TIFFIN, Ohio — An amendment to a current state house bill may allow members of local communities to hold a special vote on proposed large wind turbine projects.
For the last year, the Seneca Anti Wind Union has campaigned against a multiple proposed wind farms intended to be built in eastern Seneca County.
They claim the large turbines are not wanted by the majority of property owners here, but is being pushed through by special interest groups.
Which is why the group was thrilled when State representative Bill Reineke added an amendment to current House Bill 6, which would allow townships to hold a special election on whether the community wants to allow a proposed 20 megawatt or higher wind farm to be built.
“And perhaps that will change the way the wind companies approach projects. That maybe they need to embrace the people directly effected right from the very beginning as opposed to trying to convince them later on,” said union member Greg Smith.
House Bill 6 passed the State House this week by a 53-43 vote and will now move on to the State Senate.
Folks in Seneca County know the four proposed wind farms in the area are a divisive subject, but if this bill becomes state law, they are comfortable knowing the final decision will be in the hands their neighbors and not energy executives.
“We haven’t had a voice up until this point, and a lot of us feel a little slighted on that. This gives the opportunity for wind development to proceed if the community accepts it. And in the effected township, if the community doesn’t, than it will be voted down,” said Chris Aichholz.
The bill is expected to begin to go through the review process in the State Senate next week.