An article last week in the Galion Inquirer included comments from our county commissioners about the petitions now being circulated in response to their own declaration of a county-wide ban on industrial wind turbine fields. It is inexcusable that our elected officials still do not understand the fairly straightforward process outlined in newly passed Senate Bill 52.
Here are the FACTS:
Senate Bill 52 was passed last year despite efforts by the so-called green energy lobby to thwart the legislation. The law gives local residents the ability to exercise local control (“home rule”) by prohibiting large scale turbines, via restrictions made by our county commissioners. The supporters of turbines then have 30 days to override this action by collecting 1,182 signatures to put the matter as a referendum on the November ballot.
Wind turbines are extremely unpopular because of known negative impacts on quality of life, property values, human health, wildlife, and even our regional power grid. Many counties have already taken action permitted under the new law, and have declared outright bans on such development.
In Crawford County, our own commissioners also recently voted to establish such an area (called a Restricted Zone) across the entire county. Public response to this was overwhelmingly positive and was met with applause and celebrations. At a public hearing on the matter, only a handlful of pro-turbine individuals chose to make an appearance, while opponent speakers went on for hours.
Now, for some unknown reason, the same commissioners who voted for the Restricted Zone are now advising the public “regardless of their position” to sign an energy company-devised petition that effectively lays the groundwork to overturn this Restricted Zone by forcing the issue onto the November ballot. For the massive number of voters who are against the turbines, signing a petition at this late stage would be like asking for another election when your candidate has already won.
Tim Ley and Larry Schmidt are missing this big picture: Industrial Sized Turbines become illegal in Crawford County effective June 4. If turbine proponents cannot gather enough signatures to get a referendum put on the ballot, then this declaration is final.
Commissioners have stated that this issue will be decided by the state’s Power Siting Board unless enough signatures are collected. This is simply FALSE! In fact, the OPSB can no longer accept an application for an industrial turbine field once the Restricted Zone takes effect. The extraordinarily dumb idea of wind turbines tucked between houses dies here in OUR county, at a time of OUR choosing, as it should have long ago!
The time for debate has passed…The Restricted Zone has already been established. NOBODY should be signing a petition unless they desire to see Crawford County ruined by disruptive and damaging industrial turbines.
For those of us who have studied this issue for the last several years and developed informed opinions, it is disheartening to see that misinformation and propaganda still permeate our county politics.