—For Immediate Release—-
Contacts: Mallory DeTota, firstname.lastname@example.org, (216)-543-3510
RACHEL CROOKS ISSUES STATEMENT ON WIND TURBINE PROJECTS
Transparency and local community input are imperative to successful project developments
Rachel Crooks, the Democratic candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives who is challenging Bill Reineke in the November election, believes the energy development process in Ohio should be more transparent and inclusive of local community and government input.
“The fact remains that there is a gap in the current processes our state uses to facilitate energy development projects such as the various wind turbine projects being proposed currently,” Crooks said. “With the state holding the authority to authorize such projects and insufficient measures to promote transparency and inclusion of local voices, it is no wonder why these projects are often met with skepticism, and they pit neighbors against one another.”
Sandusky and Seneca counties currently are being considered for various wind turbine projects by the company Apex Clean Energy and others. While some believe the wind turbines promise to be an economic opportunity, a large contingent of constituents have united to form the Anti-Wind Union group. As grassroots activists, the Anti-Wind Union has been sharing their concerns regarding property rights issues, as well as the general health, safety, and welfare of individuals and wildlife. Over 500 people were in attendance at a recent group meeting in Attica, and they have called on commissioners in Seneca County to rescind the Alternative Energy Zone.
Crooks considers herself an environmentalist who believes in climate change and the need to invest in renewable energy sources. Indeed, Crooks says she thinks turbines look beautiful on the landscape; however, she believes that energy development projects, especially those involving something as physically large – some proposed at approximately 600 feet – and numerous as the turbines being considered, warrant a more collaborative approach between industry, state regulators, local governments, and ultimately the citizens who will be living near the energy sources.
Various bills are under consideration currently in the Ohio House and Senate that would reduce the setback restrictions for wind turbine projects. The current setbacks were put in place in 2014 and essentially halted any wind production in the state. Crooks believes such setback restrictions are only one part of a greater issue regarding wind turbine and other energy development projects, and therefore, she would not endorse the bills being debated at present.
According to Crooks, too much authority has been given to the Ohio Power Siting Board in this process. “Concentrating authority in this way can lead to susceptibility to corporate influence,” Crooks says, and if elected in November, she would welcome the opportunity to include all relevant stakeholders in creating new policies that encourage a collaborative approach to energy development.