say we need to develop green energy in order to protect the environment, yet they intend to damage the endangered Flint Hills environment by constructing wind energy facilities here. This contradiction defies logic. The obvious conclusion is that wind energy corporations are more interested in making money than preserving our Kansas environment … or any environment.
We Americans have always been infatuated with technology that will accelerate what some see as our Manifest Destiny to conquer the land in the name of "progress." As a culture, we have been too quick to abuse our natural environment in order to make money.
It's amazing to most stewards of Flint Hills land that anyone who is concerned about preserving the environment could consider destroying a vanishing ecosystem that has been recognized by the national park system. How many of us would endorse the placement of wind towers in the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or Yosemite? Rational thinking Kansans know in their hearts it's wrong to destroy a one of a kind landscape. Only about 4% of North America's original Tallgrass Prairie remains undisturbed and most of it is in the Flint Hills. Other acceptable sites are available for wind development. Placing hundreds of 400' turbines in the Flint Hills shows no regard for the natural beauty or the environmental significance of the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Our state and federal governments have created an extremely friendly business climate for industrial wind energy development by establishing generous tax exemptions and incentives that are not coupled with environmental responsibility. The state of Kansas should craft a responsible wind energy policy which sets limits for industrial development in unique environments such as the Flint Hills. We must protect our scenic, endangered ecosystems from being sacrificed for the sake of short term corporate profit.
Larry R. Patton