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At least some Champaign County property owners’ wind lease option agreements with Invenergy have been purchased by EverPower, so state EverPower letters dated Dec. 20 welcoming property owners to the “project family” and inviting them to visit the Buckeye Wind project’s Bellefontaine office Dec. 29 to receive a holiday ham and information about the “Buckeye Projects.” The invitation does not extend to public or media, EverPower officials say.
Invenergy originally had about 62 leases in the county, according to records at the county Recorder’s Office, but how many of these may be involved in a transfer is not known. One property owner with an Invenergy lease told the Daily Citizen he has not been informed of a transfer.
Daniel E. Bline, 4820 Allison Road, Mechanicsburg, said his lease agreement is now with EverPower. He said the terms are the same except that Wind Energy is no longer the lease holder for his options or his mother’s.
Bline said EverPower seems a progressive company and professional. He would not discuss details of any EverPower letters or legal agreements.
An anonymous lease holder leasing Wayne Township parcels to EverPower for turbine development said she and her husband know little about the wind energy lease option transfer, only that theirs were purchased by EverPower from Invenergy.
The anonymous person shared with the Daily Citizen a letter sent by EverPower on Dec. 20. The notice, welcoming the couple “into our project family,” tells of the transfer and asks the couple to attend an information meeting at EverPower’s Bellefontaine office on Dec. 29.
Walter Bumgarner, 8743 E. state Route 29, Mechanicsburg, told the Daily Citizen he hasn’t received a letter or word of any kind that his lease agreement had been sold to EverPower. Bumgarner said, as far as he knows, his pact to lease a Goshen Township parcel for turbine development is still with Invenergy.
EverPower and Invenergy officials are not commenting on any transfer of leases or communication with lease holders.
“Our goal is to make a very community-friendly wind project, and by that I mean we continue to want to work with the land owners and the community to make sure this wind project is sited properly and is around for a long time” is the only comment Buckeye Wind spokesman Jason Dagger would give for this article.
In 2009, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved 54 wind turbines (Buckeye Wind project) to be built on the east side of Champaign County. The company would need to go before the board again if EverPower were to expand this original project or embark on a second project, according to state regulations.
Noise, safety and setbacks were among topics discussed when attorneys appeared before the Ohio Supreme Court in September to answer questions and state their cases concerning the OPSB’s approval of EverPower’s Buckeye Wind project.
Union Neighbors United, a citizens group, opposed the project, citing a number of concerns, including noise, health and safety. While not supporting or opposing the project, Champaign County and the townships of Goshen, Union and Salem also appealed the OPSB decision due to concerns about adequate financial coverage for repair of roads and bridges damaged by construction of the project and for the eventual removal of turbines.
Supreme Court personnel reiterated Friday that cases generally are decided four to six months after they are before the court.
Asked about his quote in another publication that a court decision was expected “any day,” Dagger said he did not mean he expected a decision shortly, but rather that it could come at any time, sooner or later.
Staff Writers Jim Painter and Craig Shirk contributed to this article.
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