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Tue, Feb 28, 2012

No Wind Turbine For Mars Chocolate Factory

Planned Generator Would Interfere With Forbes Field Operations

There will be no wind turbine constructed at the Mars Chocolate North America plant in Topeka, KS, because of potential interference with operations at Forbes Field (KFOE).

Topeka Sectional

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Eric Johnson, president of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, said "any object constructed at Kanza Fire (Commerce Park) does interfere with approaches and departures." The chocolate factory is under construction at the industrial park near the airport. He said the planned 300-foot tall wind turbine would "severely limit" the airport's use.

The final decision came from the FAA. Johnson said that if construction on the wind turbine were to continue, it would be contested by the MTAA with the backing of the FAA. He did say that it was his understanding that Mars had scrapped the wind turbine and was evaluating other renewable energy sources for the plant.

That was confirmed by Leslie Veneziano, corporate affairs assistant manager for Mars, who said in an e-mail to the paper that they would not be using wind turbines at the Topeka site. She said the company is evaluating a solar energy system, and should know within a few months if that will be viable.

But the turbine is part of an incentive package offered by the city of Topeka, which requires the company to build the wind facility of close the site. Go Topeka, an economic partnership between the city and the Chamber of Commerce, calls the clause in the contract "legally enforceable."

FMI: www.mtaa-topeka.org, http://topekachamber.org/business-support, www.mars.com/

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