UPDATE: Commission votes against permit for wind farm

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Valentine, Neb. -- UPDATE: The Cherry County Planning Commission has recommended against approving a permit for a proposed wind farm.

The commission voted against a plan by Bluestem Sandhills LLC to erect 30 windmills over several thousand acres.

Critics have cited concerns about the wind farm's effect on the environment.

ORIGINAL STORY: A proposed wind farm in Kilgore could provide the state with renewable energy resources, but it's causing quite a stir in the Sandhills.

The legislature's approval of LB-824 earlier this year permits more privately developed wind farms, but those who live in the Sandhills are concerned for the delicate ecosystem and lifestyle of the area.

Land owners said they fear agriculture production in Cherry County could be harmed by the construction, because the wind turbines disturb the natural state of the land.

Land owners also fear that the project will have a long-term impact on tax payers whose money goes toward repairing the roads that construction companies use.

"This is one of the last untouched countries in the world and trying to save it for like my nieces and nephews and preserve it for them so they can have the good life too, like we did," says ranch owner, Kort Hamilton.

Cherry County Wind, LLC says the wind turbines help move Nebraska into the future.

They say the turbines would diversify the economic inflow of the area instead of relying on agriculture.

They say the project will add $108 Million to the county's tax base.

They say concerns for the project are understandable, but not necessarily valid.

"I'm a fourth generation rancher myself. My family has been here for a number of years," David Hamilton, vice president of Cherry County Wind, LLC., said. "You just look at some of the development areas where wind energy has been developed, like in the Broken Bow area. None of the things [protesters] are proposing will happen are occurring."

At the meeting, George Johnson, the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, did resign from his position.

He cited his personal connections to wind energy.