Letter to the Editor

Sierra Club has integrity NPPD lacks

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dear Editor,

The recent letter “ Sierra Club: NPPD going nowhere fast “ does serve to show the enthusiasm this organization has for wind energy. It does, however, fail to show the integrity this organization has in its zeal to promote wind energy.

I am referring to their opposition to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) R-Project. This is a proposed 224-mile 345kV high voltage transmission line sited to pass through the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills.

Documents submitted to U.S. Fish & Wildlife by the Sierra Club state “As for NPPD’s motive of establishing a transmission line for wind energy facilities in the Sandhills, we have serious reservations about the placement of such facilities in the Sandhills and the fiduciary responsibility of a public utility engaging in the construction of a high capacity line for private power companies. The one aspect of this project that has our organization deeply concerned is the development of energy facilities in the Nebraska Sandhills. This ecoregion represents one of the last remaining industrial-free landscapes in the lower portion of the U.S. Aesthetically, the Sandhills offer an unobstructed view of immense grasslands. This ecoregion is also a critical migratory pathway for hundreds of bird species and several bat species ... We strenuously object to any energy development and its associated transmission lines in the Sandhills.”

Although I myself am not a proponent of wind energy, I am refreshed to see that the Sierra Club, an organization with strong convictions, is not willing to pursue these convictions at any cost.

It is obvious that they fully recognize that there are natural resources too valuable to be degraded by industrial development. Kudos to the Sierra Club for exhibiting this level of integrity!

NPPD, on the other hand, seems to be wholly lacking in integrity. A member of the Southwest Power Pool since 2009, they now function as a mignon of this 14-state consortium of utilities.

Decisions are made at a regional level and certainly not with the best interest of Nebraska at the forefront. NPPD pursues these regional decisions at any cost in spite of objections by multiple state and federal agencies and the public. Disregard for our states most valuable natural resource is obvious.

How sad that a Nebraska public utility, their CEO, and elected Board of Directors have lost sight of their duty to serve the citizens of Nebraska.

Brent L. Steffen, M.D.

Kearney, Neb.

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