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Officials speak at anti-wind group meeting

An Ohio State Representative and a Seneca County Commissioner spoke during a meeting of the Seneca County Anti-Wind Union Tuesday night.

State Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, addressed the full-audience about the proposed wind turbine projects set for the county. He said it is a complicated issue and comes down to being a property rights issue.

“First I’d like to address why we are here and who we are,” Reineke said. “We are local, concerned citizens who have come together to address a problem.”

Reineke went on to say, “We are listeners … proud landowners … concerned on how wind turbines will change our lives.”

“We need to be the decision makers,” Reineke said. “We don’t need people from out of state telling us they know better than us on how to live our lives.”

“Remember we are all neighbors,” Reineke said. “We are proud of who we are.”

Seneca County Board of Commissioners President Mike Kerschner also presented Tuesday. Kerschner said although the official position of the county is that wind farms are welcome, he is in opposition along with trustees of five townships who are in the wind farm’s footprint. That means there are more than 15 people who believe the projects shouldn’t happen, he said.

With the PILOT Program through the alternative energy zone, the equation shows the project of 200 mega watts is about $1.9 million for 30 years. Kerschner said the project will not last 30 years.

Kerschner has made motions to rescind the AEZ during commissioners meetings, both of which failed due to lack of a second.

Greg Smith of the SAWU gave a presentation on educating the public of the facts and misleading information. Smith and his wife have lived and worked in Seneca County their entire lives. There are to be about 19 of the 652 foot-tall wind turbines constructed around his property.

“This became a personal issue for me,” he said.

Of the projects, there is Republic Wind by Apex – which has proposed 58 591-tall turbines – and Seneca Wind by S-Power – which has proposed 85 652-tall turbines.

“The ones with the least to gain, have the most to lose,” Smith said of landowners near the proposed sites.

Smith said there will be several turbines in a two-mile radius around Seneca East schools.

“How can public officials approve of this,” he said. “What will happen when levies go back on the ballot?”

During his presentation, Smith talked further on the application process for wind projects through the Ohio Power Siting Board, setbacks for locations of wind turbines, zoning rights, property values, effects such as shadow flicker, noise, lights and other possible health issues.

Reineke and Kerschner both are up for re-election in November.