More than a month ago, we learned that Everpower intended to close its Bellefontaine, Ohio office on or about August 1st. At the time, the Bellefontaine Examiner called to verify the story and Jason Dagger denied it. On July 22nd, Everpower’s Dagger and Mike Pullins sent a letter to Buckeye Wind Leaseholders advising them that the local office is indeed closing and the Pittsburgh office will handle any related business. The letter goes on to say Dagger and Pullins will continue to be available locally and that an ‘operations and maintenance facility’ will open when construction begins. In the meantime, they express concern over the ‘uncertainty’ caused by the renewable energy freeze and the elimination of the in-state mandate (SB310) as well as the threat of new setback requirements. Everpower believes the change in setback language was enacted without any ‘qualified experts’ like the wind industry. They assert that the language implementing new setbacks is ‘unclear’ but could impact Buckeye I and II and Scioto Ridge. Notwithstanding, Dagger and Pullins remain optimistic that the projects will go forward but warn that “Landowners and community support is more critical than ever.” They as for a demonstration of “Strong community support” and state:
“The more that is demonstrated by public officials, the better the investment environment for Everpower. We encourage you, your family and friends to reach out to your local officials and share your support of the projects and ask that they take a public stand in support of the projects.”
We do not know what this plea for support means. We do know that Pullins and Dagger have asked the Union, Urbana, and Goshen township trustees to withdraw their lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme court on July 16th. They have attended Township Trustee meetings recently to vigorously argue for a negotiation rather than a court action. The County and the Townships current appeal to the supreme court makes the case that Everpower was unlawfully granted amendments to their certificate withOUT a hearing. Thie is important to understand because it appears they are trying to do it again by filing a motion to extend the deadline of the their certificate of approval. Under the current certificate of approval, Everpower must dommence construction by March 22, 2015. By attempting to obtain an extension by motion INSTEAD of an application, Everpower eliminats the opportunity for the public to comment. If Everpower is required to file and APPLICATION seeking an extension, the public would have an opportunity to comment. More important, if the Ohio Power Siting Board were required to hold a hearing on the request for an extension, it likely would not hold the hearing before the new setbacks become effective September 15th.
Please take this opportunity to let the Township Trustees and County Commissioners know you support their appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. If you believe and application should be required for Everpower’s certificate extension, please let them know NOW. If you would like to write to the Ohio Power Siting Board to request a hearing on the extension of Everpower’s certificate, you can email the OPSB at contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us and you must reference this case no: 08-0666-EL-BGN. Written comments can be mailed to OPSB 180 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43215 and you must also include the case number.