Ten counties in Ohio have passed laws banning the development of new infrastructure-scale wind and solar projects, in the past year.
In October last year, Ohio passed a state law granting the veto power over renewable energy sites to local voters. Worth noting, voters have no such veto power over any fossil fuel or mining developments.
The ten counties, all rural, have voted against even allowing wind or solar farms in unincorporated, uninhabited parts of their territories. Allen, Auglaize, Butler, Hancock, Logan, Medina, and Seneca counties ban both forms of renewable, while Crawford and Knox county ban only wind projects and Union County bans only solar. Two more counties, Ottawa and Delaware, are considering potential bans.
“Economic development and innovative energy technology is always welcome in the State of Ohio, but not at the expense of rural communities who do not want them,” said GOP Senate President Matt Huffman in a statement. “This bill keeps local residents and officials informed and in-control of where they are located.”
The GOP can claim they’re about keeping locals informed all they want, but in Crawford County, the organization spreading anti-wind-energy propaganda with pictures of a burning windmill that killed two of its crew in 2013 claimed to be a grassroots PAC while no such organization is registered under its name with the state. Another campaign made unsubstantiated claims about solar panels leaking heavy metals into the soil.
“By implementing these bans now, it’s going to make it harder to make the transition to clean energy that the public, business community, and public health and climate science all demand,” said Neil Waggoner, an operative with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “These bans close off communities from the investment dollars driving these projects, new sources of revenue for local services and education, and also limit local property owner rights.”