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County, townships fight turbine ruling

Champaign County groups to ask state board to reconsider approval of wind farm.Supporters say project will generate jobs, millions in tax revenue.


Champaign County and a handful of townships will ask the Ohio Power Siting Board to revisit its ruling on the Buckeye Wind Project, including issues such as road maintenance and other protections the county is seeking if the wind farm is built.

Last month the siting board approved the second phase of the Buckeye Wind Project, allowing as many as 52 turbines to be built across 13,500 acres of land in Goshen, Rush, Salem, Union, Urbana and Wayne townships. It would be combined with an earlier phase of the project that, in all, would mean as many as 100 turbines could be built in Champaign County.

On Wednesday, county commissioners and trustees from Goshen, Union and Urbana townships met in executive session and then voted to ask Kevin Talebi, Champaign County prosecutor, to seek a rehearing with the siting board on the decision.

In a brief in January, the county and townships raised concerns that included how the project might affect roads and bridges during the construction phase, the true economic benefit to the county and the financial impact the decommissioning phase of the project might have on the county, among other topics.

Some of those issues have been addressed, Talebi said, but the commissioners and township officials still have questions about aspects of the project.

“Some of those issues were addressed to the individual entities’ satisfaction, and where they weren’t, we’ve been asked by the townships and the commissioners to again raise those concerns and ask to reconsider the initial decision,” Talebi said.

Members of Union Neighbors United, a group of residents opposed to the project, have also said they plan to ask the siting board to reconsider its decision. If the parties involved are still not satisfied with the result, the case can then be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Proponents of the project, however, have argued the project will create jobs during construction and add revenue to schools and other local government entities. Jason Dagger, a spokesman for the project, has said the wind farm would provide as much as $20 million in annual payments to the county, schools and townships over the life of the project.

Talebi said the county would likely have to file its request for a rehearing late this month.


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