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Balancing conservation and development at Flint Hills, Kansas

In a plea to balance conservation and economic development, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is asking wind developers to stay out of three million acres of the Flint Hills in east Kansas long enough for local guidelines to be drawn up for wind energy development and for an evaluation of the role it can play in the fragile ecosystem. The hills stretch north from the border with Oklahoma nearly to Nebraska, but the temporary moratorium applies to about half of their area of tall grass prairies, dubbed the Heart of the Flint Hills by Sebelius. JW Prairie Windpower has been developing a 120 MW project in northern Morris County, which is in the middle of the area now under the moratorium. That project will remain idle while the guidelines are completed. Meantime, Sebelius is urging speeding development of wind projects outside the area and she is expected to establish a package of wind energy incentives for Kansas.

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