Local citizens concerned with the impacts of the project on Oct. 23 appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court two decisions from the Ohio Power Siting Board related to the Buckeye Wind LLC project.
Union Neighbors United, Robert McConnell, Diane McConnell and Julia Johnson filed the appeal over orders of the board entered on Aug. 25, 2014, and on Aug. 27 of this year related to a rehearing request. Appellants are and were parties in the board’s deliberations.
The board’s orders amended a site certificate issued to Buckeye Wind, extending the certificate’s five-year deadline by three years for initiating construction of the project. The appeal said these orders are unlawful and/or unreasonable for reasons including:
- the board amended the certificate even though Buckeye Wind failed to submit an application for a certificate amendment as required by Ohio law and the board’s rules;
- the board’s orders unlawfully waived or otherwise unlawfully altered the legally-mandated procedures applicable to amendment of the certificate;
- Buckeye Wind failed to demonstrate show good cause for granting the motion, and the board lacked the factual foundation necessary to find that such good cause existed; and
- the board failed to conduct the investigation or make the findings necessary to determine whether Buckeye Wind’s request for extension would result in any material increase in any environmental impact of the facility.
In March 2010, the board issued a siting certificate to Buckeye Wind for a facility in Champaign County, Ohio. That order provided that the certificate shall become invalid if Buckeye has not commenced a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of journalization of the certificate. Therefore, Buckeye was to commence a continuous course of coristruction by March 22, 2015. In March 2012, on appeal from local citizens, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the board’s approval.
In March 2013, Buckeye filed an application to amend, requesting authority to revise the design of the facility to adjust the construction staging areas; shift the project substation by 1,000 feet; add a new access road; modify four previously approved access roads; and move the electric collection line system underground. The board approved that in February 2014. An appeal of that decision was also lodged at the Ohio Supreme Court.
In August 2014, the board granted Buckeye’s motion to extend the term of the certificate from March 22, 2015, to May 28, 2018.
Buckeye Wind is a subsidiary of EverPower Wind Holdings Inc. Said the EverPower website about this up-to-130-MW project: “The Buckeye Wind Farm is located on a glacial ridge in eastern Champaign County, Ohio. The project involves the construction of up to 52 turbines spread across six townships. Located primarily on farmland, the project will take less than 72 acres out of agricultural production. … The Buckeye Wind Farm will be built in conjunction with the Buckeye II Wind Farm. Combined, the two projects will be 200 MW, displacing about 475,000 tons of CO2 each year and powering nearly 50,000 homes.”