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Return amendment, local rights to HB 6

The Reineke amendment, which the Ohio Senate Energy Committee removed from House Bill 6, allows citizens whose townships are slated for industrial wind turbine facilities to vote whether the facility is compatible with their community.

Critics of the amendment say it isn’t fair to have a wind company invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work to then have the project denied by a citizen vote.

But businesses take this kind of risk all the time.

They routinely buy real property and then submit detailed plans to the local zoning board with the expectation of obtaining the required zoning. Sometimes the local board gives their approval; sometimes it does not. Businesses that get a feel for local community acceptance and regulations up front are usually successful in their requests. Those that force themselves into an area where there is widespread regulatory or public opposition usually are not.

The zoning board is the typical local control mechanism for businesses wanting to come into an area. Currently, the Reineke amendment is the only local control mechanism for Ohioans when industrial wind facilities want to come into an area.

The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee ought to restore the Reineke amendment to House Bill 6.

Barbara Behling, Urbana township, Champaign County