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Ohio agency staffers recommend denial of Seneca Wind project

TIFFIN – Although a final decision has yet to be made on sPower’s proposed Seneca Wind project, Ohio Power Siting Board staffers recommended Wednesday that the agency’s board of directors reject it.

The proposed wind farm would consist of up to 77 of the tallest commercial-scale wind turbines in this part of the country. The company, based in Utah, wants to install the machines in Seneca County’s Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden, and Bloom townships east of Tiffin.

In its report, the state agency’s staff recommends denial until the Federal Aviation Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation are able to complete their analysis of potential impacts to air navigation. The staff also recommended 50 conditions to meet should the board choose to let the project proceed now, anyway.

The report can be viewed online at https://dis.puc.state.oh.us/DocumentRecord.aspx?DocID=c573cd85-56fe-48f3-9063-72bad45473ce.

No board action is expected until after a previously scheduled hearing for the general public is held in the project area, followed by an adjudicatory hearing in Columbus. Makeup dates have not been determined.

The Seneca Anti-Wind Union, a citizens group fighting the project, said it would “take a lot of explaining” if OPSB board members do not follow the staff’s recommendation for denial.

The company on Tuesday filed a motion seeking a delay of the staff report, claiming it would make more sense for all parties to see the FAA’s analysis of the project first. That request was denied, and the report was issued on Wednesday as previously scheduled.

Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey R. Jones said in his decision it was sPower’s third request for a delay and that he cannot “find that good cause exists to further suspend the procedural schedule in this matter.”

Company spokesman Dan Williamson told The Blade he expects to have a comment from sPower later.