By Robert Flippo
A group of Kingfisher County landowners have filed a lawsuit in Kingfisher County against the city of Piedmont in response to the recent changes in the city ordinance declaring wind turbines within a three mile radius of the city to be a public nuisance.
The lawsuit names five individuals who claim the ordinance harms them and their property rights. The individuals named in the lawsuit all have lease agreements with Apex Clean Energy to build wind turbines on their land. According to the lawsuit documents, Apex is not included in the lawsuit. It is only on behalf of the landowners.
The lawsuit reads that Piedmont’s ordinance amounted to an illegal taking of private land and the landowners were not afforded proper compensation under the rights of imminent domain. The suit further reads that the city of Piedmont has failed to prove that wind turbines are a public nuisance.
City Councilman Charles Coffman said the city has not attempted to enforce the ordinance yet and that Piedmont has acted within the parameters of Oklahoma state law.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking an injunction which would prohibit the city of Piedmont from enforcing the ordinance until the city “proves operation of an industrial wind turbine is, in fact, a nuisance, and said nuisance affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood.”
The lawsuit also seeks compensation from the city for the loss of revenue from the 85 wind turbines that would be affected by the ordinance. Estimated at $15,000 a piece, the damages the group is seeking from the city totals $38,250,000.
The lawsuit is still in its early stages and City Manager Jim Crosby commented that he did not know if the attorneys with the Central Oklahoma Property Rights Association (COPRA) would handle the lawsuit on behalf of the city. COPRA is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit but the city of Piedmont and COPRA entered into a litigation partnership in legal action against Apex Clean Energy and Kingfisher Wind.