Articles from Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS — Some Hoosiers say the state needs to regulate how and where companies can build wind turbines.
Concerns are growing about potential ethics violations by wind companies and some county officials who approve their projects. Thursday, a bill designed to address those issues is gaining support from state representative Heath VanNatter, the House’s vice chair for the Utilities and Energy Committee.
As of this writing, local wind turbine projects seem to have run their course with local decision-makers. A lawsuit is still working its way through the system to clarify whether or not those boards ever had authority to give a green light to the power producers in the first place.
Roughly nine months after their decision effectively hampering a proposed wind farm project in Rush County, the Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals will again decide on a permit application from the company working on that project.
“We have found that having planning and zoning is the best way to stop wind farms,” Hoffman said after the meeting. “Many counties use (planning and zoning) to stop wind farms.” The petition contained signatures from approximately 35 northern Montgomery County residents. Commissioners accepted the petition without comment.
The denial means that NextEra and Apex will have to start from scratch with the Planning Commission in the approval process, should they wish to pursue a CAU again.
The Henry County Area Plan Commission, during its meeting Thursday night, effectively denied a year extension which had been requested by NextEra Energy Resources in regard to the West Fork Wind Project, along with denying a year extension for Apex Clean Energy concerning its Flat Rock Wind Project.
A meeting has yet to be scheduled for the committee this summer, but when they do meet, they are charged with specifically studying the construction of wind power devices in Indiana, along with the health effects, public safety implications, issues of property valuation, policies defining conflicts of interest and issues concerning economic development.
A landowner has the right to install a wind turbine or anything else on his property but he has the responsibility to make sure it doesn’t harm his neighbors. Scientific studies suggest that low-frequency noise from wind turbines, for example, may make people sick ...If that turns out to be true, the landowner should be forced to take steps to prevent such harm,
Judge Linda Ralu Wolf of Delaware Circuit Court No. 3 will replace Henry Circuit Court 1 Judge Bob Witham regarding two court suits that claim the Henry County Planning Commission failed to give proper notice in October 2009 of the public hearing for a new proposed wind energy conversion system (WECS) ordinance.
Residents are speaking out against a pair of proposed wind farms north of Crawfordsville. A group called No Wind Farm Montgomery County says the projects are too close to neighboring homes and pose risks to public health and the environment.
The state’s highest court ruled May 25 to deny a request from Flat Rock Wind, LLC. – also known as Apex Clean Energy – to hear the case of the company’s appeal of the decision, made earlier this year by the Indiana Court of Appeals, upholding a Rush County judge’s decision that the Rush County Area Board of Zoning Appeals was within its right to enact a 2,300-foot setback distance for industrial wind turbines in the proposed Flat Rock Wind Farm.
NextEra’s next hurdle is getting the planning commission to grant an extension for a Commission Approved Use (CAU) that is already in place. During a May 18 meeting, the planning commission did not have enough votes to approve or deny a request for a second one-year extension.
The Henry County Planning Commission did not have enough votes either way at the most recent meeting to approve or deny requests from two separate wind farm companies who wanted a second one-year extension of the commission-approved uses (CAUs) that will let each company continue to develop their industrial wind turbine projects in the southern part of the county.
Faulstich believes the utility violated its contract approved in 2015 with the farm because the barn is located within the easement for the power line. He fears beef cattle will be harmed by static electricity, noting that he sometimes gets shocked when he touches equipment because of existing power lines. The 24-year-old said the utility has refused to admit the line is being built too close to the barn.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Henry County Planning Commission did not have enough votes either way Thursday night to approve or deny requests from two wind farm companies who wanted a second one-year extension of the commission-approved uses (CAUs) that will let each company continue to develop their industrial wind turbine projects in the southern part of the county. The planning commission intends to discuss and possibly re-vote on the issue at its June meeting. More information about that will appear in Tuesday’s paper.
“After review of the documentation received, the appearance of procedural errors is present, while the question of good governance is also raised,” Elmore said. “The public deserves to be aware of a some questionable emails, concerning appointed or elected officials using the Planning Commission as a liaison for their personal business.”
A group of Henry County residents and property owners concerned about the local development of “wind farms” have drafted an alternative to the existing wind energy conversion system (WECS) ordinance. The group’s primary concerns are about the impact on quality of life, including the health and safety of local residents, property rights, future economic development and both the short- and long-term impact on county finances.
There is no danger of an area aquifer being polluted by a proposed wind energy project in Fayette, Henry and Rush counties.
“All of the representatives of the Federal and State agencies we have talked to so far have indicated to us they feel that the greatest risk to this aquifer is contamination by diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, other onsite chemicals or lubricants,” he added. “Also, surface water runoff into open pit construction sites is a major concern and a possible source of contamination ... we were shocked to learn that no studies or special permits were needed to construct wind turbines on top of this aquifer.”