County, wind farm still dispute responsibility for road repair
No progress is being made toward ending a dispute over repairing the county’s roads between county officials and Enel Green Power, the company developing Diamond Vista wind farm in the northern section of the county.
County engineer Brice Goebel told commissioners Monday that Enel continues to deny it’s their job to repair road damage caused by flooding.
“They kind of left it up to the local guy,” Goebel said. “One road has a steel plate over it and they don’t plan to do anything more. I really see no uptick on this.”
Goebel suggested commissioners go back to Enel again.
Commissioner Dianne Novak put her foot down.
“They are totally, absolutely not gonna fix them roads,” Novak said.
She suggested having county counsel Brad Jantz send a letter saying the county would shut down construction until roads are repaired.
Commissioner Kent Becker said he’s hearing from residents who say the roads are in better condition than they ever have been.
Novak continued to press for a letter warning the company of a possible shutdown in wind farm construction.
Becker suggested the county set timelines for Enel to make the repairs in phases.
“We’ve got a problem here and a problem here and a problem here,” Becker said.
“We’ve got a problem here because we’re not willing to step up to the plate,” Novak countered.
Goebel said the county has a spreadsheet of road damage drawn up by Kirkham Michael.
“I am not in favor of pussyfooting around with them anymore,” Novak said. “They have no respect for the contract, they have no respect for the county.”
Becker asked Jantz what he thought of the proposal to set incremental deadlines for repairs, and Novak frowned and shook her head.
“I am not in favor of shutting down the wind farm,” Becker said.
“I heard that,” Novak said.
Dallke suggested giving Enel the option of repairing the roads or paying the county to do it.
County clerk Tina Spencer said Diamond Vista put up a $2 million bond for road maintenance that is good through the end of the year.
Commissioners voted unanimously to have Goebel and Jantz draw up a phase-in plan for repairing the roads that mentioned both problem areas and the estimated cost of fixing them.
The road maintenance agreement between Diamond Vista will have to be amended to allow for a plan with incremental repair deadlines.
Two weeks ago, commissioners and Enel representatives discussed fixing flood damage to roads in the construction area. Enel representatives said damage caused by flooding is not the wind farm’s responsibility. Commissioners disagreed, and said damage caused by rain is to be expected in Kansas. Enel project manager Jeff Primer and area construction manager Steve Williams, both agreed to inspect roads along with Kirkham Michael, the county’s consulting engineer for the wind farm project, and county road officials
Chuck Weaver, site supervisor for Enel, road superintendent Jesse Hamm, and two Kirkham Micheal representatives inspected roads last Thursday.
Last modified Oct. 2, 2019