Ohio BigWind battalions out in force at our statehouse

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Negotiations continue in the Ohio General Assembly on both renewable mandates and the repeal of wind setback measurement from property lines.

At the Ohio Power Siting Board, numerous comments were submitted by both wind developers and citizens concerning the current process for waiving setbacks.   The law very clearly states that all property owners adjacent to the wind farm property must agree to any setback waiver.  The wind industry believes this should be interpreted as the one non-participating landowner closest to the one non-conforming turbine.  But that interpretation is not consistent with the law.  Readers can go to the OPSB website at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=16-1109 to read the comment submissions.  We have attached the comments of MAREC (Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition).  Other comments from Greenwich Neighbors United and Union Neighbors United can be found at the website as well comments from the Blackfork developer.   OPSB will consider the comments and will issue a final rule which must then be approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

Speaking of Rules, not only must JCARR sign off on rules from the OPSB but proposals must also go through a review in the Governor’s Office pursuant to the “Common Sense Initiative” (CSI).  This process is designed to prevent regulations from being too burdensome on the entity being regulated. One of the questions asked by the CSI is what scientific information was considered in developing the rule.   We understand that with respect to wind turbine siting rules, the OPSB has indicated they did not consider any science.   In the last two issues of Wind News, we have discussed the studies and work of the Acoustical Society of America. Your legislators should be made aware that the Chairman Emeritus of the ASA has called for at least 3,300 foot setbacks.  Moreover, the ASA rejects the use of dBA to measure noise from industrial wind turbines. The OPSB uses dBA.  They should be challenged on this point, as well.

We have previously discussed the phony poll issued by the phony Conservative Energy Forum.  Rep. Seitz called this poll “AstroTurf At Work”.  A consultant for CEF wrote an Op-Ed for the Columbus Dispatch and then the wind lobbyist, Dayna Baird, sent out the word to wind developers, enviros and greens to “amplify” the message on social media.   Seitz caught them in the act of this campaign and called them out in an email to legislators and the Governor’s Office saying:

“If ever anyone doubted that the so-called Conservative Energy Forum is really just a shill for Big Wind, the enclosed ought to prove it beyond cavil. As you can clearly see, Mr. Hartley published an op-ed in the February 5 Columbus Dispatch. Moments later, the Big Wind lobbyists were activated to “amplify via social media”, and conveniently, they even were given sample social media responses to post on whatever passes for social media these days. I do not retreat from my contention that the Conservative Energy Forum is an AstroTurf group, however well-intentioned, but no one should be misled into thinking that they are anything other than a shill for Big Wind.”

In criticizing polls and surveys about community support for industrial wind, we have pointed out that the sample geographic area is usually so large that it obscures the impacts and attitudes of people living in close proximity to wind turbines. Tom Stacy has provided an analysis that may be helpful in understanding this ‘survey sleight of hand’.  Tom’s analysis is set out below and concludes that “ALLof the 11% of respondents living in the nuisance and safety zone view them negatively, except those being paid to host the machines.”   This contrasts with the CEF assertion that 76% support reduction of setbacks or, as in the previously reported NREL study,  92% view industrial wind positively.   (see Wind News 1-31-18)

Another piece of astonishing news was received this week but has not yet been verified. It should raise real concerns.   It has been observed through County Recorder data that some parcels of land have been cut from a larger tract which is under lease.  In instances where the leaseholder sold off a parcel of land to a buyer wishing to build,  banks appear to be unwilling to make construction loans.  We have seen some split-off parcels that have been removed from the contract with the developer. It is useful to remember that if a split-off parcel is eventually the site of a residence, the owner of the newly built residence will not be bound by the gag orders placed on the leaseholder/seller….

via OHCEF | Ohio’s conservative voice for a strong energy future

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Amazon plus BigWind = Nightmare for Ohio

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This picture was proposed, and defeated, in the legislature 2016.  What is it? A proposed Ohio Wind Corridor.  This proposal has now been resurrected by Amazon. Amazon recently testified in the Ohio General Assembly that they want to source their renewable energy in-state and support reducing setbacks from property lines in the Ohio “Wind Corridor” only. THAT’S YOU!

BigWind is like a chronic disease…..never cured, constantly requires attention. Have YOU shared YOUR thoughts with YOUR Ohio legislators lately??????????

Big Wind. Love it or Hate it, but don’t SPIN the facts!

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This week we received a notice of a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory entitled National Survey of Wind Power Project Neighbors.  While it is better than nothing, we believe it has significant drawbacks.   The study used a “dataset of 1.29 million homes within 5 miles of all U.S. wind projects with turbines larger than 364 feet and 1.5 MW, which were installed between 2004 and 2014.  This resulted in a sample of 1,289,478 possible households near 604 wind projects. The total number of turbines was 28,078 although in a footnote, the authors state that some of the turbines in the study might be further than five miles from a home.  The study cautions that its results may not be generalized to areas beyond the sample where turbines may be taller than 492 feet or larger than 3.1 MW. 

The Survey’s objectives were to explore:

 

  • What is the distribution of attitudes and annoyances of those living close to U.S. wind power projects, and what factors help explain those attitudes and annoyances? [Note: the survey mostly addresses projects not individual turbines.]
  • How are U.S. wind power project siting and planning processes perceived by community members, and what helps explain differences in those perceptions?
  • How well do modeled sound levels from U.S. wind power projects predict respondent levels of audibility and annoyance to those sounds, and what additional factors help explain those levels? [Does not include infrasound which we believe should be included as its has different properties than audible sound. The recent Australian Tribunal confirms this.]
  • What percentages of individuals living near U.S. wind power projects are “strongly” annoyed—reporting symptoms caused by turbine sounds, shadow flicker, or visual effects—and what factors help explain those percentages?
  • Is there evidence that communities’ attitudes change over time as residents move in and out of the area near U.S. wind power projects?
  • How does hosting a turbine(s) and/or being compensated by the wind power project owner influence attitudes, annoyances, and perceptions of the planning process? [We believe this is irrelevant because most leaseholders and those with good neighbor agreements are not permitted to complain and in some cases are required to be supportive.]
  • How do U.S. attitudes toward local wind power projects compare with those in Europe, and are there insights that can be drawn from any apparent differences? [Distribution of European populations is often different than in the U.S.]

 

Our first observation is that the attitudes of people who live within ½ to 1 mile of a turbine are totally diluted by including them in a population sample of people who live five miles away from a wind “project”.  Second, the authors undertook the study because they acknowledge methodological shortcomings in previous studies.  With respect to noise modeling, the survey looks at areas where estimates of A-weighted sound levels were used.  There have been repeated reports that state A-weighted sound levels are the least effective way to measure wind turbine sound. 

 

When asked about their attitude toward the local wind turbine project, those who lived within ½ mile were very negative (13%), negative (12%), neutral (24%), positive (27%) and very positive (23%).  There is no way of telling how many of these respondents were leaseholders or had Good Neighbor Agreements but the authors do state that there is a correlation between attitude and compensation.  Notwithstanding, a conservative interpretation of these numbers are that at least 25% of those living within a half a mile of a turbine viewed them negatively. 

 

The study also explored whether people perceived the planning process to be fair.  The most important component in this assessment was “developer transparency and openness” as well as the “ability of the community or individual to influence the outcome of the project.    Given the nearly universal experience of communities finding the developer signed up unsuspecting people by secretively traveling around the community using a local person as a “trusted” agent, we do not think anyone in Ohio would perceive the planning process to be fair.  Moreover, the indifference of the Ohio Power Siting Board to local governments and residents, practically guarantees that no Ohioan would find the process to be fair.

 

Given the above, we believe this is a strong argument for LOCAL CONTROL at the impacted township level.  Looking at attitudes beyond the three mile distance from the wind project shows a very different response.  People are either neutral or supportive because the project does not affect them.  The wind industry is currently trying to convince legislators that ALL voters in unincorporated areas of ALL townships in the county should be given the right to vote on projects/setbacks.   This study clearly shows the nearby population and the more distant population are entirely different and that the distant population’s attitudes could override the desires of the people living within a mile of wind turbines.  This is an important point to understand. The wind developers are banking on the General Assembly to not understand this.

 

In regard to annoyance from noise, the survey asked “Have you ever heard sound from the wind power project?”  The result reported is:

 

“Not surprisingly, respondents who were closer to a turbine more frequently reported hearing project sounds than those who were farther away.”  Of all respondents living within 5 miles, 84% reported not hearing sound, and 16% reported hearing sound. When the sample is limited to those living within 1 mile, 44% reported not hearing sound, and 56% reported hearing sound. And, of those living just within 0.5 miles, 19% reported not hearing sound, and 81% reported hearing sound.   Remember, the study did not assess infrasound nor was the sensation of vibration inside the home evaluated.

 

Given that the population studied was within 5 miles of the wind project, the percentage of those who reported hearing sound was only 16% .   Of those who did hear sound, 15% were somewhat annoyed,  5% were moderately annoyed and 18% were very annoyed.   This gets further watered down by statistical manipulation to demonstrate that only 5.6% of all the survey respondents are somewhat, moderately or very annoyed.

 

For those living within ½ mile of a turbine and who reported hearing sound, 43% claim not to be annoyed at all and 19% only slightly.  These are likely to be leaseholders and those with good neighbor agreements.  Those who reported being annoyed were 6% somewhat; 11% moderately and 20% very annoyed. “Thus 30% of all respondents who lived within ½ mile of a turbine reported being somewhat, moderately or very annoyed by the audible sound.”

 

The study goes on to try to understand if there are other factors that impact the rates of  annoyance.  In a “eureka moment” for the researchers, they found that being compensated could improve the feeling of annoyance.   Earth to researchers:  leaseholders are not going to be reliable indicators and most non-participating landowners could never be paid enough to overlook the adverse impacts of wind turbines.

 

Turning to the “strongly annoyed” population,  “Individuals who reported being very, moderately, or somewhat annoyed and reported regular (at least monthly) health-related symptoms, which they attribute to turbines, were classified as “strongly annoyed” on an annoyance stress scale. Symptoms include “being in a bad mood,” “anger,” “lack of concentration,” “difficulty falling asleep,” and “otherwise not sleeping well.” For these statistics, the sample was limited to those within 3 miles of a turbine, to conform to samples drawn from Europe, to which these data were compared. Of respondents living within 3 miles of a turbine, 2.3% qualified as strongly annoyed. When the results are broken down by reported source of annoyance, 1.1% of respondents living within 3 miles of a turbine were strongly annoyed because of sound, 1.5% because of landscape change, 1.2% because of lighting, and 0.2% because of shadow flicker.”  These figures seem rather meaningless and we believe they probably mask the real picture of how many living with ½ mile report health-related symptoms.

 With all of its shortcomings, the study is an affirmation that the placement of wind turbines less than ½ mile (2,640 feet) from your property line will almost guarantee 25% of your community will be annoyed and a number of them will suffer adverse health effects. Study it, the next neighbor could be you…

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a survey of people living near wind turbines. 12019/Pixabay

A new national lab study is upending common assumptions about U.S. wind power, including that “not in my backyard” fights drive opposition and that people living closest to turbines don’t like them.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released preliminary results last week of the first national survey of residents living within 5 miles or less of utility-scale wind. The three-year analysis documents factors driving small pockets of wind opposition that often counter conventional wisdom…

The researchers did not provide specific recommendations, although they said the information could help developers with planning to minimize challenges.

“We hope we have laid down a foundation from which wind stakeholders can build as they consider future wind developments,” said Ben Hoen, a LBNL research scientist and the study’s lead author…

The study documents majority support for turbines. Fifty-seven percent of respondents living within 5 miles of turbines had a “very positive” or “positive” view of them. When the distance was less than half a mile, the negatives went up, although 50 percent still said they were positive or very positive…

via RENEWABLE ENERGY: Lab probes Americans love-hate relationship with wind — Monday, January 29, 2018 — www.eenews.net E&E News — Start a free trial

‘The’ Weather Channel attacks conservative Ohio citizens

It was quite a week.  “Head spinning” – to use a wind term.   One thing is clear, Apex is under attack in many communities (across America) and it is interesting to see the different ways they are dealing with the communities who are challenging them.

The wind industry is pulling out all stops in what appears to be a last ditch effort to hold onto renewable energy mandates and to repeal property line setbacks in Ohio.   The phase out of the federal Production Tax Credits is looming and the risks that a number of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan projects might not meet deadlines or be derailed because of stricter local zoning ordinances is probably driving much of this.  Wind has a lot to lose and we are seeing their aggression in full force.

The Ohio Power Siting Board was directed to go back to the drawing board and redraft their rules on setback waivers which Rep. Bill Seitz challenged as being inconsistent with the law. At issue is how many nonparticipating property owners must sign a waiver in order for the current 1,125 foot setback to be suspended.  It is anticipated OPSB will refile their rule at the end of the month.

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum released a questionable state-wide poll of “conservative Ohio voters”  finding that 85 percent would pay something extra in their monthly bills for power generated by renewable technologies such as wind and solar. “Nearly half of those polled said they would be willing to pay between $10 and $20 extra every month for green power. The release of the polling results by the Ohio CEF comes as state lawmakers begin hearings on legislation mandating renewable energy, minimum property setback rules for wind turbines, as well as new subsidies for old coal and nuclear power plants.”  The poll results are being used to lobby for increased mandates and reduced wind turbine setbacks.   

In response to the Conservative Energy Forum “poll,”  Rep. Bill Seitz (who has been working tirelessly to pass HB 114 repealing mandates) unleashed one of his signature diatribes against the CEF.  In an open letter to members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office, Seitz takes on the CEF point by point.  THIS IS A MUST READ!   Seitz makes the point that if Ohioans are so supportive of wind, there should be no opposition to giving local township voters a say in the matter.  “If that’s so, then they will gladly vote in local elections to adopt lesser setbacks for wind farms in their backyards. As a “conservative voter”, I have proposed allowing township, city, or village voters to approve lesser setbacks in an election held for that purpose. If Big Wind really has 76% support for changed limits, these elections should result in landslide victories. (In Michigan, Big Wind lost 14 consecutive elections, though–an inconvenient truth!).”

Attacks from the wind lobby and the radical left were aided by extremist publication Inside Climate News who with the Weather Channel prepared a 13 minute video documentary called Killing Clean pummeling Rep. Seitz and any Ohio lawmaker who would oppose renewable mandates and other pro-wind policies.   This is a vicious production full of inaccurate reporting – but it also features our own Van Wert warrior, Jeremy Kitson.  We regard these polls and attacks as a sign of desperation and a call for all wind warriors to fight back by staying in constant touch with your local elected officials to prove that the wind lobby is spreading falsehoods.

On Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held its first hearing on SB 238 to repeal property line setbacks.  Bill sponsor Sen. Matt Dolan of Chagrin Falls provided testimony and offered an amendment to the bill specifically stating county engineers’ responsibility to make sure wind developers restore damaged roads or infrastructure to their condition prior to development. It also states police and fire personnel must be trained for emergencies stemming from wind farms.   Dolan asserted that while these provisions were already in the law, he was clarifying them as part of demonstrating that local control of wind development already exists.  Good grief.   There are no further hearings scheduled at this time.

In Huron County, local wind warriors provided information to the County Commissioners in opposition to their possible consideration of designating the county as an Alternative Energy Zone (“AEZ”).   An AEZ makes PILOT automatic anywhere in the County. This designation is being pushed by Apex who threatens that they will not proceed with the Emerson Creek project unless they receive tax abatement through the PILOT program.   In addition, Sam Randazzo wrote an opinion piece for the local Norwalk paper further describing the negative consequences of PILOT.  THIS IS MUST READ.   Among Randazzo’s points is “For example, the commissioners indicated that the state (and more specifically the Ohio Power Siting Board) would make sure that any Apex wind farm would not negatively affect the environment. Most of the local property owners who have been active in Ohio Power Siting Board proceedings know that the Ohio Power Siting Board is either unwilling or unable to protect the public interest.   For example, as I explained in the attached prepared statement, the Ohio Power Siting Board lacks technical expertise to evaluate proposed wind farms and has typically used a method of evaluating wind turbine noise output that is unacceptable for use in rural areas. The Ohio Power Siting Board also has ignored minimum safe distance warnings of wind turbine manufacturers with regard to ice throw and fire risks.”

 Bowling Green is touting its reputation as the “Greenest City in Ohio” drawing 41 percent of total power usage from sustainable energy sources, providing a home to Ohio’s largest solar field and the state’s first utility-sized wind farm.  Sen. Randy Gardner of Bowling Green is a co-sponsor of SB 238 to reduce setbacks.   We note, however, that while  the local wind farm located on a landfill outside of town was the first in the state, it was also the last for Bowling Green which has turned to solar and hydro.  But hey – why not let the good green people of Bowling “Green” have all the turbines and reduced setbacks they want?  Why don’t they start with declaring Wood an Alternative Energy Zone?

At the Ohio Public Utilities Commission a hearing took place to reconsider whether a November ruling should be changed.  The PUCO ruling reduced the amount that private owners of wind turbines and solar panels can receive for selling excess power back to the utility.   PUCO’s concern was that as more and more consumers and businesses generate their own power, others who rely on their utility will have to shoulder a higher cost of maintaining the grid.  ONE Energy of Findlay which supplies wind turbines to Ohio manufacturers was among those criticizing the November ruling.

The PUCO has ordered the state’s utilities to prepare to lower rates it has been charging customers to “recover” federal taxes, as allowed by state law. The commission reasons that the lower tax bills utilities will now enjoy because of the cut in federal corporate tax rates from 35 to 21 percent should go to customers. Under state law, the regulated utilities can pass along tax burdens to customers.   The PUCO also agreed to give Amazon a discount on the rate it will pay for electricity….. If electricity rates rise, in the future, do you think Amazon (EXTREMELY PRO WIND) or Ohio ratepayers will pay for the increase??

COMMUNICATION TO ALL HOUSE AND SENATE MEMBERS & GOVERNOR’S OFFICE FROM REP. BILL SEITZ     January 12, 2018

 

The wind lobby is ramping up its minions to tout a new “statewide poll” commissioned by the (astroturf) Ohio Conservative Energy Forum purporting to show that conservatives “overwhelmingly support clean energy policies.” They even went so far as to draft “social media posts that we’d appreciate your help in amplifying the message and results.”

 

I’m here to do my part to “amplify the message” with some inconvenient truths. Here goes.

 

CLAIM:

“76% of conservative voters SUPPORT changing setback limits to allow more wind energy development”

 

RESPONSE:

If that’s so, then they will gladly vote in local elections to adopt lesser setbacks for wind farms in their backyards. As a “conservative voter”, I have proposed allowing township, city, or village voters to approve lesser setbacks in an election held for that purpose. If Big Wind really has 76% support for changed limits, these elections should result in landslide victories. (In Michigan, Big Wind lost 14 consecutive elections, though–an inconvenient truth!).

 

CLAIM:

“85% of conservative voters voiced willingness to personally pay more for their electricity if sourced from renewable energy sources”

 

RESPONSE:

That’s great news, because all Ohioans can make that choice now! As Representative Roegner has amply demonstrated, there are electric suppliers on the PUCO website from whom anyone can buy 100% renewable power if they are indeed willing “to personally pay more.” With that kind of support, mandates are simply unnecessary. All that needs to happen is for those “85% of conservative voters” to put their money where their polling mouth is! A better question, neither asked nor answered by the poll, is: so why aren’t these “conservative voters” taking advantage of the options they currently have to buy energy sourced from renewables? (An inconvenient truth: very few are doing so).

 

CLAIM:

“Conservative voters overwhelmingly support clean energy policies”

 

RESPONSE:

You bet they do. But mandates are not a conservative’s way of getting there. True conservatives use their own money to further policies in which they believe. I needed no “mandate” to install rooftop solar on my house last year. Legislation that we have supported promotes customers choosing to opt-in or opt-out of renewable and energy efficiency mandates; expands the definition of efficiency to include more means of becoming efficient; expands the definition of renewables to include additional kinds of renewable energy; and promotes property assessed clean energy as a financing tool to fund energy efficiency projects that businesses and homeowners voluntarily choose to undertake (inconvenient truth: supporting clean energy policies does not mean exporting some people’s policy preferences by having other people pay for those choices).

 

CLAIM:

“Ohio conservatives are ready to allow the farmers the opportunity to decide what’s best for their business and property.”

 

RESPONSE:

Conservatives also believe that farmers’ private property rights don’t extend to stealing their neighbors’ land to satisfy the required setbacks of wind turbines from neighbors’ property lines. Farmers and their neighbors should be allowed to waive required setbacks (current law allows this), and they should be able to enjoy a local vote on whether setbacks should be reduced to promote wind farms. And when those farmers are deciding what’s best, maybe they need to know the inconvenient truth: according to the world’s leading renewable energy insurance underwriter, every year on average there are 3,800 incidents of blade failure, 1,200 incidents of gearbox failure, and 50 turbine fires—each with an average claims cost of $4.5 million. See attached May 23, 2017 article.

 

CLAIM:

“Conservatives realize that if Ohio wants to attract businesses such as Amazon and Facebook, renewable energy is key”

 

RESPONSE:

And both under current Ohio law and HB 114, Amazon and Facebook are free to buy as much renewable energy as they want. They just want YOUR constituents to pay the premium! Not very conservative. The inconvenient truth: if “renewable energy is key” to Amazon’s business location, then why did Amazon spend over $1 billion to locate in Kentucky—a state with NO MANDATES and NO WIND FARMS?

 

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to give me a call. Even if the poll is correct, it only proves that the path we are taking is consistent with what true conservative energy voters want.

 

Sincerely,

 

William J. Seitz

Michigan has had enough with BigWind. NO MORE TURBINES

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In areas where residents are EDUCATED and INFORMED about BigWind, the tides turn. Such is the case in Huron county, where residents have learned, first hand, that the turbines DO create problems for their residents….

2017 may prove to be a turning point for wind energy development in Huron County.

After residents and officials spent several years debating whether or not wind turbines are good for the county, voters turned down additional development in Sherman, Sigel, Sand Beach, Lincoln, Dwight and Bloomfield townships in May.

The referendums for wind energy overlay zones proposed by NextEra Energy Resources and DTE Energy failed in county-zoned municipalities by a 2 to 1 margin…

Huron County ended the year with 472 turbines standing, and still has more of the structures than any county in the state.

There are no current wind development proposals in the county, and there is a moratorium on wind development…

 

via No. 1 Voters turn down wind energy development – Huron Daily Tribune

Ohio roads damaged by BigWind

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BigWind often denies that they will severely damage area roadways during construction, but engineers know better. This is one of the many ‘side effects’ of BigWind construction. You will read below that repair discussions were ‘on both ends of the spectrum, we were on one end, they were on the other’….Mr Underwood is speaking kindly, perhaps politically correct. Many roads will be closed, over the winter, because they have become unplowable. It will be interesting to watch this situation evolve, as the Hardin county area has 2 more industrial wind sites in the works.  Will the agreement actually allow the roadways to be properly repaired? Remember, Hardin county chose to designate itself as an AEZ, so BigWind automatically receives the enormous tax break, aka the PILOT. It is a magnet for BigWind…

Construction on the Hog Creek Wind Farm project has led to several roads being damaged in the northern part of the county. I sat down with Deputy County Engineer Luke Underwood and Assistant County Engineer Trent Bass to get the details and timeline on the repairs. Underwood said that in the planning phases of the project, the County Engineer’s Office was mainly concerned with the local infrastructure in the form of roads and bridges. He noted that the Power Sighting Board has to give wind farm approval through a road use maintenance agreement. This document outlines who is responsible for the road damages.  Part of the agreement forced RES America, the developer of the wind farm, to test roadways in the northern portion of the county where the Hog Creek Wind Farm is located to better understand what abuse the roadways could withstand. Underwood notes that the study was effective on some roadways, however some roads didn’t hold up to the heavy construction traffic….

The agreement obligated the developer to bring the condition of the roadways back to their state before the wind farm’s construction began.

 

Underwood said that when the process began, “we were kind of both ends of the spectrum, we were one end, they were the other.”…

“They’ve agreed just to give the county a cash settlement, and we would be in charge of making the repairs.” Said Underwood.

He mentioned that the repairs would be both in-house, and contracted. Underwood said that because of the time it took to reach this agreement, the repairs would not be made until the Spring of 2018, making the roads un-plowable. Washington Township and the Engineers Office will be closing Washington Township 85, and portions of 22, and 115 within the next few weeks….

 

 

via Local News – WKTN Home Town Media