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Missouri man sues Deere, wind company

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)--A northern Missouri man has filed a lawsuit against farm equipment maker Deere & Co., and a wind energy company alleging nearby wind turbines have hurt his property values and made him ill.

Charlie Porter filed the lawsuit in the 4th Circuit Court of Missouri against Deere and The Wind Capital Group, a St. Louis-based wind energy company.

Porter settled a federal lawsuit in December that he filed against the Gentry County Commission last year over the turbines. Terms of that settlement were not disclosed.

In the state lawsuit, filed Jan. 26, Porter said the 260-foot turbines near his home outside King City have led to loss of property value and sleep deprivation caused by noise from the turbines. Some of the turbines are within about 1,200 to 1,500 feet of his home, according to the lawsuit.

"It's not like we're trying to get rich or make $5 million," Porter said Feb. 3. "All we want is for the wind company to replace what they took from us--our peace and quiet and our property values."

Deere spokeswoman Angela Gallagher said the company does not comment on litigation.

Tom Carnahan, president and CEO of Wind Capital Group, said Porter's claims have no merit.

"His complaints are purely subjective, and they stand up to neither the overwhelming consensus of his neighbors nor scientific evidence," Carnahan said in a news release. "We have tens of thousands of acres under lease and Mr. Porter is the only individual who has raised any concerns with our company."

Carnahan also said Wind Capital Group had an earlier preliminary injunction against Porter, ordering him not "to harass, threaten, damage or harm our property and our employees." That injunction was dissolved last year.

Charlie Speer, Porter's lawyer in the case against Deere and Wind Capital Group, said he was not surprised that other adjacent landowners had not complained because "they lease land to Wind Capital to run the wind turbines so they obviously have a financial interest," Speer said.

The wind farm in the area is owned by Wind Capital Holdings, a company owned by Wind Capital Ventures and John Deere Renewables. Wind Capital Ventures is affiliated with Wind Capital Group.

Also named in the lawsuit are John Deere Capital Corp., John Deere Renewables and Deere Credit Services. The companies have about a month to respond to the lawsuit.

According to its website, Wind Capital Group has wind energy projects under development in 16 states across the country.



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