On February 14, Attorneys representing four local landowners filed a complaint against Sweet Grass County. The same landowners won a similar suit in 2011 effectively stopping the Coyote Wind Project (click here to read about it). A new version of the same project, this time incarnated as the Crazy Mountain Wind Project (CMW), was almost immediately proposed to at least one of the Sweet Grass County Commissioners by the project’s head, Marty Wilde and property owner Rick Jarrett. As you can see from the last two sentences of her letter, Mosness expresses her support for the project.
However, the County Commissioners minutes for the months of August and September, 2012, make only one mention of the project: “Rick Jarrett (the property owner) stopped in to visit about a new wind company called Crazy Mountain Wind. He needs a letter of support from the Commissioners.” There is no reference to Mr. Wilde in those minutes. There is no record of a vote in those minutes and we have no idea how the individual Commissioners might have voted on the project. There is no record of a call for a meeting to allow public input about the project. There is no record of approving or even allowing Ms. Mosness’ letter. This sort of thing has happened before and it is clearly illegal. Click here to read about a similar case.
The first public meeting about the project was scheduled fourteen months later in December of 2013 and even then the project was not included on the regularly published agenda. It was added within the required 48 hours prior to the meeting, but most people would not have known about it. When the project was disclosed at the December 6, 2013 meeting, absolutely no specifics were given. Yet Commissioner Mosness gave the project manager, Mr. Wilde, an application for a special use permit, presumably for road development.
We know that Commissioner Bob Faw has not been a supporter of the project. It is unlikely that he supports a decision made behind closed doors and before he was elected. This whole episode reeks of political arrogance and hidden influence. Hopefully, the public will demand a full explanation of why at least one Commissioner violated the spirit and perhaps the letter of Montana’s Open Meeting laws. Sadly, the taxpayers of the County are going to have to pay for this mess. If you would like to read the entire complaint and the County Commissioner’s minutes, Click Here.
To learn more about the hazards of wind energy, click here.