Did the Ohio Power Siting Board overlook something ‘big’?

We have previously stated that the Ohio Power Siting Board is a Yes board, never saying No to BigWind. Are they a biased group? We will leave that opinion up to you; however, they did appear to miss something really ‘big’ with their decision to approve the Buckeye Wind I.

On Sunday the Springfield News Sun reported that Champaign County and the townships  filed an appeal of the Ohio Power Siting Board’s approval of the Everpower request to change the staging area for the Buckeye Wind Phase I. The appeal challenges the approval that was granted  without allowing for a hearing on how the consolidation of the Phase I and Phase II staging areas will impact roads, traffic and the community.  The consolidation effectively doubles the impact.  The Sun reports Everpower representative Jason Dagger saying the consolidation was done to “lessen the impact on the community”.  We think anyone who lives on or travels US Hwy 36 would have a different opinionNevertheless, it should not be forgotten why Everpower had to change the location of the Phase I staging area: they never had a lease for the land on the original site despite presenting the location to the OPSB.  The Urbana Daily Citizen reports today that neither the City of Urbana nor Union Neighbors United filed an appeal of the “consolidated” staging area because this issue most directly impacts the County and the townships.   

 This is the week that  briefs are due in the Ohio Supreme Court in response the appeal filed by UNU, the County and townships of the Buckeye Wind Phase II project.   A response from Everpower should be filed within the next day or two.   Yesterday, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Champaign County Farm Bureau filed their brief in support of Everpower. 

 And not to be forgotten is UNU’s suit against the US Fish & Wildlife Service for issuing a permit to Everpower to kill endangered species Indiana bats. UNU contends the permit fails to adequately protect bats consistent with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.   The USFWS must file the record in the case with the federal court in Washington, D.C. on April 1st.

Project applicant EverPower addressed a city concern in December when it withdrew its request to move a staging area from the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and state Route 814 to the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and Three Mile Road. Before the withdraw, the city expressed concern about how moving the staging area could affect a sewer line extension to Rothschild Berry Farm on East state Route 36….

In their application for rehearing, the county and townships contend that the board approved the amendment without hearing about adjustments to construction staging areas, modifications to four previously approved access roads and the movement of the electrical collection line system underground.

 

During the Jan. 6 hearing on the amendment, legal representatives for the citizen petitioners objected to the scope of the hearing and moved to allow questions regarding the portion of the amendment application regarding the relocation and burial of electrical lines. This motion was denied.

 

The administrative law judge declined to allow any witnesses to testify about most of the changes that were being requested by EverPower and that was just wrong,” Van Kley said. “The county has filed a motion pointing out that that’s wrong because the administrative law judge should have considered whether those other changes to the permit are going to cause a problem.

 

“As far as UNU is concerned, that resulted in the hearing not covering road damage and we believe road damage is being sufficiently addressed by the county and townships, so at this point we don’t believe that issue affects us,” he said.

 

The county and townships argued that due to the lack of a hearing regarding some of the changes and additions, relevant testimony was not presented about the positive and negative effects of the amendment’s changes.

 

The amendment to the first phase of the Buckeye Wind turbine project originally proposed to adjust the project’s construction staging areas, move one staging area 1.3 miles west, shift the project substation by 1,000 feet, add a new access road, modify four previously approved access roads and move the electric collection line system underground. The board approved the amendment during the Feb. 18 meeting.

via City, citizen petitioners don’t file for rehearing – urbanacitizen.com.

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