Dear Community Members:
The Community Council is pleased to announce that the Lower Sioux Indian Community, Upper Sioux Community, the Minnesota Historical Society, Apex Clean Energy Holdings, LLC, Big Bend Wind, LLC, and Red Rock Solar, LLC have reached a settlement regarding the large hybrid wind- and solar-energy project proposed in Cottonwood, Martin, and Watonwan Counties, near the Jeffers Petroglyphs and the Red Rock Ridge – a sacred site located within the Community’s ancestral homelands.
Under the settlement, Apex, Big Bend Wind, and Red Rock Solar have agreed to modify their wind-turbine layout so that no turbines are within 7 miles of the Jeffers Petroglyphs, except for possibly up to 2 turbines (which would be over 6.5 miles from the Jeffers Petroglyphs). The current layout would allow for turbines as close as 5.2 miles from the Jeffers Petroglyphs, and a total of 10 turbines within 7 miles of the Jeffers Petroglyphs. Apex, Big Bend Wind, and Red Rock Solar have also agreed to not assign their land rights within 7 miles from Jeffers Petroglyphs and to not apply for additional permits to develop wind turbines within 8 miles of the Jeffers Petroglyphs.
The settlement has been filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the Office of Administrative Hearings. In the coming days, Apex, Big Bend Wind, and Red Rock Solar will amend their application to reflect the changes agreed to by the parties.
The settlement is the product of significant negotiation among the parties. And while it required a compromise by the Community—as well as by the other parties—the Community Council believes that it represents the best possible outcome in this difficult case. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please forward them to Robert L. Larsen, President, at Robert.Larsen@lowersioux.com.