CARROLL COUNTY, Ark. — Many citizens in Carroll County, Ark. are debating a potential project surrounding wind turbines.
Both sides spoke their minds at quorum court at the Carroll County Courthouse Tuesday night.
In Arkansas, quorum court is the legislative body of county government, much like county commissions here in Missouri.
Dozens of people filled the room, even spilling out into the hallway.
County Judge David Writer limited the crowd to five speakers on either side.
One major concern among citizens like Richard Williams is county roads.
“State laws are not allowed to promote any private sector business to use any Carroll County road. And if you permit such, you’re in violation of the Arkansas state law,” Williams told the court.
Williams is a former Carroll County judge and says Writer can make decisions about things with little to no oversight.
“In Arkansas, the county judge is referred to as ‘the road god,'” Williams said. “Nobody in the state has any authority over the county judge on a road in his counties.”
The roads are a vital part of Williams’s and others’ arguments, since he says private developers or firms in the turbine industry might have to alter existing or create new county roads to finish projects.
One man who spoke in favor of the turbines says he trusts his elected officials.
“I voted for County Judge David Writer, and I believe he’s very capable of running the county,” Arturo Calvillo said. “I’m sure that everybody [on the quorum court] will make sure that we’re covered. I mean, I would hope that that was the case.”
A woman KOLR10 spoke to after the meeting says aside from the roads, she says wind farm developers aren’t all they claim to be.
“I just believe they are a massive fraud that are fleecing taxpayers. I believe they’re very hypocritical,” Steph Gordon-Glassford said. “They’re not green or clean. They’re heavily reliant on fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal. They’re not efficient or cost-effective.”
Calvillo, who’s already entered an agreement with Scout, the developer behind this potential development, says he had no hesitations.
“I’ve got grandkids here now,” Calvillo said. “It just seemed like I’d won the lottery. I think a lot of farmers have been picking up rocks for years in Arkansas. I mean, maybe we can pick up a little money.”
Many people voiced concerns about community division over this potential project.
One of the elected officials, Justice of the Peace for District 4 Hunter Rivett, addressed the idea of being united before the meeting ended.
“What’s far more rude is the philosophy that we are all comrades in this together,” Rivett said. “That’s the same philosophy that led to gulags and concentration camps.”
Gordon-Glassford says that comment by Rivett was laughable, and the entire situation affects all the citizens in Carroll County, not just those who allow turbines on their land.
KOLR10 spoke to a representative for Scout, who was present at the meeting, but they declined to comment.
The city of Berryville is holding two community meetings about the possible project at the Berryville Community Center on April 11 and 25.