Commissioner’s ‘apparent collaboration’ with wind farm opponents an issue in lawsuit
County commissioner Dianne Novak was called out for her apparent collaboration with plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Aug. 14 against county commissioners.
Wind farm developer Expedition Wind filed a motion to intervene in the case, originally filed by Peabody farmer Randy Eitzen and 72 other wind farm opponents. They claim the county’s approval of a conditional use permit for the wind farm “was unreasonable and therefore void.”
“While two members of the Board of County Commissioners of
Marion County voted in favor of the CUP, it is significant that the third has been actively advocating against the project,” Expedition’s motion says. “The third commissioner appears to be collaborating with the plaintiffs herein to the point where plaintiffs proffered her as willing to testify in the prior action filed by the same plaintiffs. In addition, elections will be held in November for county commissioners in Marion County while this action is pending.”
Expedition Wind said that as the holder of the permits being challenged, it has significant interest in the lawsuit. The county earlier granted permits while the proposed wind farm was being developed by a different company, and Expedition purchased the project before being granted a third permit.
“Any decision in this matter will directly impact Expedition Wind’s property and financial interests,” the motion says.
The motion points out that the same plaintiffs earlier filed a lawsuit that was dismissed. The earlier lawsuit was filed in May and dismissed in August.
Novak did not return a call seeking comment.