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Wind turbine opponents write to governor

A group of rural Greenwich residents opposed to the erection of wind turbines near their homes are among more than 850 Ohioans who’ve taken their fight to the governor.

Kevin Ledet, chairperson of Greenwich Neighbors United, said members of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) ultimately answer to the governor.

“Over 850 Ohio residents who are threatened with the prospect of industrial wind development in their communities sent a letter to Governor Kasich outlining the repeated and continuing failures of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to protect them from loss of their property rights and respect adjacent property owners right to protect and enjoy their property,” Ledet said.

The letter requests a halt to the OPSB’s consideration of any active wind power siting case “until lawful rules are established that faithfully implement the laws passed by the General Assembly.”

The OPSB, a separate entity within the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, has the final say as to whether the park is built.

The wind energy development company Windlab has applied to construct a windpark that would cover about 4,650 acres of privately leased land. It would include 25 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of up to 60 megawatts of electricity.

While Windlab has received the go-ahead from the OPSB, a group of opponents within Greenwich Neighbors United has requested a re-hearing as to whether the turbine project should be built. The OPSB had the option of granting a re-hearing, refusing to do so or taking more time to consider whether to grant a re-hearing. The board has opted to take more time and has yet to render a decision.

In the meantime, Greenwich Neighbors United and other Ohio residents opposed to wind turbines aren’t sitting still.

“These developers can come into anywhere and under the covers of the darkness of the night give (residents) a great sales pitch,” Ledet said. “I believe they don’t tell them everything.”

Greenwich Neighbors United has raised a variety of concerns. They include the effects of the turbines’ noise on human health and wildlife, sleep deprivation and setback requirements.

“Citizens of Ohio are coming together to join forces and educate one another about the harmful impact the industrial wind turbines have on communities, ” Ledet said. “In our letter, we have asserted that the OPSB has not adopted rules that adequately and faithfully implement the requirements established by Ohio’s General Assembly and has acted in ways that confuse citizens interested in exercising and protecting their rights.”

Ledet said all opponents of the proposed wind turbines can do is wait for the OPSB’s decision.

“The ball’s in their court,” he said. “They’re taking time right now to look this thing over.”

Ledet added it would be “marvelous” if the board granted Greenwich Neighbors United a re-hearing.

If they’re refused one, Ledet said his group plans to take their fight to the Ohio Supreme Court.

“We’ll go as far as we have to,” Ledet said.

Duncan Estep, a Lorain County Community College associate professor who teaches engineering and alternative energy, has told the Reflector “there’s a lot of misinformation out there” regarding wind turbines.

“They do for a fact make noise,” Estep said, but described it as a “whooshing sort of noise.”

Estep said he’s stood under turbines and the rotating blades resulted in a “soft whoosh,” kind of like a breeze in the trees.

Monica Jensen, vice president of development for Windlab, has said many people live amid wind turbines and “have no problems whatsoever.”

“Anything I try to provide to an anti-wind person, (in their mind) it’s perceived, it’s made up, it’s bogus, (it’s) propaganda from (the) wind industry” even if it’s peer-reviewed from the scientific community, Jensen said.

“It’s never good enough.”

Ledet recently met with Jensen.

“I do hear what they’re saying,” Jensen said, but added she doesn’t agree with their position.

Ledet referred to the meeting as “amicable.”

“It was peaceful but it was non-productive,” he said. “We’re 180 degrees apart.”