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Union trustees respond  

Credit:  By ED GEBERT, Times Bulletin News Writer, www.timesbulletin.com 13 August 2010 ~~

Just two days after the Hoaglin Township Trustees announced that they had the support of trustees in Union and Tully township in a complaint letter sent to the Ohio Power Siting Board, word from the Union Township Trustees is that each of the three does not necessarily agree with what was in the letter.

The letter was sent in an effort to halt progress with the Blue Creek Wind Farm being proposed by Iberdrola Renewables. In the body of the letter, the trustees accuse the power company of not negotiating in good faith.

But Thursday night, Union Township trustees William Dowler and Michael McOmber each expressed their regrets for being associated with that accusation. Dowler explained, “I agreed to have my name put on here without reading the entire letter. I was told over the phone what was going to be in it, and I don’t agree that you’re not negotiating in good faith,” he told Iberdrola Project Manager Dan Litchfield. “I think that’s probably incorrect. We still feel it is imperative that we have a road agreement in place before you start construction. I apologize for my name being on there.”

Iberdrola is hoping for its certificate from the OPSB on Aug. 23 for a go-ahead on the wind farm. The company is also awaiting a final decision from the county commissioners on the declaration of an Alternative Energy Zone, which would set a fee per megawatt generated to be paid rather than the payment of normal property taxes.

Litchfield said the letter could delay the start of construction if the OSPB decides to hold off on issuing the certificate. Dowler again offered an explanation, “I did not see the actual letter until Wednesday, and read through it. It just goes to show you, you shouldn’t put your name on something until you see it in print.”

Much of the exchange between the Union Township officials and Litchfield was an open discussion of options for the road agreement. One of the issues was whether it would be more prudent to spend more money beefing up the roads before construction begins or to wait until after construction ends, then rebuilding roads. The general consensus on both sides was that there was no way of telling which would be more cost-efficient.

“We don’t have all the answers,” Litchfield pointed out. “Building a wind farm is about solving problems as they come up.”

After two years of investigation and work on the project, the road agreement has become one of the big sticking points. The township officials want to have the agreement wrapped up before heavy equipment starts rumbling down Van Wert County roads. This may be a tough hurdle if the wind farm construction schedule remains intact. Currently construction is set to begin Sept. 8, however Dowler reported that a counter-proposal from their attorney is not expected for another two weeks.

Litchfield remained optimistic, noting that “It can still happen.”

Meanwhile, Dowler admitted that some of the blame for this last-minute rush should go to the townships. “Part of this ‘eleventh hour’ road agreement is our fault because we were waiting on a couple of the other townships to get on board with the lawyer’s payment,” he said. “So part of that is our fault that we’re kind of behind the 8-ball.”

Source:  By ED GEBERT, Times Bulletin News Writer, www.timesbulletin.com 13 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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