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Government & Politics

State Representatives Debate Whether Voters Should Have a Say in Wind Farm Developments

Wind Farm
TIM RUDELL
/
WKSU
Legislators are considering whether voters should have a say in wind farm developments.

The bill to put proposed wind farms up for local votes was up for debate in an Ohio House committee. Supporters of the legislation argued that it gives community members a voice on big industrial projects. But critics say it will repress wind energy development. 

Companies spend millions of dollar developing wind farm plans. Industry experts argue that companies won't even entertain the idea of a development plan if it could just be rejected by a local vote at the finish line.

A few representatives, including Dick Stein (R-Norwalk), suggested that maybe the bill could be amended to hold a vote at the start.

"If you want to have development, that's the right way to do it," Stein said. "So I'm not investing millions of dollars and then finding out the rug gets pulled out from me the other end. How can we make this work to give more local input?"

Opponents of the bill said that might be a good change but they still argue the bill creates unfair hurdles targeted against wind energy.