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State board hears Champaign turbine case

Buckeye Wind wants to build 100 turbines, seeks amendments for work.

State officials listened to evidence Monday on Buckeye Wind’s request to amend portions of its certificate for the first phase of the Buckeye Wind farm.

Among the proposed changes, officials from the company are seeking to relocate a substation within the same parcel, relocate four access roads, re-size two construction yards and install some collection lines underground as opposed to overhead.

Jason Dagger, a a spokesman for the wind company, said Monday’s hearing was only to present evidence in the case, and no final decisions were made.

Officials from the city of Urbana had previously challenged a proposed change that would have relocated a staging area from the intersection of Ohio 814 and U.S. 36 to the intersection of U.S. 36 and Three-Mile Road. Breanne Parcels, Urbana’s law director, said the city had concerns that the new location might interfere with a plan to extend a sewer line to Robert Rothschild Farm. However, the wind company withdrew that proposal in December.

Jack Van Kley, an attorney for Union Neighbors United, said he questioned how the collection lines would be buried to make sure area roads are not damaged. But UNU, a group opposed to the project, otherwise had few questions about the proposed changes, Van Kley said.

Matt Butler, a spokesman for the Ohio Power Siting Board, said it’s not clear when the siting board will make a decision but said the next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18. There is currently nothing on the agenda for that meeting.

Combined with a second phase, the wind project is expected to build about 100 turbines throughout several townships in Champaign County. The second phase of the project has been approved by the siting board, but has been appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Van Kley said attorneys are expected to file their arguments with the Supreme Court by February.

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