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Auglaize group opposes turbines

WAPAKONETA – They dot the landscape north of Van Wert, but in Auglaize County a group of residents is banding together to keep wind turbines away.

“Auglaize Neighbors United is a group of local property owners and citizens of Buckland, Wapakoneta, Moulton and Cridersville who have decided the idea of allowing a limited liability company to place 75 industrial wind turbines within a mile of our towns, surrounding countless rural residences, and changing the landscape of our county for the next 30 years (or forever) merits serious investigation and discussion,” the group said in its introductory news release.

Wapakoneta lawyer Mike Burton said the group wants to present unbiased information to the public before the process moves too far along.

“The most real time for local input is now,” Burton said. “Before any application is filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board and before large amounts of land are leased.”

U.S. Mainstream Renewable Power is behind the wind turbines, Burton said. He doesn’t think the company is telling the whole story to residents.

“Our group believes this is a bad project for Auglaize County,” he said. “But we want to present both sides of the story.”

The group is holding public meetings to present information. They will be at 3 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Buckland Community Center, 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Wapakoneta High School and 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Cridersville School. Information can be found online at www.noauglaizewind.org.

“We don’t see it as a good project. But we are going to try and provide some objective information,” Burton said.

He said the group has considered inviting wind farm representatives to the meetings, but he isn’t sure that’s the best way to start.

Burton said the area is too densely populated for the turbines, which can be more than 400 feet tall. The nearby Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches area includes more than 60 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The turbines would disrupt the view of those buildings, he said.

The group’s concerns include vibration, sound and shadow flicker caused by the structures as well as the financial viability of the project if government incentives to produce renewable energy are removed.

Burton also said that, when the inconsistent nature of wind power is considered, the effort is not as environmentally friendly as it appears and could drive up electrical costs.

The group hopes the upcoming meetings will give people in the community enough information to know what they are choosing.

“Our hope would be the community would try to make an informed decision,” Burton said.

Auglaize Neighbors United meetings:

• 3 p.m Feb. 19 at the Buckland Community Center

• 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Wapakoneta High School large group room

• 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Cridersville School cafetorium

Information can be found online at www.noauglaizewind.org.