I’m sure that Renewable Energy Systems, the company that wanted to develop an industrial-scale wind farm in eastern Baraga County, is disappointed because it needed to cancel that project, but large numbers of local residents are not.
About 30 years ago this area had a bad experience with a company proposing a paper mill on Keweenaw Bay. While many of the local powers that be were enthusiastic, ultimately the public didn’t want it, and, as with RES and the Summit Lake Wind project, the company proposing the paper mill pulled out.
Hopefully RES learned that local residents here love the character of this place and want it to stay pretty much the way it is. RES should have initially tried to gauge the views of the public as a whole, and not focus on getting support from the current local powers that be. If it had it could have saved itself a lot of effort and money, local residents would not have had to struggle to keep the area the way they like it, and fractures within the community would not have developed.
RES cited process delays as the reason why they were pulling out.
Initial knee-jerk support for the project came from local individuals who seemed to believe that any proposal that might create jobs and tax revenue was a good idea. Strong public opposition pointed out that for this proposal the negatives outweighed the positives, and if popular opposition caused those delays that killed the project, great!
That the public could overrule a small number of well-placed individuals should rekindle our faith in democracy.
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