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North Dakota landowners get educated on wind farms

April 13, 2018

STANLEY, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota landowners have many questions about wind development as residents in the northwest corner of the state see an increase in wind farm proposals.

The Northwest Landowners Association hosted about 160 people Thursday at an informational expo in Stanley to educate property owners affected by energy development, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Energy industry representatives, state regulators, legal experts and legislators were in attendance to better prepare landowners to negotiate with energy companies.

Chairman Troy Coons said the association continues to get inquiries about oil, gas and pipeline projects. He said more association members have also been approached about wind farms.

“With any type of energy development, generally you’re always talking 40 years-plus,” Coons said. “You’re going to get one shot at a lease that will extend for your lifetime, most likely. So it’s very important to be educated right out of the gate.”

Bismarck attorney Derrick Braaten said wind energy leases he’s worked on for landowners often have unclear language and have been far more complicated than agreements for oil and gas development. He cautioned landowners about the potential for liens being placed on their property if a developer and subcontractor get into a payment dispute.

“It’s certainly something for landowners to keep in mind because some of this language can prevent these liens from being put on your property in the first place,” Braaten said.

Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, said landowners in his area have had positive experiences with wind development.

“The income off of these wind towers is a good thing for agriculture,” Brandenburg said. “Like anything, we’ve got to make sure it’s done right.”

Sen. David Rust, R-Tioga, said the association has a wind farm north of Tioga, with two more proposed in Williams, Divide and Burke counties.

State legislators have ongoing wind development studies that include looking at the impact wind energy has on the environment.

“I think we have to protect the land for future generations,” Rust said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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