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If the county's public works board approves the lease, the wind-farm development team would pay the county for exclusive rights to research and investigate the suitability for constructing a large-scale wind farm, potentially 100 megawatts, on the county's wastewater site.
At a hearing Monday, Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe clarified her Aug. 15 ruling on a zoning appeal for the tower built last November on Arnold Highway. “Why the tower is still sitting, I don’t know,” Noe said. The township does not need to seek an injunction to require the tower removed for violating the zoning ordinance, she said.
Josh VanCamp, an Ogden resident and outspoken opponent of wind energy, said BWE was asking the township board to circumvent the process of regulation. "The township's not in the business of making deals with the wind company," said VanCamp. "To make a deal just because it accommodates their project is not fair to the residents."
A bill introduced last spring seeks to prohibit offshore wind in the Great Lakes. Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, is the primary sponsor ..."We don't believe the Great Lakes should be industrialized," said Jennifer Smeltzer, the legislative director for Franz. "Industrialized wind turbines in the Great Lakes affects shipping, it affects fishing."
Those opposed to the project have also expressed concern over potential health issues and the impact the turbines may have on local wildlife. Some say they have been requesting specifics on the project, from those involved with it, for more than a year and claim the concessions being made now are just a last ditch effort to keep the plan alive.
The state, through the Michigan Public Service Commission, drew $1.3 million out of its Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund to support the wind energy research. GVSU and its research partners from the University of Michigan and Wisconsin Energy used the state funds as a match for a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The courts earlier this summer ruled that the Public Service Commission did not have legislative authority.
A group of residents says at least half a dozen of the windmills are within falling distance of a gas line. And they say if a turbine falls it could cause a pipeline to break with the risk of an explosion. The pipes are buried four feet deep. Each turbine is nearly fifty stories tall.
Commissioners discussed creating a resolution asking the Huron County Planning Commission to consider revising the county's wind energy ordinance to include a number of factors, including a wind turbine setback of at least 3 miles from the shoreline. The revisions were proposed by 7th District Commissioner John A. Nugent.
Dispute in Merritt Township stems from an ordinance made in 2010 that made the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a residence at a quarter-mile. A group of residents called the “Concerned Citizens of Merritt Township” would like to see that increased to a half-mile.
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Renewable Energy filed an appeal on special land use permits for meteorological towers approved by the Mason County Planning Commission Aug. 16.
Planning commissioners questioned whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will hold fast to its recommendation that wind developments not be constructed within 3 miles of the shoreline. Wagner said the USFWS thinks 3 miles is a good standard, but it's willing to accept a location closer to the shoreline if data proves it won't cause harm.
The planning commission voted in favor of the conditional approval. However, the matter will not go to the board of commissioners. Lundberg said the board of commissioners grants final approval for wind overlay districts, not for site plan reviews, per the county's wind zoning ordinance.
Prior states in the e-mail that he would like the setback from the gas lines to be "at least a windmill height" and, he told the Daily News last week, he'd prefer it be at least 10 percent more so there could be no chance for the blades to hit the sour gas lines if a tower falls. Schneider contends that engineering shows that if a windmill were to fall to the ground, the fiberglass blades could not penetrate the ground more than 4 feet, and thus could not damage the sour gas lines.
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Renewable Energy is appealing the decision made by the planning commission last month to approve Consumers Energy's special land use application to build a wind farm consisting of 56 476-foot wind turbines in Riverton and Summit townships.
The tower built by Orisol Energy U.S. Inc. is in violation of Fairfield Township zoning ordinances, ruled Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe. She granted a motion by the township to affirm a February decision by Fairfield Township's zoning board of appeals that the tower violates zoning requirements.
In Michigan's Lenawee County and near the Ohio-Indiana state line, proposals to install wind turbines are attracting organized opposition. It is easy -- but unfair -- to dismiss this as an expression of classic Not In My Back Yard sentiments. If majority opinion and market forces lead to zoning ordinances that discourage developers from operating in an area, they must be respected.
"The voters in Ogden want responsible wind turbine siting. The ongoing conflict of interest that Jim Goetz and Phyllis Gentz had was continually coming up in the form of hindrances to meaningful regulation," he wrote. "We have removed this obstacle and can move forward with responsible siting that puts residents first.
Months of heated arguments over wind turbines in southeastern Lenawee County will reach a new milestone Tuesday, when voters in Riga and Ogden townships decide the fates of three office holders.
In Ogden Township, Goetz and Gentz are accused of disregarding a conflict of interest by signing wind energy leasing agreements for what the recall petitions stated was "personal financial gain." Ballots in both townships will include both the accusations and the officials' replies to the charges, known as a justification of conduct.
The township's zoning board of appeals conducted a hearing in February and rejected Orisol's variance request for the meteorological tower, two days after the township board voted for a one-year moratorium on siting wind towers in the township.