BigWind creates ‘Chaos’ at the Ohio Power Siting Board

This week several filings have been made with the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Union Neighbors United has requested a rehearing on the OPSB’s approval of Everpower’s motion to extend the certificate expiration date in Phase I of Buckeye Wind.  Ohio law requires that extensions be granted only after applications to amend a certificate are investigated, subjected to hearing and appeal and some due process accorded to the public.  UNU asserts Everpower is seeking to avoid due process because any delay in obtaining the extension would subject them to the new setback rules which require measurement from property lines.  The UNU application for rehearing makes the case that Everpower is simply attempting to avoid these new requirements. Moreover, UNU points to the Blackfork Wind and the Paulding County Timber Road III projects (also represented by the Vorys law firm) that filed similar extension requests in order to get around the new law that seeks to protect the property rights of landowners in and around the footprint of a wind project.

 It is important to note, again, that the OPSB has failed to properly adopt its revised rules because they were not submitted to the Ohio General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. This means that the whole issue of what rules even apply to any wind development are up in the air. The ones who lose in the chaos are citizens who are trying to protect themselves and their communities. The OPSB has heaped insult on top of injury by not only leaving in question what the rules are, but also unlawfully suspending the rules for project extensions in order to accommodate the wind developers who are trying to duck the laws.  What a mess.

The Greenwich Wind project in Huron County is yet another example of the regulatory chaos.   The Omega Corporation, one of the entities impacted by the Greenwich Wind project, filed to extend the time period for the community to intervene in this project. They were denied.  We have also attached their application for a rehearing of the Board’s denial.  This is another indictment the OPSB and its failure to faithfully and fairly implement the laws regarding wind development.   Further information on this and all other wind cases pending before the OPSB can be found on the OPSB website at http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/index.cfm/Cases/ .  If you think you live in a ‘SAFE’ place away from BigWind, you will rethink your theory….

We will keep you abreast of what happens next in this drama.  It is complicated but very much worth taking the time to understand because the future of a number of Ohio wind developments hangs in the balance….

It may not be too late to stop development of the Greenwich Windpark, attorney Sam Randazzo told about 75 township residents and visitors at a Greenwich Neighbors United informational meeting Tuesday…

via Greenwich residents request wind farm rehearing – Times-Gazette | Ashland & Ashland County, Ohio.

Buckeye Wind pauses to enjoy spring?

Please read the next blog posting…The Ohio Power Siting Board approved amendments to the Buckeye I project as expected.  But as Logan County’s Tom Stacy says; ““From my perspective it’s not what you get, it’s what you gave away.”    The PILOT is about 20% to 25% of what would be paid without the PILOT.  As we have said before, if you are going to sell your county, don’t leave money on the table.  And for goodness sake, don’t take it from the residents who will have to live with the project. 

As UNU’s attorney says in the story, “Concerns about safety and noise for neighboring homeowners should also be considered first, regardless of potential revenue for the county, said Jack Van Kley, an attorney for UNU who has argued against the project. “No amount of money is going to compensate people for the loss of comfort in their own homes,” Van Kley said.  Yesterday’s fire in Benton County, Indiana brings that message home in a  truly frightening way. In Ohio, our setbacks are so small, this fireball could have been just a little over 1000 feet from a home or school. Reports from Indiana noted the relief from citizens that their fire did not happen during the dry season- and it was one MILE away from town!…

So, why could Buckeye Wind be “pausing”? Read the next blog please…

Developers of the Buckeye Wind Project are trying to determine if construction could begin this year after members of the Ohio Power Siting Board approved changes to portions of the first phase of the project….

However, now that those changes have been approved, Dagger said company officials are reviewing possible timelines for the project. Construction could start this year, although no decisions have been made.

I think we’re trying to weigh that as we work into spring here,” Dagger said.

If construction does begin this year, it would likely not be until fall. The company could also wait to see what happens with the project’s second phase before beginning construction….

Earlier this month, county officials in Van Wert and Paulding Counties received the first PILOT payment from Iberdrola Renewables as part of the separate Blue Creek Wind Project in northern Ohio. In that case, Van Wert County Auditor Nancy Dixon said her county received about $2,070,000, which was split between schools and other taxing entities, including about $230,000 for that county’s general fund.

“From my perspective it’s not what you get, it’s what you gave away,” Stacy said.

However, without the PILOT, proponents of the wind farm have repeatedly said it could make the project too expensive to move forward.

Concerns about safety and noise for neighboring homeowners should also be considered first, regardless of potential revenue for the county, said Jack Van Kley, an attorney for UNU who has argued against the project.

“No amount of money is going to compensate people for the loss of comfort in their own homes,” Van Kley said.

via Champaign turbine project could start | www.springfieldnewssun.com.