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El Paso County residents say they intend to seek injunction to halt wind farm construction

March 11, 2015 Updated: March 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm
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Eastern El Paso County residents say they intend to file for an injunction to try to halt the construction of a controversial wind farm project until their lawsuit is heard.

Nearly 200 angry and emotional residents filled the Falcon Fire Station on Tuesday evening to learn more about a lawsuit that their neighbors filed against the El Paso County commissioners over the wind farm project, which is owned by NextEra Energy Resources. Without an injunction, the lawsuit would not stop construction of the wind farm, the commissioners have said. Residents have been told that NextEra could begin construction April 1.

The El Paso County Property Rights Coalition, a newly formed residents group, filed the suit March 5 against the county and NextEra, the Florida-based company that plans to put the wind farm near Calhan. The farm could have at least 126 wind turbines more than 450 feet tall, in addition to an above-ground power line that will weave across private property.

Although the commissioners approved the farm in 2013, the project continues to stir controversy on El Paso County's eastern plains, where residents fear it will have negative impacts on their health and property values.

Some residents supported the wind farm until the commissioners approved an amended plan that would allow NextEra to run a 29-mile above-ground power line across the plains. More than 150 residents agreed to lease their land to NextEra for the line, but many others remain staunchly opposed to the power line and project.

On Tuesday, packets titled "The County Commissioner sell out in Falcon and El Paso County" were handed out to residents. Residents said that the commissioners were invited to Tuesday's meeting, but none attended.

The coalition typically meets every Tuesday at the fire station and is seeking donations to help cover the cost of lawyers, said Laura Wilson, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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