OFBF and the Champaign County Farm Bureau filed a brief in March that supports the Ohio Power Siting Board’s approval of the Champaign Wind farm. This project calls for the construction of up to 56 utility-scale wind turbines and involves 13,500 acres of private land and more than 100 landowners. The Champaign Wind project is adjacent to the previously approved Buckeye Wind project in Champaign County.
Opponents are against the project for a variety of reasons and have already had the Ohio Supreme Court rule against them in the Buckeye Wind case in 2012. Ohio Farm Bureau had also filed a brief in that case, supporting the ability of farmers to use their land for alternative energy development. In their latest objection, opponents contend that Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and that the wind turbines would be too noisy and possibly dangerous.
“OFBF policy supports a very participative process, which the Ohio Power Siting Board has largely put into practice. While Farm Bureau members certainly support that everyone should get to be heard in the process, once that process is accomplished, the authority of the Power Siting Board should be respected,” said Leah Curtis, director of agricultural law.
OFBF’s Director of Energy, Utility and Local Government Policy Dale Arnold testified at one point during the case that farmers could earn about $4,000 to $7,000 per turbine per year in lease payments from the Champaign Wind project. This ties in with landowners’ rights on how they use their land as allowed by law with appropriate regulation, including for additional income and continued farming.
The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments this summer with a decision not coming until fall or the end of the year.
Last year Ohio Farm Bureau filed an amicus curiae brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of a wind-powered electric generation facility in Crawford and Richland counties. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that all parties were afforded due process and that the Ohio Power Siting Board’s decision to grant a certificate for the facility wasn’t unlawful or unreasonable as claimed by opponents.
Here are some key points from OFBF’s brief:
On alternative energy:
“Alternative energy contributes to preserving open spaces by allowing farming to continue around limited energy infrastructure.”
“Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard is an important tool in securing the future of energy resources, a principle which the Ohio Farm Bureau strongly supports.”
On private property rights:
“It is no secret that farms produce noises, sounds, smells and other disturbances that may occasionally annoy their neighbors, but Ohio law has provided protection so that farmers can use their land for agricultural purposes.”
“Alternative energy is yet another representation of the rights of rural property owners to make beneficial use of their properties.”