Wind energy may be up to the voters


Honey Creek Action files petitions

By A.J. Kaufman - For the Inquirer



BUCYRUS — On behalf of Apex Clean Energy, “Honey Creek Action” PAC filed formal petitions Monday in Bucyrus with Crawford County Commissioners for review. This begins the signature validation process to place the controversial wind energy issue on the November ballot.

Petition signatures and addresses must match what’s already on file or be deemed invalid. Crawford County voters will be the first in Ohio to decide a wind energy referendum.

In early May, a resolution halted construction of the Virginia-based company’s 300-megawatt wind farm, which is expected to include approximately 60 turbines.

Ohio Senate Bill 52, which became law nearly a year ago, enabled county commissioners to make decisions about wind farm development, in lieu of the state’s Power Siting Board in Columbus.

Commissioner Tim Ley said last month he voted to pause wind farm development across by returning the decision to voters “simply because it allows Crawford County to seek approval from the voters.”

Along with fellow commissioners Larry Schmidt and Doug Weisenauer, Ley was first to sign the petition to send the issue to Crawford County residents.

The petitions will force a fall referendum on the issue that could overrule the commissioners’ actions. Those petitions needed to be signed by 8 percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election. This was achieved when More than 2,600 people signed on porches, in parking lots, and community events like the Memorial Day parade.

Apex is “thrilled” to have collected more than double the necessary signatures during the past month.

“We have so many people to thank: the people of Crawford County for their signatures and desire to see this placed on the ballot, the County Commissioners for their public service throughout this process, and – most of all – the Honey Creek Wind landowners who are fighting every day for their property rights and the benefit that this project will bring to Crawford County, Honey Creek Action Executive Director and Ohio Field Manager Tyler Fehrman said.

“We are confident that our signatures will be certified and that everyone in Crawford County will now have a voice and a vote on this project. Wind energy is good for the economy, it is good for the environment, and it is good for the people of Crawford County.”

For several years, Apex has leased land in northern Crawford County for its wind endeavors.

Many individual county residents and grassroots organizations, however, are concerned about peaceful rural settings and natural wildlife being threatened, including noise from the turbines, which can approach heights of 1,000 feet, causing headaches, nausea, sleep deprivation, and more. Signs opposing the idea from “Crawford Anti-Wind” can be seen throughout the county on rural roads and city blocks.

Honey Creek Action files petitions

By A.J. Kaufman

For the Inquirer