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Group seeks wind moratorium in Benzie Township

A citizens group in Benzie County is asking for a moratorium on commercial wind turbines. Officials in Blaine Township will take up the request tomorrow night.

A national wind developer, Duke Energy, wants to install more than a hundred windmills on high ridges along the Benzie and Manistee County line.

Chuck Beale, a founder of Citizens for Responsible Wind Development, says a six-month moratorium will give officials time to put more specific protections in place. He says the existing ordinance does not ensure that an industrial project of this magnitude will be done responsibly.

“Responsible wind development is going to deal with the environment. It needs to deal with property values. It needs to deal with health issues that are associated with wind turbines,” he says.

Duke Energy already has leased several thousand acres in Manistee County, and it’s been meeting with a group of farmers in Benzie.

But Duke may not be ready to ask for permission to build for a year or more.

“And if they’re not looking for permits six months from now or a year from now fine then the moratorium is not hurting anybody,” Beale says of his proposed moratorium.

The Blaine Township supervisor expects the moratorium will pass. He says he would like to join with a township in Manistee County that is developing a new wind ordinance.