L’ANSE TOWNSHIP — The L’Anse Township Planning Commission hosted a public forum on Thursday featuring a presentation by Kevon Martis, who spoke with community members about the wind farm proposed by the Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Group.
Martis is the former vice chairman for the Riga Township Planning Commission and a senior policy fellow for E&E Legal Institute, as well as the director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition (IICC).
Martis spoke at the American Legion in L’Anse to an audience of around 70 people, who were looking to understand more about the projected wind farm, with many of them against it.
Martis’ goal was to inform the public of the zoning process and how the wind turbines might affect them. He told of personal examples from people whose towns were taken over by wind farms and caused problems in those areas.
“I’m hoping people understand that the rights and obligations are under the Michigan Zoning Act (MZEA), they have the ability to regulate this installation as they see fit, and that a lot of the claims of the wind industry don’t often come out to be as accurate as they want you to believe.”
Some of the other things mentioned in the presentation were noise wind turbines will produce, height, concern of harm to wildlife, obstruction of view of those who would live nearby a turbine, the false economic benefits and the effects on energy rates.
He showed a map where the projected 133 turbine wind farm would be, as well as other collected data he had to back up his claims of the negative impacts caused by the farm.
“I’m not here to tell you what to do with your township,” said Martis.
He said he was offering his own opinion, and he wanted people to make their own conclusions.
Martis stressed the idea of the community having the say-so on ordinances which will allow it to reject the wind farm project.
With the community’s input, Martis said, he is sure the project will not be completed, which was met with a round of applause by the audience.
Community member Tim Usimaki said he attended out his concern for the farm’s impact on the natural resources and started doing his own research prior to the meeting.
“It was very informative, and I am hoping that this thing doesn’t happen,” he said. “I don’t think we need it in the community. It’s not going to bring any benefit to our community.”
Usimaki also expressed his happiness for the township’s zoning ordinance having restrictions and the final say in the fate of the project. Because of that, he said, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Mason Sorenson, RES director, was also in attendance and introduced himself to the public. Sorenson suggested the community attend the RES Group’s open house on Feb. 21 from 6-8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall to discuss further information.
He encouraged community members to do their own research and accept everything said Thursday at face value.