Residents want Ohio to allow them to decide on wind farms

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A group of residents opposed to wind farms in northern Ohio want state lawmakers to give them a chance at the ballot box to block new turbines from being built near their homes.

Legislation being debated in Columbus would allow township residents to circulate petitions for voter referendums on decisions made by a state board that regulates wind farm sites.

Current law allows the Ohio Power Siting Board’s rulings to override local zoning regulations.

Residents testified before an Ohio House energy committee this week, The Blade reported.

“By giving the right of referendum to impacted voters, the people can decide when enough is enough,” said Walt Poffenbaugh, of Huron County.

Proposed wind farm projects and those that are already operating have generated skirmishes across northern Ohio. The legislation would apply to wind farms only and would not allow referendums on the locations of solar fields, pipelines or natural gas wells.

Miranda Leppla, of the Ohio Environmental Council, said Ohio risks falling behind neighboring states that are embracing a diverse number of renewable energy sources.

“Ohio should be attracting the economic and environmental benefits that wind energy can bring, not putting up more barriers to developing projects in our state,” she said.