Ohio residents fighting BigWind

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Thank you to The Toledo Blade for covering some realities that the media often ignores, even if a little of the information is wrong. Ohio is NOT a great place for wind turbines. Look at the government wind map on our home page for proof.  Additionally, it is IMPORTANT for you to notice the bold blue mid page.  One BigWind development often leads to more….

Look almost anywhere across the United States and the fight against wind turbines comes down to a simple mathematical formula that involves people.

That’s the assessment of Jim Feasel, a fierce opponent of wind power and a resident of Seneca County’s Eden Township….

It’s all about the number of people per square mile. More people equals more conflict, Mr. Feasel said.

Seneca County has about 103 people per square mile, more than many parts of the country where the wind industry prospers and slightly more than the average square mile in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. Van Wert County, which hosts three-quarters of Ohio’s largest wind farm, the 152-turbine Blue Creek Wind Farm,has 72 people per square mile. Paulding County, home to the other quarter of that $600 million project, has less than half the density of Seneca County, with 49 people per square mile….

“It’s a topic you don’t bring up in a room of friends,” Mr. Feasel said. “All of the problems go away when you put [turbines] in areas where there aren’t people.”

He and Deb Hay of Thompson Township are among many residents behind a grass-roots group called the Seneca Anti-Wind Union. The group has drawn crowds in excess of 500 people to rallies twice this year…

Five Seneca County townships comprise the footprint for one of the projects at the center of the Seneca County dispute: Utah-based sPower’s proposed 85-turbine Seneca Wind farm, which the Ohio Power and Siting Board is expected to decide on in early 2019. The project is estimated to cost between $275 and $300 million and is expected to generate $56 million in tax revenue for schools and other local government bodies…

Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy’s $92 million Republic Wind project calls for 58 turbines, each about 591 feet tall, spread across different rural Seneca County townships, according to Ohio Siting Board records…

As if there weren’t enough controversy now, Republic also has two even-bigger projects in the early stages of planning in that part of northwest Ohio: its proposed Emerson Creek Wind project, which calls for 65 to 85 turbines in Erie and Huron counties, and its proposed Honey Creek Wind project, which calls for about 80 turbines in Seneca and Crawford counties…

Rural northwest Ohio is considered one of the state’s best regions for wind farm development…THIS IS WRONG! SEE our HOMEpage picture (near bottom)

Still, in Seneca County emotions are flying high, with several residents saying the projects have torn apart extended families and driven a wedge between longstanding friendships with neighbors.

“I’m concerned about this bitterness,” Greg Smith, a Bloom Township resident and Seneca Anti-Wind Union leader, said. “When you talk about the hard feelings and the divide it has created, it’s big time.”…

“I’ve had a number of people in my office with tears in their eyes worried about their home value and their quality of life,” Mr. Thomas said. “But their neighbor owns the land [next to them] and it’s a legal act in the state of Ohio. There’s the issue. It’s a property rights issue.”

Mr. Thomas has been a target of critics for several reasons, including testimony he delivered to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee on June 7, 2017, in which he sought a repeal of the setback rules the legislature passed four years ago. Those rules require 1,225 feet seperate the tip of a turbine from the nearest property.

Several developers have said those rules are too restrictive, and critics are incensed that Mr. Thomas told the Senate panel 16 months ago that most Seneca County property owners were in favor of softer setback requirements when many of them hadn’t even heard of the Republic Wind project back then.

Although developers began courting property owners as far back as a decade ago, details weren’t unveiled to the public until Republic Wind held an open house in Green Springs, Ohio, last December

Another thing that draws ire from critics is Mr. Thomas’ steadfast refusal to help townships be represented affordably in the Ohio Power Siting Board’s review process.

Mr. Thomas said he and Commissioner Holly Stacy, the other person on the three-member county board who favors the wind projects, have hired a former Apex attorney, Michael Settineri, to represent the county commission for the OPSB proceedings at a rate of $480 an hour. Many believe the county will end up paying more than $100,000 for his expertise.

“Commissioners are using our taxpayer dollars to hire a high-priced attorney to fight us,” Mr. Smith said.

Seneca County Prosecutor Derek W. DeVine, who normally would represent the commission, has offered to represent the townships but only if there is unanimous consent between them and county commissioners. The lone holdout is Mr. Thomas, who said he won’t grant consent because he believes that would jeopardize his attorney-client privilege with Mr. DeVine….

sPower’s Seneca Wind project calls for machines that are 652 feet up into the air at the apex of their blades, which would make them among the tallest structures in northwest Ohio. Only a few turbines in Texas are that tall…

 

Toledo Blade

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