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Energy fight continues in Allen County  

Republican-backed Senate Bill 52 proposes new rules in how solar and wind farms are able to break new ground in Ohio communities, ultimately allowing the people of a township or townships to vote on whether or not a solar or wind farm can be established.

Credit:  By Trevor Hubert | The Lima News | May 28, 2021 | www.limaohio.com ~~

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – The fight over energy in Ohio continues to drag on, leaving Allen County residents at the heart of a race between a company trying to build a new solar farm and a state senate trying to shut it down.

The Birch Solar Project is one that has been at the center of an energy battle in Ohio. The proposed solar farm just southwest of Lima has been met with both fierce support and vocal opposition. Meanwhile, in the Ohio State Senate, new legislation is in the works that proponents of the project say would effectively kill it.

Republican-backed Senate Bill 52 proposes new rules in how solar and wind farms are able to break new ground in Ohio communities, ultimately allowing the people of a township or townships to vote on whether or not a solar or wind farm can be established.

The bill has been taken up for committee hearings two times in recent weeks, allowing citizens to testify for or against the bill. One of those who testified against SB52 was Shanelle Montana, who is the director of development for LightsourceBP, the firm tasked with creating the Birch Solar Farm.

“I am just nervous that we are going to stop using the experts to decide policy, and we are going to start creating policy on emotional knee-jerk reactions,” Montana said about the bill. “And that’s not good for Allen County, it’s not good for Ohio and it’s not good for the United States.”

Opponents of SB52 believe that they can turn the tide by providing honest information about renewable energy, while proponents of the bill believe that the concerns they are voicing about renewables and Birch Solar in particular are legitimate.

One supporter of the bill, Jim Thompson III, who started a Facebook group in opposition to Birch Solar that has amassed more than 1,400 group members, said that it’s not about opposing renewable energy, but making sure that everyone has a fair chance to share their opinion.

“We’re not against renewable energy at all,” Thompson said. “But there are not local controls to take into account the health, welfare and enjoyment of one’s property. LightsourceBP has been less than honest with us, and that’s disappointing.”

While SB52 is still in committee, a vote on the bill is expected sometime in the summer months.

Source:  By Trevor Hubert | The Lima News | May 28, 2021 | www.limaohio.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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