For Corey Orewiler, the race for the Republican nomination for Crawford County commissioner is about protecting a way of life he treasures.
Orewiler, 2850 Spore Brandywine Road, one of three candidates in the race, said he’s concerned about development of Apex Clean Energy’s Honey Creek Wind, a proposed 300-megawatt wind farm in the northern half of Crawford County. A company representative has said it would include about 60 wind turbines, each projected to be about 600 feet tall.
“Basically, I’m doing this to save my house, because if we end up with one in my backyard, we’re going to move,” Orewiler said. “We’re not staying around here. And I don’t want to move. I worked 30 years and retired to build what I have. I grew up, I was born and raised a mile from where I live, and my parents still live down there, a mile away from me. And I just love this area. I mean, it’s not something I want to give up.”
He loves the peace and tranquility where he lives, and natural beauty and the way all of the neighbors get along.
“The main reason I bought where I did is I grew up here and I love it here … I’m running because I don’t want to lose what I have,” he said.
Ley, Wolfe also seeking nomination
His opponents in the Republican May 3 primary are the incumbent, Tim Ley, 3365 Stephenie Drive, who is seeking a second term on the Crawford County Board of Commissioners, and Dale Wolfe, 3865 Knauss Road. No Democrats filed in the race. Any independent candidates considering a run have until May 2 to file petitions with the Crawford County Board of Elections.
Orewiler, 53, graduated from Wynford High School in 1987. He worked at Timken Co. for 30 years, retiring in 2018. His father worked there for 36 years, he said, while his mother was a stay-at-home mom. He and his wife, Monica, have been married 11 years. He also has a stepdaughter, Anna.
Orewiler said he registered to run after attending a Crawford-Seneca Anti Wind informational meeting in January at Wayside Chapel in Bucyrus.
“Basically, I did not like the way things were looking as far as these wind turbines were going,” Orewiler said.
At the meeting, he heard about Senate Bill 52, which became law last year. The bill significantly changed Ohio’s laws governing siting requirements for industrial solar and wind projects, giving county commissioners the ability to prevent Ohio Power Siting Board certification of certain wind and solar facilities. He also learned about the Crawford Partnership’s Crawford Vision 2030, the development group’s roadmap for improving the county, he said.
“With these turbines and everything, I don’t see that happening,” Orewiler said. “I only see it as hurting what they want to accomplish. I have not talked with any of that group or anything, so I don’t know where they stand on these, but that’s just how I felt about it. And also after you know viewing these maps and everything, I could have one of these turbines in my back yard, and I do not want that. So I thought well, one of the biggest ways to help the anti-wind is to actually run for commissioner. So that’s pretty much why I ended up running.”
‘It’s industrializing the rural community’
Industrial wind development should be restricted in the entire county, he said.
“I think there is a place for these wind turbines, but not in a rural populated community,” Orewiler said. “They can call them wind farms and try to get away with it, but it is, as far as I’m concerned, it’s industrializing the rural community.”
He said he’s concerned that the large bases required to support the turbines could disrupt the water table, particularly in areas of the county with karst topography.
He cited a 2007 incident, when a section of Ohio 19 near Bloomville was closed for an extended period because of a large sinkhole attributed to karst topography.
According to the National Park Service website, karst exists where soluble bedrock such as limestone, marble and gypsum has partially dissolved. Water falling on the surface flows in through cracks and fractures, dissolving the stone. Karst is associated with sinkholes, sinking streams, caves or springs.
Also, many of the wells in the area are only 20 to 30 feet deep, he said.
He’s said he’s also concerned about potential adverse health risks that opponents claim could affect residents, autistic children and animals; and the bird and bat kills associated with the turbines.
“There is also the audible and inaudible noise these turbines make,” Orewiler said. “I have taken trips to Blue Creek and Hog Creek wind farms and have videos of the noise and it’s not something I want to listen to every day. There is also the loss of property values. There are a lot of people that have worked their whole life to get what they have and do not want to lose on their investment.”
Other issues he’d like to investigate further if elected include rural flooding and annexation, he said.
“Basically, I am no politician by any means,” Orewiler said. “I have no government background, but that would not keep me from learning. I’m not afraid of a challenge … backing down from a challenge is just not something I would do. …
“As a conservative Republican, I want to look out for the future of Crawford County and do what’s best for the residents of Crawford County and the growth of Crawford County.”
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