BISMARCK, N.D. - Hundreds packed into the Bismarck Event Center Wednesday night for a Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Pure New Energy was proposing to build a wind farm in the southeast part of the county, which has caused a divide in the community.
For more than two hours, community members from Burleigh County voiced their opinions on a proposed wind farm.
"This project is so much about private property rights and allowing my family to make a decision that will benefit us as a family for generations to come," said David Day, landowner.
Both landowners and Pure New Energy say the economic benefits will be in the millions for the state, landowners and counties.
"The project is going to generate $1.1 million in property tax revenue per year that's going to be $25-35 million over the lifetime of the project," Courtney Timmons with Pure New Energy said. "It's going to create new jobs, both permanent jobs and temporary jobs, and it's really gonna help out the school systems that are out there as well."
Of the 300-plus community members that attended the meeting, more than half are opposed to the project. Wearing red shirts, they cited dozens of reasons why they don't want the towers put up.
"Ranching is a family business and if I want to sell land to one of my daughters in the future to keep the ranch going, they would be prohibited or limited on where they could build a house because of somebody else's towers too close to our property," said Medora Kologi, landowner.
The hearing focused on the proposal for up to 30 turbines in Morton Township in Burleigh County. Another 40 could be put up in other parts of Burleigh and Emmons counties. Some could be as high as 567 feet. Residents worry about how it will change the value of their land, the health impacts, wildlife and how they say it's ripped people apart.
"We've had gates left open and fences cut so cattle get out," said Renae Doan, landowner. "We had two dogs poisoned, we've been falsely accused of animal abuse."
After more than four hours, the commission denied the request.
The issue now heads to the Burleigh County Commission for final approval or denial.