Reineke to the rescue

For well over a year now, the citizens of Seneca County have been dealing with what can only be called an invasion by wind companies intent to build hundreds of over 600-foot-tall wind turbines in the area. It has caused a great deal of concern and, even though our Seneca County commissioners could have done several things to help the situation. Holly Stacy and Shayne Thomas have steadfastly refused to offer any consolation whatsoever. Rather, even to any impartial observer, it appears as if they are working for the wind companies instead of the people in Seneca County as they have done absolutely nothing to address even one of the hundreds of disturbing details associated with the projects.

Thomas did, finally and begrudgingly, vote to rescind the automatic tax breaks to such projects, but only after it was assured that the two big projects under consideration would get their special tax treatment (payment in lieu of taxes) and keep many millions of dollars that should have come to local schools and agencies instead. To this day, Stacy continues to lobby the state government to allow wind turbines to built closer to neighboring property lines.

The state regulators have documented evidence that turbines operating in Ohio have experienced blade failure, throwing pieces as heavy as bricks over 1,500 feet. Stacy thinks it would be just fine if they built one less than half of that distance from your property line and is intent on getting that written into state law. It is entirely unethical for her to pursue such an agenda against the best interests of the people of Seneca County from the commissioners chair. She should submit her resignation immediately and find a more suitable position somewhere else to promote her agenda, if that is her passion.

But, luckily, into the void of local leadership steps State Rep. Bill Reineke by introducing a bill that would give the citizens in the affected townships the opportunity to initiate a referendum on wind projects. The people who must live in and near such projects are the ones who should decide if the benefits outweigh the costs in their area. This approach will let wind projects flourish where they are a good fit and be kept out of areas where they are not. Local residents are the only people who know what is best for their area.

Reineke’s proposal was attached to HB 6 as an amendment and recently passed the House in Columbus where it will now move to the Senate for consideration. Wind companies, and no doubt Stacy, will fight it every step of the way as they attempt to stifle the voice of voters. But, in the end, wind energy will have a brighter future if it is developed by working with voters instead of being forced onto them as current state law allows. This is an idea whose time has come and it will behoove wind companies to work with it and not against it.

Thank you, Reineke, and continued success in your efforts to do the right thing for your constituents!

Jim Feasel,