Wind farm public hearing draws crowd

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BISMARCK, N.D. - UPDATE (9:21 p.m.): The proposal was denied 5-3.

UPDATE: More than half the crowd is opposed to the project. However, so far half of the speakers have been in favor, and half opposed to the project.

ORIGINAL STORY: A public hearing is taking place at the Bismarck Event Center over a controversial proposal to build a wind farm with about 70 turbines in southeast Burleigh County.

This is a meeting of the Burleigh County Planning and Zoning commission, which will decide whether or not to approve the application for the wind farm.

The meeting was postponed three weeks ago and moved to the event center because hundreds of people wanted to express their opinions on the plan.

Pure New Energy, the group behind the project, says it'll create about $13 million in sales tax money for the states, about 1 million per year for both Burleigh and Emmons County. They also expect the Hazleton-Moffitt-Braddock School District to get about $400,000 a year, and the landowners to receive over $1 million each year.

Opponents say the economic benefits are overstated and it will have a negative effect on wildlife, roads, and natural resources.

We'll have a full report tonight at 10:00 p.m.