Imagine Sarpy: OPPD's solar and natural gas project not in the best interest of Sarpy residents

Sarpy County

Imagine Sarpy: OPPD's solar and natural gas project not in the best interest of Sarpy residents

Date: 
July 13, 2020

Here in Sarpy County, we are enthusiastic about our future.
 
Sarpy continues to be Nebraska’s fastest-growing county, home to one of the hottest development corridors in the state, and is simply one of the best places to put down roots and raise a family.
 
Our future, however, is not without concerns to work through and problems to solve.
 
We want to bring awareness to a project that does not have our support.
 
The Omaha Public Power District has purchased land along Platteview Road in western Sarpy County with plans to build a large-scale solar energy farm and natural gas plant.
 
The county, along with the five Sarpy County cities, voiced shared concerns in December 2019 about this project, sending a letter to the OPPD Board of Directors that requested key stakeholders be engaged in the decision-making process.
 
As it stands today, this project removes 1,200 acres of prime real estate from the possibility of becoming a new neighborhood or destination area for our residents to enjoy.
 
We believe this solar and natural gas project threatens future development and risks thousands of jobs. Simply put, it is not in the best interest of our taxpayers.
 
Imagine Sarpy County with acres and acres of solar panels and a natural gas-burning plant.
 
Imagine Sarpy County, decades from now, with piecemeal housing development because land use and infrastructure best practices were not followed.
 
Imagine Sarpy County void of new commercial developments like the hub of data centers along Highway 50 that has a $522-million-dollar statewide economic impact every year.
 
This is the unfortunate future we envision if OPPD’s plan moves ahead.
 
In the coming weeks, we will explain why we believe OPPD’s project is not in our residents’ best interest.
 
What is in our residents’ best interest is a county shaped by the local governments and officials who live and work in Sarpy County and understand the area and its potential.
 
The county and five cities have publicly and transparently worked hand in hand for three years on a plan to put infrastructure in the ground – a plan that will open up 44,000 acres of land for development in southern Sarpy County.
 
The Sarpy County and Sarpy Cities Wastewater Agency has agreed what portion of the county will be served by the new sewer infrastructure, which is in the design phase now and could be under construction in the next 12 months.
 
We are close to realizing our potential. Let’s not undo it.