Seneca County Commissioners commend power siting board on wind project denial
[Tiffin, OH — June 25, 2021] – The Seneca County Commissioners are applauding the decision of a state board today that has effectively stopped a major industrial wind turbine project proposed for the area.
The Ohio Power Siting Board Thursday afternoon unanimously voted to deny a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Republic Wind project.
“After years of countless debates, public meetings and correspondence with state elected officials; the voices of our citizens have finally been heard,” said Board President Mike Kerschner.
Commissioner Anthony Paradiso gave credit to the people of Seneca County who refused to allow their voices and opinions to be ignored.
“The folks at the OPSB said that the sheer quantity of public comments and the overwhelming participation from our citizens were both major factors in this decision,” he said.
Commissioner Tyler Shuff applauded local citizens and the Seneca Anti-Wind Union for their work in fighting the project, but also made note of two other factors remarked upon by the OPSB: unanimous local government opposition and potential geological ramifications.
Over the past few years, the commissioners have penned several letters and resolutions, participated in events and testified in front of state officials in efforts to amplify the voices of concerned local residents.
In February, the board wrote to Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Robert Cupp in a support of Senate Bill 52, which at the time would have provided a local vote on alternative energy projects. The letter states, “When we first began to learn about the process for approval of these major projects, we were surprised that there was no mechanism for direct zoning authority offered to local governments or, most importantly, to citizens who live near the footprint of these proposed projects … There have been countless debates on the merits of these projects, (but) one common theme has emerged: there is a troubling lack of local control afforded to those who could be impacted the most.”
A version of SB 52, which each of the commissioners supports, is being considered by state officials.
Kerschner said the OPSB’s Thursday decision is a step in the right direction when it comes to representing the will of the residents impacted the most by these major alternative energy projects.
“I am proud to be a member of this community, a place where people aren’t afraid to stand up and fight for what they believe in,” Shuff added.
Ohio Revised Code Section 4906.10(A)(6), states that the Power Siting Board shall not grant a certificate for construction if they do not determine that the facility will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
“It was clear to the siting board, and to all three commissioners, that this project did not serve the public
interest, convenience or necessity,” Kerschner said. “With that, we commend the OPSB for its due diligence.”