HURON COUNTY — Of the many pieces of correspondence sent to the county in response to the public hearing for Detroit Edison’s requested wind energy overlay district, the one that garnered the most fervent reaction came from a government body.
All members of the Lincoln Township Board of Trustees signed a letter dated March 16 in opposition to the proposed overlay.
“We feel that Huron County has done our part as far as Green Energy. We feel that no additional turbines should be allowed in Huron County,” the letter succinctly states.
In response, both DTE representatives and opponents of the wind overlay district have asked to be included on the agenda for the township’s next regular meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Lincoln Township Supervisor Melvin Drake said.
“We’re anticipating a full house,” he said.
Drake, who attended the public hearing, said the board drafted the letter during its last regular board meeting on March 14. Clerk Irvin Kanaski then took the official copy, which was written on Lincoln Township letterhead, to each board member for his or her signature.
Drake said the board discussed the proposed overlay during the meeting and decided, as a body, to voice their concerns.
“I think DTE has a moral obligation to look at this before they put more up,” he said.
During his presentation at the public hearing, DTE representative Matt Wagner said the company was surprised to learn about the letter because some of the Lincoln Township board members have contracts with DTE and have received regular payments for their participation.
“Please understand that while opinions may vary and minds may change, the commitment by contract is essential for developing a wind energy project, or any project for that matter. I think all in the room understand that. Consequently, DTE must make plans and operate on the basis of contracts,” he said.
Lincoln Township resident Craig Lehrke sided with his township board during the public hearing. He said the proposed overlay district would infringe on the rights of people who do not own large parcels of land.
“I have no say whatsoever in these turbines. Nobody asked me if I want to sign a lease or have access or whether or not my neighbor signs a lease. All of the sudden one day, I wake up, and I have a turbine being built a thousand feet in front of my house,” he said. “I moved out to the country to get away from the city, and I don’t want to live in an industrial area.”
Dennis White, who also lives in Lincoln Township, said he supports DTE’s request and was surprised by the letter
“I wasn’t even aware, as a township member, that there was even anything discussed in our township about this,” he said before concluding to a round of applause.