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Greenwich residents unite: 'We are awake now'

Joe Centers • Aug 31, 2014 at 12:07 PM

The fight is not over.

Residents know they have a battle on their hands, but they haven't given up in their opposition to a windpark in their community. On Monday, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved the Greenwich Windpark, LLC.

Kevin Ledet, of rural Greenwich, spoke at Tuesday's Huron County Commissioners meeting and said now that the windfarm is approved, it's important the commissioners do not approve an alternative energy zone or any other type of tax abatement for the windfarm so, at least, the county can reap the full benefit of the project.

"I'm really proud of the people of Greenwich for stepping up," Ledet said, referring to the recent stand many residents took against the project.

"But, we as a community dropped the ball," he added. "I did, as an individual."

Ledet said the windfarm was a "done deal" long before Monday's hearing.

"There were seven or eight cases and in 12 minutes, they were all approved," he said, referring to an Ohio Power Siting Board's recent meeting during which they approved the Greenwich project.

Connie Oney, a member of Greenwich Neighbors United (www.greenwichneighborsunited.com), was at Monday's meeting in Columbus.

"There were about 13 people (supporting Greenwich) there," Oney said.

"We have 30 days to apply for another hearing. (Opposition to) every other wind project was completely denied. We had hundreds of people petitioning. We had hundreds who wrote to the board."

Oney said State Sen. Bill Seitz (R, District 8), State Sen. Michael J. Skindell (D, District 23), State Sen. Gayle Manning (R, District 13, Sen. Manning and State Rep. Terry Boose (R, Norwalk Township) have stepped up to support the residents of Greenwich.

"All of these people wrote the Ohio Power Siting Board on our behalf. They ignored all of our requests. They ignored all of the citizens who will be impacted. They just rubber-stamped every application.

"We've got a lot of work to do. We have put our hearts and souls into this for three solid months. If we didn't have any government people on our side, we would have no chance.

"Wind power is not green. They are subsidized by our tax money, over 65 percent of them. They are built in Germany. I know at least 11 of the turbines (out of the 25 proposed for Greenwich) are owned by people in Germany.

"We were asleep when they tried to move in, but we are awake now. They are in for a fight.

"A few of us got together in June, then we have over 100 people with signs in town. Everybody wants a sign."

Oney said their group has the backing of the South Central Local Schools.

"Our board of education would not accept their blood money," she said.

Superintendent David Brand said the district has taken no official action on the windfarm, but a member of the school board send this letter to the siting board:

"This letter is in reference to the wind farm going into our community. We realize that the proper setbacks, laws and public hearing procedures were followed to get to this point but the people in our community were sold on new tax dollars for our schools, township and fire department without realizing the size, scale and potential problems associated with the wind turbines. As a board of education member and resident of this community, we have concerns about the sleep deprivation associated with the wind turbines and how they can affect our children coming to school energized and ready to learn, as well as adults in their work place, not to mention in their homes.

"We now have a peaceful, rural setting and we would hate to see it ruined for a short term profit for our community."

The letter was signed by Brand, treasurer Beth Lykins, board president Bryan Hamman, along with board members Jeff Oney, Bob Morgan, Michael West and Leann Palm.

"It was not action by the board," Brand stressed. "It was a letter by people who make up the board. I felt I needed to relay what was expressed to me from different people in the community. It is a public letter with concerns of opposition to the windfarm."

What if it would bring money to the school and community?

"You have to listen when it comes to jobs or advancements or bringing anything to your community, no matter what seat you are sitting in," Brand said. "You just have to make that individual decision."

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