The Woodward News

Local News

June 10, 2014

County officials lift burn ban

Woodward, Okla. — Rain was one of the big topics of discussion during the weekly Woodward County Commission meeting Monday morning.

That's because the county received an average of 4 inches of rain over the past 4 days.

"Some places have reported getting over 5 inches," Woodward Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said.

Lehenbauer was updating commissioners on the recent weather conditions as part of a discussion on whether to continue a county wide burn ban.

The county board had previously approved a 7-day burn ban last week after a governor's burn ban was set to expire.

However, with the recent rains, Lehenbauer and the commissioners didn't see a justification for continuing the burn ban.  Especially as Lehenbauer said there was a chance, albeit a small one, for some additional rainfall later this week.

"Everything is green and just really looks good right now," Lehenbauer said.

So with a motion from Commissioner Vernie Matt, the county board approved lifting the ban.

In other business, the county commissioners acted on items relating to a new wind farm being constructed by NextEra Energy in Woodward and Dewey counties.

Called Seiling Wind Two LLC, the new wind farm will be comprised of 59 towers, each fitted with a 1.7 megawatt turbine, for a total production capability of just over 100 megawatts, according to Krista Hendricks, project manager for NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

Hendricks was present for Monday's county board meeting to submit a request for utility permits related to the wind farm project.

"I'm here today to obtain crossing permits," she said.  "I believe there are 9 crossings in your county."

She said all the proposed crossings would be underground crossings.  "There will not be any overhead transmission lines," she said.

In addition to the utility permits, Hendricks noted that NextEra has also been negotiating a road usage agreement with the county so that the company can begin hauling in the large wind towers and their various components for construction of the wind farm, which is set to begin next week.

However, while the commissioners readily approved the utility permits for the Seiling Two project, they tabled a vote on the road usage agreement after Commissioner Randy Johnson explained that the District Attorney's office is "still negotiating" the contract with NextEra.

In another utility matter, the commissioners okayed 2 permits for DCP Midstream, LP to bore District No. 1 roadways for a natural gas pipeline in Sections 1 and 12 of T20N-R17, which Commissioner Tommy Roedell said is near the Elm Grove Church in southwest Woodward County.

Other action taken Monday included the appointment of Marni Shaw as requisition officer for all highway districts and as the OPERS and insurance coordinator for the county.

Several routine items were also approved including:

• a blanket purchase order for the Woodward County Health Department;

• May monthly reports of county officers; and

* a resolution determining the maximum monthly highway expenditures for June in the amount of $289,369.72.

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