TIFFIN – There has been another delay in the Seneca Wind project, one that will force two planned hearings before a state board to be postponed indefinitely.
The Ohio Power Siting Board, which has the final say over this and other proposed wind farms in Ohio, had been scheduled to take testimony from residents on April 23 in Tiffin, and legal arguments from lawyers on May 16 in Columbus. Both were postponements of earlier dates. The new dates have not been announced.
In a six-page document filed Thursday with the OPSB, three lawyers for Utah-based sPower’s subsidiary, Seneca Wind LLC, notified the state siting board that the developer wants to “suspend the procedural schedule and stay discovery” until further notice.
The developer needs more time for Seneca Wind to provide siting board staffers the information needed to complete their pre-construction investigation, the lawyers said.
The notice also was sent to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two others in his office: John H. Jones, assistant public utilities section chief, and Werner L. Margard, an assistant attorney general.
“This motion is not submitted for purposes of a delay,” the three Columbus-based attorneys representing sPower wrote. “Rather, Seneca Wind seeks suspension of the procedural schedule to ensure that it will have sufficient time to provide Staff the information needed to complete its report.”
Chris Aichholz, a spokesman for Seneca Anti-Wind Union, a citizens group opposed to the project, welcomed the latest development, although he said the case seems to have “no closure” and “just keeps dragging out.”
“Obviously, we’re excited. We’re happy. It’s good news,” Mr. Aichholz said. “Something changes every day, it seems.”
Seneca Wind is a massive, 212-megawatt project proposed by an sPower subsidiary, Seneca Wind LLC, that would rank among Ohio’s largest wind farms if the siting board grants approval this summer.
The project calls for 77 turbines to be erected across 25,000 acres of privately leased land in Seneca County. It carries an estimated $56 million impact through combined lease payments to property owners and payments in lieu of taxes to local communities.
Dan Williamson, spokesman for a Columbus-based public relations firm representing sPower, said the delay is “just a postponement” to provide more information. He said it’s too early to anticipate when the hearings will be rescheduled.
“We still feel very good about our application. We’re looking forward to doing this project. It’s just a matter of having all of the information so we are making our best case,” he said. “We anticipate this will be the final delay.”
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