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Wind power

Nebraska Public Power has 36 wind turbines near Ainsworth in north-central Nebraska.

Sen. Tom Brewer, Nebraska’s very own Don Quixote, quite literally continues his tilting at windmills through draconian government regulation. This time, the attack is in the form of LB373, a big-government regulatory mandate bill that essentially tells a $2 billion industry in our state to pack up and go away.

Brewer may just believe wind turbines are fantastical giants whose slaying will bring him political fortune and accolades from some anti-wind Sandhills constituents. But in vast stretches of windy, rural Nebraska, where people are practical about utilizing natural resources, the wind energy industry is proving to be a revitalizing force for good.

Land lease payments for turbines are creating significant new farm income for farmers during a very bad ag economy, new good-paying wind technician jobs are boosting small towns like Elgin and Petersburg and Allen, to name a few, and the new tax base from wind farms is funding school and road improvements while lessening the property tax burden on landowners.

Brewer calls himself a conservative. Yet he's trying to regulate out of existence a rapidly growing industry -- one that’s facilitating other billion-dollar investments in this state. Facebook's new Papillion data center is entirely powered by Nebraska wind, for example.

I wonder as to just what passes for a conservative in the Nebraska Legislature these days. Brewer’s bill threatens one of the few real drivers of economic growth today in rural Nebraska.

Zak Hookstra, Norfolk

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