Articles from Michigan
“If someone got a judgment that windmills contributed to some adverse health effects people suffered, I would think that would be a pretty significant ruling,” said Ross Hammersley, a Traverse City attorney with Olson, Bzdok & Howard who specializes in environmental and real estate law. Hammersley, who is not involved in the case, reviewed some of the court filings for Midwest Energy News.
BARAGA TOWNSHIP — The Township Board appointed Susan Durham as a new member of the planning commission at the meeting on Tuesday evening.
BAD AXE -- Huron County planners are frowning upon the use of the term "wind park" by wind developers.
After residents and officials spent several years debating whether or not wind turbines are good for the county, voters turned down additional development in Sherman, Sigel, Sand Beach, Lincoln, Dwight and Bloomfield townships in May. The referendums for wind energy overlay zones proposed by NextEra Energy Resources and DTE Energy failed in county-zoned municipalities by a 2 to 1 margin.
On Saturday morning, the Juniata Township Planning Commission planned a Public Hearing for Special Land Use Permits (SLUP) for the Pegasus Wind Center. The meeting was to be held in a tent outside in the snowy winter weather at 9am with two tall propane heaters on the grass in the center of the tent.
Some were upset the commission decided to hold the hearing in a tent on a cold and snowy December day and speculated it was done to diminish the turnout.
Several Garden Peninsula residents attended the commission’s meeting to share their thoughts on the plans. Among them were people who had issues with the proposed placements of some of Heritage’s new wind turbines — and the impact turbine setbacks could have on their own properties. “I think you need to revisit your setback requirements,” Fairbanks Township resident Larry Kelly said.
BURNSIDE TWP. — Officials at DTE Energy claim proposed amendments to Burnside Township’s wind ordinance “indicate a bias against wind energy development,” and are restrictive enough to exclude the 499- foot industrial machines “entirely from the township.”
A federal judge recently dealt a blow to big wind development in a Tuscola County township. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources sued Almer Township in U.S. District Court in February alleging that the township's Board of Trustees had systematically tried to prevent the development of a wind farm.
It could be the calm before the storm. News that property owners in Burlington and North Branch townships have signed easement agreements for wind energy development, recent developments have prompted Arcadia Township officials to begin considering a wind turbine ordinance of their own.
A costly legal war over wind turbines in northern Lapeer County is such a sure bet that an insurance agent told the Burnside Township Board of Trustees Monday he won’t run the risk of writing an insurance policy for the municipality. ...“Now I know why I’m here,” Lansky told the board, later adding “you guys are getting in deeper and deeper water, and I don’t know if you can bail yourselves out regardless of the decisions that you make.”
DTE Energy on Tuesday announced plans for a dramatic transformation of its power generation. $15B proposal would dramatically increase use of natural gas, wind power
The plans for wind turbines in Northeast Lapeer County are moving forward. Whether it was to simply learn or to express their opposition, a number of concerned residents came out to Monday evening's Burnside Township Board Meeting.
“The residents of Lapeer County and the state of Michigan are strapped with an agreement that was made between our former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Edison (DTE), and Consumers Power following a statewide vote of the people to allow for 10 percent of all energy produced in the state of Michigan to be generated to be generated with a renewable energy,” Roy said in his statement. “Unfortunately, people did not realize that even though we have enough energy it would have to be reduced to allow for the renewable 10 percent solar and wind.”
Since April, DTE Electric Company has recorded easements on 276 parcels of agricultural property in Branch County for the purpose of evaluation for wind farm developments. Atwell Engineering, as agents for DTE, has negotiated and recorded documents from 59 property owners mostly in Union, Sherwood and Matteson Townships.
Editor's note: Windaction has been informed by parties in Michigan that this mediation step was ordered and completed more than a month before this article was filed by the Associated Press. No agreement was reached in mediation. Almer Township contends that a permit was denied due to NextEra's failure to meet the requirements in law. A hearing before the court was held in September and the parties are awaiting a final decision by the judge.
NORTH BRANCH TWP. — North Branch Township resident Traci Martin did not expect to spend last week doing things like securing folding chairs and tables, finding a microphone and podium, and figuring out how she might feed as many as 500 people.
Some members of the Huron County Planning Commission are disappointed in a recent wind energy zoning report from Michigan State University Extension. ...Planner Ken Walker called the report "very one-sided." "This is not independent," he said. "To me, it's useless."
Another blade break in Michigan.
Although a wind turbine manufacturer has denied the Huron County Planning Commission's request for access to a safety manual, some planners still want specific information contained in the manual. Residents and planning officials are concerned that turbine manufacturer Vestas and Sempra Renewables, owner of the Apple Blossom wind park, are trying to hide something by not making the manual accessible.