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Seneca County divide continues to grow as townships, commissioners mull wind intervention

At this point, it’s safe to say lots of Seneca County residents oppose potential incoming wind turbines.

On Wednesday night, for a little over an hour, county commissioners listened to concerned citizens’ thoughts and opinions on the Seneca Wind Project.

The meeting was organized by Commissioner Shayne Thomas.

“Nothing is pre-scripted, so we’re coming in with open minds and open hearts, and hoping to understand what the townships’ position is and move on from there,” said Thomas.

Every comment that was made, whether it was by the public or township trustees was anti-wind turbines.

Currently, the APEX Republic Wind project is on hold, but the sPower Seneca Wind Project is moving forward in front of the Ohio Power Siting Board.

It would bring more than 80 turbines that stand around 600 feet tall to the county.

Representatives of sPower were in attendance Wednesday, but declined an interview.

So what’s next for the townships and their residents?

With the majority of the townships intervening in the wind project, meaning they can be a part of the legal process within the Siding Board, and commissioners in favor of the wind, the county prosecutor has his hands tied.

“The issue for this matter is whether we can represent townships in the Ohio Siding Board litigation because if the county is opposed, we can’t represent the townships because it would be a conflict of interest,” said Prosecutor Derek Devine.

The only way for the prosecutor to represent the townships’ opposition would be to have everyone involved sign a conflict of interest waiver.

Currently, only one of the three commissioners has been vocally against the wind turbines, Mike Kerschner.

He won a bid for re-election on Tuesday handily. Kerschner says some advertisements were created by pro-wind people to smear his campaign.

“I’ve got to thank them because it actually moved the needle a little. I only won by 68% last time, so God bless them.”

Commissioners have until November 16th to intervene in the Seneca Wind Project. 3 of 4 townships involved in Seneca Wind’s path have already agreed to intervene against the project, with the fourth voting on Monday.