Library from Michigan
It started as a request for a county-wide wind turbine zoning ordinance to battle a proposed DTE wind farm in the four northwest townships.
The Stanton Township Board imposed a nine-month moratorium on construction for a proposed wind turbine project at its meeting Wednesday. Stanton Township Supervisor Marty Rajala said the moratorium would buy time until the township could complete a resident survey gauging their opinion of the Scotia Wind project, which would include 12 575-foot turbines in Adams and Stanton townships near Whealkate Bluff. The board approved sending the survey to every registered voter in the township.
Permits for the proposed wind turbine project in Adams and Stanton townships have been denied by the state over concerns of harm to wildlife, including bat and eagle populations, and wetlands. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division (WRD) determined the Scotia Wind project did not benefit the public enough to outweigh potential impact to wildlife and wetlands at the site.
Dan and Nancy Welke live in Merrill, Lafayette Township, where they say they have one turbine less than 1,600 feet from their home and another one about 2,600 feet away. They say they have been “battling” with DTE Energy and Gratiot County officials for the last year and a half regarding the negative effects of the turbines. Nancy called the ongoing experience “a living hell.”
Additionally, the mines that produce some of the other key materials needed for solar infrastructure are in countries without stringent environmental and labor standards. Much of China’s polysilicon production occurs in its northwestern provinces, including Xinjiang, which human rights advocates have strongly criticized for its systemic detention and abuse of the Uyghur people. Sadly, solar is not the only form of renewable energy tainted by its association with this region. The supply chain of China’s wind energy industry is tied to forced labor there as well.
Pine Township officials mailed out 950 wind energy surveys with 13 questions to township landowners and received 311 surveys back. The Daily News submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the surveys, for which the newspaper was charged $62.50.
Township-wide zoning might be necessary to give the township more say over the direction of a wind farm project proposed in Adams and Stanton townships, Stanton Township Supervisor John Mattila said at Wednesday’s township board meeting. Stanton Township has been exploring a police power ordinance similar to that in place in Adams Township. The Circle Power project would include 12 575-foot turbines, four in Adams Township and eight in Stanton Township.
"We are not against green energy, clean energy—any of that at all. We support that," said Erik Benko. "But what we are all concerned is that this company wants to build 600-foot industrial turbines 1,200 feet from our homes. There is a place for this, and it’s away from people."
An estimated 80 people packed into the small township hall in Amble to listen and voice their opinions on wind and solar ordinances during a standing-room-only meeting. Attendees stood up high on window ledges inside the hot and humid building and lined up out the door and down the ramp where loud traffic from M-46 made it difficult to hear.
The STC has changed the formula for taxing wind turbines twice, in 2011 and again in 2014, after initially approving guidelines in 2007 that “was deemed acceptable to everyone,” County Administrator Tracey Cordes stated in a memo sent to county commissioners in March. ...If the decision stands, Gratiot County could be on the hook to repay more than $3 million in overcharged taxes and reduce future expected revenue, including a reduction in five countywide millages – Commission on Aging, sheriff’s road patrol, parks and recreation, library and economic/agriculture.
Following a public hearing that featured a near-constant theme of complaints from area residents over the prospect of wind turbines making their way to this township, a moratorium on any such developments was approved in unanimous fashion.
“I’m here today because I would like to see your community avoid the devastating effects of wind farm development,” said Stevens who became emotional as he spoke. He read a lengthy statement, portions of which he had also previously emailed the Daily News. ...“But the greatest loss is the community and the sense of a better future,” Stevens wrote. “The community-wide hard feelings are thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. I have former friends and relatives I will never speak to again. No one will volunteer for town, school or church events because they wish to avoid uncomfortable interactions. If you ask township officials, they will say everything is great. They don’t want to admit they burned down the town with their greed and ignorance and corruption.”
A Public Hearing was held on June 3, 2021 and there were many from the community that came to express their thoughts on setbacks and the Montcalm County Wind Project.
Developers coming into the county do not have the residents best interest in mind. They have only one thing in mind — profits. Our county leaders need look no further back than the first few years of Battle Creek Landfill’s operations to learn that lesson. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself. If it does, Page County taxpayers may once again spend decades paying off prior mistakes that were touted to bring great financial prosperity to our rural county.
A bill introduced by Republican Senators Curt VanderWall (R-MI 35), Kevin Daley (R-MI 31), and Dan Lauwers (R- MI 25) would place a less aggressive valuation table into law instead of leaving it to the Tax Commission to decide, and the table would be retroactive except for cases where appeals have already been decided.
DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP — The kettle has been simmering and bubbling for six months now in Douglass Township.
Despite repeated requests from residents, the Pine Township Board on Monday declined to take any action on placing a temporary moratorium on wind permits, on saying whether they would be updating the township’s wind ordinance or on allowing a spokesperson with turbine concerns to be scheduled to speak at a future meeting.
The Maple Valley Township Board voted 4-0 on Monday night — with new Trustee Benjamin Newell abstaining due to his lease with Apex Clean Energy — to rescind their recently approved controversial wind ordinance, to rescind approval of a ballot question regarding the wind ordinance and to place a six-month moratorium on any wind activity in the township.
On Aug. 5, 2020, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to review and amend the township’s wind ordinance after Apex Clean Energy, a wind energy company based in Charlottesville, Virginia, expressed interest in Montcalm County as the host of its next potential commercial wind farm. Earlier that year, Karnatz signed a development-phase lease agreement with Apex, which pays property owners an unspecified amount per acre annually.
An interim zoning ordinance put in place by the Township of Benton blocked the construction of a large-scale solar array, proposed by the Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC (“Sandstone”). ...The court went on to explain that the legislative purpose of interim ordinance is “[t]o protect the public health, safety, and general welfare … during the period required for the preparation and enactment of an initial zoning ordinance,” and for this purpose interim ordinances are allowed to take immediate effect. Such purpose would not be fulfilled if interim ordinances could be automatically suspended upon the filing of a referendum petition.