Wind farm moratorium request blown off; County officials said it was premature to take action against a wind farm proposal
MUNCIE – Officials said Monday they had no intention of prematurely pulling the plug on a wind farm proposed for parts of eastern Delaware County.
An opponent of the wind farm proposed by E. ON Climate & Renewables North America – on 15,000 leased acres of property generally east of the town of DeSoto – attended Monday’s meeting of the Delaware County commissioners and asked for immediate action.
“I would like to ask the commissioners to pass an ordinance for a moratorium on wind turbines until we can get this sorted out,” said James Rybarczyk, a resident of eastern Delaware County and an associate professor at Ball State University.
But commissioners president Larry Bledsoe said the next action should come from the Metropolitan Plan Commission.
“I believe in that process,” Bledsoe said. “To do a moratorium now would be premature.”
The plan commission action cited by the commissioners is a request on behalf of E. ON for a zoning change that would allow wind farms in agricultural areas. The plan commission last week tabled action until its June 6 meeting.
Although some residents and officials have cited a lack of information about the project, the commissioners indicated they had been told as many as 29 wind turbines – as tall as 500 feet – would be built at a cost of $100 million.
Rybarczyk – who several years ago led opposition to a peaking power plant in eastern Delaware County that was ultimately built in Henry County – urged the commissioners to stop the potential turbine farm.
“Land contracts are being signed in this county,” Rybarczyk said.
“They may be doing all that for nothing,” Bledsoe responded.
Rybarczyk said the project was “accelerating so rapidly” and said he had heard “information about the delivery of turbines … on their way.”
“I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Bledsoe said.
Commissioners Sherry Riggin and James King seconded Bledsoe’s response about the requested moratorium, with King adding he wanted the plan commission to have a chance “to follow through on its process.”
Officials noted that E. ON had been performing wind testing in the DeSoto area since 2009 and that the plan commission “started looking at it then.” That process is incomplete.
“That’s why I would not support a moratorium at this time,” Bledsoe said.
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