Articles filed under Legal from Ohio
“We conclude the (wildlife) service failed to comply with its NEPA obligations when it failed to consider an economically feasible alternative that would take fewer bats than Buckeye’s proposal, and we reverse the district court on that point,” [Circuit Judge Robert L.] Wilkins stated.
A U.S. Appeals Court ruling provided mixed results for a proposed wind farm in Champaign County. ...The court ruled that the federal agency used the correct standard to show Everpower minimized the impact but failed to consider other alternatives that would have led to fewer bats killed.
The court’s majority found opponents failed to demonstrate the board’s action was unreasonable or unlawful. Justices Sharon Kennedy and Paul Pfeifer dissented.
In her dissent, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote that the court disregarded evidence of a “blade throw” at a Paulding County wind farm in 2012 in which part of a 6.5-pound chunk of a failed turbine blade flew 764 feet.
The group fighting a proposed wind farm in southern Huron County near Greenwich has filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. The appeal seems to be the only route left to fight the proposed Greenwich Windpark LLC project, which seeks to set up about two dozen wind turbines, said Kevin Ledet, chairman of Greenwich Neighbors United.
But members of Union Neighbors United, a group that has fought the project for several years, are appealing that decision to the Ohio Supreme Court. Court documents filed last month show UNU is arguing the OPSB and project developers did not follow the proper procedures when seeking an extension. They also argue Everpower failed to prove the extension was necessary. Officials from Buckeye had argued an extension was needed, in part because ongoing litigation delayed the project.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled a federal agency was within its rights when it issued a take permit to a proposed Champaign County wind farm that critics said could harm an endangered bat.
In their request for re-hearing, attorneys for UNU argued Everpower should have been required to file a request to amend the certificate, a more lengthy process that would have allowed for public comment and testimony. The request also argued the siting board lacks the authority to approve the extension through a motion submitted to the board.
Following the denial of the requests, the residents now have 60 days to decide if they wish to file an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. Objections to the project included: lack of consideration of the endangered Indiana brown bat; inadequate setbacks from neighboring properties, shadow flicker issues, noise concerns and a belief that residents of the six townships involved should be able to vote on the proposal.
The Ohio Power Siting Board denied a request Monday that would have allowed Champaign County prosecutors to present evidence about proposed changes in the first phase of the Buckeye Wind Project. The county will decide whether to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.
An opponent of the proposed Buckeye Wind farm in Champaign County says in a new Ohio Supreme Court filing that it should not be built because the provision that justified it in Ohio’s renewable energy law is unconstitutional.
The Washington, D.C.-based public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal earlier this month sent a notice of intent to sue the Ohio Air National Guard, challenging the results of an environmental assessment of the project and a subsequent finding of no significant impact (FONSI) released in August that cleared the way for the turbine to be built. The two groups say the Air National Guard skirted federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, by not properly analyzing the impacts on a host of sensitive avian species.
Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the American Bird Conservancy, a leading national organization, accused the National Guard of circumventing the environmental review process and of violating the federal Endangered Species Act. The Black Swamp group has long opposed the wind turbine plan, maintaining it would threaten millions of birds and bats that pass over the lake during the spring and fall migrations.
State officials listened to evidence Monday on Buckeye Wind’s request to amend portions of its certificate for the first phase of the Buckeye Wind farm. Officials from the company are seeking to relocate a substation within the same parcel, relocate four access roads, re-size two construction yards and install some collection lines.
Two Ottawa County wind turbine projects are proceeding despite protests from birders and warnings about the risk to bald eagles and endangered birds. The towers, a 198-foot, $1.5 million federally funded turbine to be installed at Camp Perry and a roughly 325-foot tower recently erected at the nearby Lake Erie Business Park, are unrelated but have united opponents, who contend whirling blades don’t belong in the migratory bird region along the lake shore.
Champaign County prosecutors listed several concerns in their appeal of the second phase of the project. They include arguments that the state did not allow the county and townships a meaningful chance to cross-examine experts who testified about parts of the project’s application. Prosecutors also raised concerns that the state board should have required the wind company to meet manufacturer’s recommendations for setbacks from homes and property lines.
A state board made three key errors when it approved a plan for nearly 50 wind turbines in eastern Champaign County, according to an appeal county officials filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Champaign County commissioners will appeal a recent state decision to approve the Buckeye Wind Project, saying the county will contest parts of the decision, including setbacks, use of roads and bridges and decommissioning.
Union Neighbors United, a group of residents opposed to the project, will have to evaluate the case further and decide on the best option, said Chris Walker, an attorney for the group. Robert McConnell, a member of UNU, said he wants to take the fight as far as it can go. “We’re in it for the long haul, and the next step is the Supreme Court, and that’s where we’ll be going,” McConnell said.
Opponents of the project, which would feature 91 wind turbines spread across 24,200 acres in Richland and Crawford counties, have claimed there is inadequate financial protection if the turbines are decommissioned and that there is no record of how much it would cost to remove the decommissioned turbines, among other technical legal points.