Wind farm opponents form PAC as they prepare for a ballot battle this fall
Credit: Anticipating a vote on wind farms this fall, opponents form PAC | Crawford Anti-Wind members form PAC in preparation for ballot battle | Gere Goble | Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum | July 14, 2022 | www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com ~~
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A grassroots group formed to oppose the construction of an industrial wind farm in Crawford County is preparing for a ballot issue battle this fall.
Members of Crawford Anti-Wind have formed the Crawford Neighbors United political action committee, said Steve Hall, the new PAC’s treasurer.
“If you are going to influence an election, you have to actually file paperwork with the secretary of state and become a political action committee,” he said. “So we’re being pro-active – in case this becomes a ballot issue, then we are a ballot issue committee officially by the state.”
On May 5, Crawford County commissioners passed a resolution blocking wind farm development in all unincorporated areas of the county, effectively barring construction of Honey Creek Wind, Apex Clean Energy’s planned 300-megawatt industrial wind farm.
But under the terms of Senate Bill 52, which became law a year ago, wind farm supporters had until June 6 to submit petitions signed by 1,181 registered voters to force a November referendum vote on the issue, which could overturn the commissioners’ action.
Honey Creek Action – a political action committee supported by Apex – submitted petitions signed by 2,604 people. Those signatures are in the process of being verified by the Crawford County Board of Elections. The board will vote on whether to certify the petitions at its August meeting.
“It’s pretty likely going to go on the ballot; I can’t imagine that the signatures they have, that many of them are invalid,” Hall said.
So Crawford Neighbors United was formed.
“We’re going to pretty much do the same thing we’ve been doing – educating the public about turbines,” Hall said. “Obviously, once we know what the issue wording is, we’ll be making sure people know how to vote on it, if they’re for or against turbines. And advertisements, things like that.”
Hall said he’s been a member of the anti-wind group for about a year. Since he’s a math teacher and has worked as an accountant, he was asked to serve as the PAC’s treasurer. The organization doesn’t have any other formal leadership, he explained – though certain members organize most of the group’s efforts.
“It was fine for our group not to be a PAC in the beginning, because there was no potential election at the time,” he said.
Group offers information online
Hall said people who want to learn more about why the group’s members oppose wind turbine development in the county can find information online – Crawford Anti-Wind has both a Facebook page and a website, crawfordantiwind.com.
“There’s lots of information on there, links to studies, all kinds of things for people to get the other side of the story – there’s always two sides of a story,” Hall said.
“Apex has one thing, and that’s throw around money. That’s what they can do. And that’s what they do,” he said. “And unfortunately, some people are willing to sell Crawford County for that money. But the people that have to live around it are the ones who are definitely opposed to it.”
Crawford Neighbors United is accepting financial contributions to its fight.
“If they want to make a donation, a check is the best way. It’s the safest way,” Hall said. “You could send up to $100 cash, but if you’re going to send anything in the mail, I don’t suggest cash.”
Checks should be made payable to Crawford Neighbors United and mailed to 5474 Parks Road, Bucyrus, OH 44820, he said.
Hall estimated that at least 70% of the people he’s talked to in Holmes and Lykens townships are opposed to this project.
“People can make up their own mind,” he said. “But most of the people, once they do the investigating, they’re not for them.”
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