COLUMBUS – A solar/wind location bill introduced by two area state legislators was signed into law Monday afternoon by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
Senate Bill 52 (SB 52), introduced by 1st District Sen. Rob McColley of Napoleon, was passed by the Ohio General Assembly on June 29. House Bill 118, introduced by 82nd House District Rep. Craig Riedel of Defiance, had been merged into SB 52.
The legislation will go into effect on Oct. 10 – 90 days after the governor’s signature – and gives local officials more say on where solar fields and wind farms may go.
“I’m very happy personally that the governor signed it, and I know for certain there are many, many Ohioans that feel the same way,” said Riedel Monday afternoon. “I’ve had people already reach out to me today and said they heard the governor signed it and they’re very happy to hear it.”
He noted that since passage 25-35 people have contacted him showing their approval. This includes people from outside his district, Riedel said.
Under SB 52, when a solar or wind project is proposed, county commissioners must convene a public hearing with the developer 90 days before an application is made to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB).
County commissioners have 90 days to make a decision on the project, with several options available:
• pass a resolution denying a project. This would be subject to a possible referendum by all county voters.
• pass a resolution approving a project, but seeking to reduce the development’s size within the footprint. This could be subject to a countywide referendum.
• do nothing, thus allowing the project to proceed. This does not have a referendum option.
SB52 also adds two voting ad-hoc members to the OPSB, increasing the board from 11 to 13 members.
The board presently is composed of seven voting members (Jennifer French, PUCO chair; Gregory Murphy, public member; Mary Mertz, Ohio DNR director; Stephanie McCloud, Ohio Department of Health director, Laurie Stevenson, Ohio EPA director; Lydia Mihalik, Ohio Development Services Agency director; and Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture director) and four non-voting members (31st District Sen. Jay Hottinger, 57th District Rep. Dick Stein; 15th District Rep. Jeffrey Crossman and 21st District Sen. Sandra Williams).
All the area’s legislators – McColley, Riedel, 81st House District Rep. Jim Hoops of Napoleon, 47th House District Rep. Derek Merrin of Maumee and 2nd District Sen. Theresa Gavarone of Bowling Green – voted for SB 52.
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