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County wants to ensure local control of wind; several seek road commission spots  

Credit:  By Chris Aldridge, Tribune Staff Writer | Huron Daily Tribune | December 9, 2014 | www.michigansthumb.com ~~

HURON COUNTY – The goings-on of local government can go unnoticed sometimes. Here are a few newsworthy items of interest that didn’t make it into the headlines last week:

County opposing wind turbine bill

Huron County commissioners say they oppose “any legislation that would limit, hinder or eliminate local control” of wind energy.

To back that up, they’ve drafted a resolution dated today that opposes two bills in the Senate dealing with lawsuits against wind developers, claiming it would limit local controls if passed.

Introduced in October by outgoing State Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, Senate Bills 1123 and 1124 seek to make plaintiffs responsible for court and “reasonable” attorney costs if they lose a suit claiming a wind park has caused a “public or private nuisance.”

The bills state a wind park is not a public or private nuisance if it complies with zoning ordinances and MSU Extension’s Guidelines For Siting Wind Turbines when it first began operating.

In a lawsuit, if the attorney general or prosecuting attorney intervenes, “costs incurred by that officer shall be paid by the county in which the nuisance exists,” the bill states.

The Senate Fiscal Agency says the bills would have no fiscal impact on local or state government. Both have been forwarded to the Committee on Energy and Technology.

Newest wind park nearly finished

Last week, Heritage Energy said the final two of its 10 turbines at Big Turtle Wind Farm in Rubicon Township would be completed before the weekend.

“Hopefully we’ll start production next week, Friday,” Blake Shroll, site manager, said at Wednesday’s planning commission meeting.

During construction, high daytime winds caused delays – an irony that developers have faced elsewhere in the county. After an incident caused evacuation of one tower, crews began taking to the night to continue building, Shroll previously said.

“The winds came up too fast and we had to leave it on the hub,” he said.

Four of 10 turbines were fully erect at the beginning of November. Planners approved the $50 million project in October last year. Power from the farm will be sold to DTE Energy.

Road Commissioner interviews

At least three residents want a job overseeing nearly 2,000 miles of road in the county.

Today, county commissioners plan to interview three candidates for a vacancy on the county road commission, a six-year term. They are vying for the spot of current Board Chair Michael Power, who intends to continue serving on the board.

The applicants are Dana Compton of Caseville, Todd Cooper of Pigeon and James Quinn of Caseville.

Quinn, who has been an advocate against the road commission’s decision to leave one of two gates closed at Caseville County Park, also has backed an effort in one resident’s decision to sue the road commission on allegations that the decision was made illegally.

An interview for Power is not on today’s agenda. In a letter sent to commissioners, Power said he would be unavailable for interview from Nov. 20 to Dec. 9 for vacation and road commission commitments.

Source:  By Chris Aldridge, Tribune Staff Writer | Huron Daily Tribune | December 9, 2014 | www.michigansthumb.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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