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Proposed Saginaw County wind farm draws criticism

A wind farm project planned for three Mid-Michigan counties is moving forward. Florida based NextEra Energy is looking to build 75 wind turbines in Saginaw, Bay and Tuscola counties. The small farming community of Blumfield Township could get as many as five wind turbines. Township officials say they’re strengthening their wind energy ordinance to protect land owners. But the community says more is needed.

Roseanna DuRussel has lived in Saginaw County’s Blumfield township since 1973 and has concerns over a new proposed wind farm in her backyard. “If you go to up the Thumb area of Michigan, you can hear their turbines. I think wind energy is a good idea, but locate the turbines in an area where it’s not so populated.”

Solar company NextEra Energy has proposed building five turbines in the northeast section of the township. The planning commission met Tuesday to update its wind energy ordinance. Supervisor Wes Reinbold said the addition protects landowners. “Our ordinance right now says 500 feet from the parcel line, so we added 1400 feet from a residence.”

Emil Mueller owns land in the Blumfield Township and worries his property value will plummet if the wind turbines are nearby. “We don’t know where they are going to put them, that’s the thing, they never told us where they are going to put them, just 1400 feet back from my property.”

Don Wendland said he was approached by a solar company to sell his land, but declined. He said there’s too many questions and not enough answers regarding the turbines and the impact on the community. “I think we will all be paying closer attention to how this progresses.”

But not all residents have reservations about the wind farm, Mike Godek supports the new investment. “It’s going to help the community, just think about how many jobs it will create. As for the long run, I think it’s better that we have them.”