Hay attended a public meeting held by Apex Clean Energy on Nov. 15 in Norwalk. She said she was kicked out after asking questions and being incorrectly accused to “signing people up” against the project.
“They know me and they know I’m against it,” she said.
“I believe that my experience is just one more example of the disregard wind developers show toward the people in their targeted communities,” she wrote in a recent letter to the editor. “Because we have no say in approving projects or how they will be sited, they really do not think they need to be accountable to us or to take our concerns seriously. And they can throw me out of a public meeting. Who would wish for a neighbor like that? Why should we have confidence in them?”
This is just one of Hay’s concerns though. She said she, and many residents in the surrounding areas who will be effected by turbine footprints, worry the projects will negatively impact the property values and wildlife, among other issues.
“Ohio has the shortest set back in four state region,” Hay said, meaning the turbines are able to be constructed closer homes and buildings than may be allowed in other places.
“Absolutely we will lose property value within the two miles of the turbines. We own property in Seneca County and our home is in the Republic Wind project and both will be impacted.”
She said she has family in Huron County that stands to be impacted by the local projects.
Hay added that Apex has told the local residents that Ohio has the strictest setback compared to its surrounding states, however, Hay said that’s because “none of the other states have set backs.”
“It’s all determined locally, by local municipalities and townships and it varies from (place to place). In Ohio, it’s overseen at a state level,” she said. “I personally would like to see (the dividing power) given to the townships. The townships really are looking out for the best interest of their people.”
Hay said it’s been a hard fight for the the Seneca Anti-wind Union, of which she’s a part. She said a Huron County group is planned to be formed soon as well. She said Apex has the power of creating many commercials, which she’s heard on the radio, on TV, “everywhere.”
“They want even more of our property than they’ve already got,” she said. “It’s home owners against the wind companies.”
She said the project has even caused several of her neighbors to consider moving.
“The people who can get out will get out, (partially) because the property values will go down,” she added.
But one resident who already has had the turbines pop up in their community said it goes beyond even just a few complaining home owners.
Van Wert resident Jeremy Kitson lives in the Blue Creek Project area, which has turbines that are nearly 200 feet shorter than those proposed for Erie and Huron counties at 655 feet. He said Van Wert is home to the largest industrial wind project in the entire state, Avangrid's Blue Creek Wind Farm.
“Anyone (who) is saying that our community is positive when it comes to wind development is being blatantly dishonest,” he said, referring to claims made by the supporting side of the matter, who have said school stand to benefit the most from the project, especially monetarily.
“I teach at Van Wert High School. We are on our third superintendent in three years. Our current superintendent just came to us from the Fairview area of Defiance County. She has not made one public comment on wind turbines. Our previous two superintendents were pro wind,” Kitson said.
“This year, one of the largest lease holders in the now defunct Apex Long Prairie project — that we soundly defeated — ran for commissioner too. She was defeated even worse than the cycle two times ago. She did not win a single one of Van Wert County's 39 voting precincts, including all the cities and incorporated towns. That speaks volumes of what this county now thinks of wind development.
“On top of that, two years ago, pro wind state representative incumbent Tony Burkley, (the) primary sponsor of HB 190 to measure setbacks to our houses, was defeated by Craig Riedel who had never held public office in his entire life. Craig just won re-election this month in a landslide. Craig is pro-community choice on wind projects. He thinks it should absolutely be a public vote in the affected townships,” Kitson added.
“Van Wert County is lopsidedly against more wind development. I would say it is probably close to an 80-20 split against,” he said.
Locally, Apex representatives said all but one of the local school systems in Huron County are in favor of the project, with millions of dollars projected to go to the districts. The exception is Monroeville Local Schools, which has remained neutral in the matter.