Wind turbines cause some Caddo County residents concern - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Wind turbines cause some Caddo County residents concern

Caddo County_You can expect to see more wind turbines in the slick hills of Caddo County soon.  Wind energy is cheap, clean, and efficient.  Some wind farm neighbors are worried, however, about the safety of the turbines, which can leak chemicals if they aren't maintained properly.  Those who live in the hills say it happens, and they are worried that the chemicals could leak into their watershed. 

Bill Cunningham says he has contacted Horizon Wind Energy, and they have been extremely cooperative.  He says they hired a private research company to study the wind turbines, and found they indeed were leaking.  Although the company says it wasn't a large enough amount to be concerned with, they still hired private crews to clean up.  Now, with more turbines being erected, locals continue to worry about future maintenance.

Wind farms are a growing energy trend and are widely considered to be efficient and environmentally friendly.  However, if they are not properly maintained, they can cause more harm to the environment than good.  Cunningham has been in contact with Horizon since 2006, and says he is satisfied with their response to the situation.  "[I] got great cooperation out of them," he said.  "They paid for an assessment study by a third party that said they needed to clean that act up and stop the leaks."

However, Cunningham says he isn't worried about Horizon - instead, he's worried about local contractors.  He says he believes they weren't properly maintaining the turbines.  Photos taken in 2006 illustrate the problem that concerns Cunningham.  "We inquired what was going on, and the ground crews that they were washing hydrocarbons off of the blades," he said.  "We looked around and we saw pollution, or hydrocarbons, splattered all over the place."

Cunningham explains that underneath a thin layer of soil there is an aquifer basin that leads to creeks and eventually to Lake Lawtonka - where the City of Lawton gets its drinking water.  "This is our water quality that we're talking about, our watershed," said Cunningham.  "It takes constant vigilance, and we need to protect it from depletion, from pollution - and it's just that simple."

A representative from the wind farm was unable to attend Monday's Comanche County Commissioner's meeting.  The company's headquarters are in Houston so he was unable to make it due to Hurricane Ike.  He does plan on attending next week's meeting, and 7News will be there. 

Although most of the wind turbines are in Caddo County, the Comanche County Commissioners are discussing the issue with the wind farm because of its proximity and relationship to Lake Lawtonka. 

Count on 7News to bring you the representative's comments.

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