MADISON – Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, LLC, the developer of the proposed Highland Wind Farm, thought they had been legally wronged by wind farm opponents (The Forest Voice) and their attorneys back in 2011, and a federal court ruled they were correct.
In a decision dated September 30, 2012, District Judge William M. Conley ruled that the claims against EEW by leaders of the Forest Voice (Plaintiffs: Judi Beestman, Bill Dyer, Jeff Ericson, Brenda Salseg, Robert Salseg and Scott Voeltz) and their attorneys (Glenn Stoddard, Patricia Keahna) were “frivolous”.
“…the court finds that plaintiffs’ claims against Emerging Energies…were ‘baseless or made without a reasonable and competent inquiry.’ ” – Judge William M. Conley
“We have been completely transparent through this entire process as we’ve tried to bring clean, renewable energy to St. Croix County,” said Jay Mundinger. “Some very responsible town officials lost their jobs after initially approving our Highland Wind Farm project two years ago, and we’ve been fighting ever since. We feel a level of vindication here.”
The $250 million Highland project, as proposed, in the Town of Forest will generate 102.5 megawatts of electricity from 41 turbines – enough to power 30,000 homes. After receiving initial approval from the Town of Forest Board and its three members in 2010, they were all eventually recalled and the new board has been challenging the project to-date.
The federal ruling also found:
“…as officers of the court, Attorneys Stoddard and Keahna should have known they had no legal or factual basis to name Emerging Energies as a defendant…” – Judge Conley
The court ordered Stoddard to pay EEW $1,000 and Keahna $500 for their frivolous action.
Public Service Commission hearings for the Highland Wind Farm are scheduled to begin next week in Madison and the Town of Forest.
“We continue to believe this project will provide meaningful economic benefits and payments to the communities here and help Wisconsin develop cleaner sources of electricity for consumers,” said Mundinger.
Highland Wind Farm Specifics:
• 26,550 acre project boundary
• 41 turbine sites with 11 additional alternative locations
• 100 + member construction workforce
• 6-8 permanent employees for wind farm operations
• 6,200 acres already under lease from property owners for turbine sites, access roads, distribution lines
• Connects to Xcel Energy’s 161-kilovolt transmission line near Forest-Cylon town line