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Health board won’t get into wind farm controversy

SANDUSKY – Erie County’s health board decided, at least for now, to stay out of the controversy over a proposed wind farm in Erie County.

Apex Clean Energy proposed to build a wind farm with 71 wind turbines in Erie and Ottawa counties. The Erie County portion would be in Groton and Oxford townships. The final decision on a permit rests with the Ohio Power Siting Board.

Erie County’s health commissioner, Pete Schade, asked the board at its regular Tuesday night meeting, hosted at the health department campus, whether it was interested in weighing in.

Schade mentioned that there are possible quality of life issues involved, including the shadows and flickering generated by the wind turbine blades, as well as the sound of the devices. There’s also concern about whether turbines could affect water quality in the karst limestone area where they would be sited, Schade said.

“Should we be talking about this?” he asked.

Dr. Dina Bauer, a member of the health board, said that without concrete evidence that wind turbines cause health problems, it would be best for the board to stay out of the discussion.

“This issue extends beyond our agency,” she said.

Other board members offered similar comments.

Linda Miller-Moore, the president of the board, said that while there are questions about wind turbines, the issue appears to go beyond what the health board deals with.

Charles Murray, a Sandusky attorney who is a new member of the health board and was attending his first meeting Tuesday, asked about the board’s jurisdiction over similar issues.

The board members told Murray that when there were complaints about the smell from a local composting operation, the health department worked to fix the problem and help the local business resolve the issue.

In general, the board deals with proven health issues, said Dr. Richard Keller, another board member.