Like many of us, I have lived most of my life in Northwest Ohio, although most of my time so far was in Seneca County. I enjoyed the small town and rural environment that it has to offer, but as life happened, I enlisted in the United States Navy Nuclear Power Program in 2010. I kept up with friends and family back home from several states away, but towards the final years of my service, one issue was standing out more than most as I was seeking to come back home: industrial wind turbines. Undoubtedly this would have a large impact on where I wanted to return to, so I took it upon myself to look into the issue.
Given my background at the time, I had first hand experience about the importance of safe and reliable energy while operating reactor systems in both foreign and domestic waters, to include those designated as combat areas, inside of an Ohio Class guided missile submarine. The lives of everyone on board depended on the ability of everyone else to operate said systems for months at a time while sealed underwater and out of sight of the rest of the world. Our national security interests were also heavily dependent on maintaining public trust from not only our home port, but other nations as well while operating nuclear powered vessels in a high stress and often times unpredictable environment. Lapses in personal integrity were not tolerated, and those who did not demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity were removed from the program in short order. As an avid outdoorsman, I also have a strong interest in being a good steward to our local environment. I want to ensure clean water for kayaking, swimming, and knowing that the fish I catch are safe to eat. I also want ample habitat for abundant and healthy wildlife whether I am feeding my family with fresh venison, or just out sight seeing, but the more I looked into the issue, I wasn’t liking what I was seeing.
In spring of 2021, my opportunity to come home arrived, and I now reside in Crawford County where the same issue is being debated. Looking into the issue further, I saw that the proposed Honey Creek turbines are to be about 650 feet tall. On top of that, there are to be about 60 or more of these structures that will cover most of the northern half of the county. I have no problem with the concept of wind or solar energy, such as solar panels installed on a roof, residential sized windmills, or even the 2 Wynford turbines. A project of this magnitude on the other hand, I cannot support in a rural, yet residential setting. Although Crawford County is very agricultural, this is not where your nearest neighbor is several miles away. I very much respect the rights of landowners to try and increase their income by use of their land, and to do as they please with their land so long as it does not harm others, but these structures will impact far more than the people signing up for them.
The question has been raised if the ground in the proposed area is sturdy enough to support said structures. Although Apex representatives say yes, area roadways have been closed in years past due to sinkhole concerns without the weight of a 650 foot structure on them. Not a far drive off, you can tour one of these sinkholes in a familiar place called Seneca Caverns. The machinery required to transport and build these structures will undoubtedly cause damage to roadways and have implications for travel through the county. A presentation in a recent community event from 2 women from Missouri that live in such a project showed attendees personal photos of the remaining damage to roadways and shoddy repairs after the project was completed. Apex representatives have also claimed that these machines pose little risk to wildlife, yet NextEra Energy recently entered a guilty plea to killing 150 bald eagles, along with paying an 8 million dollar fine. Add on the concerns of noise, shadow flicker, and possible groundwater concerns, the consequences of this project are far more than whether or not you enjoy looking at these structures. Our way of life would change from a quiet, rural setting to being in the middle of the tallest industrial wind complex in the country.
Recently, Ohio passed a bill that gives more control to local communities in regards to projects like Honey Creek Wind. County Commissioners have the opportunity to declare the county as restricted for large scale development, but those in favor of the project would have the opportunity to petition for a referendum vote that all Crawford County voters would have a say in. Apex has also made the false claim in a recent radio ad that declaring a restricted area would ban wind power in the county, but this is not true. It would still allow for small scale projects such as the Wynford turbines up to 20 megawatts for those who want them, but without giving excessive financial control of the county to an out of state developer such as Apex, or impeding on the rights of property owners who do not want these structures. Whether for or against this project, this decision is one that will affect all residents for decades. For many residents, this decision will last for the rest of their lives. I know this is a difficult decision for our elected officials, but you have been elected to serve the residents of Crawford County, not an out of state corporate entity. All residents deserve to have their say in this issue whether for or against the project, and the path forward to that goal is to declare Crawford County as restricted and allow the opportunity for a referendum vote. Thank you for your consideration.
980 Victoria Dr, Bucyrus
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