Citizen group Union Neighbors United (UNU) is appealing another portion of the Buckeye Wind turbine project to the Ohio Supreme Court.
In an appeal filed on Oct. 23, attorney Jack Van Kley states the intervenors are appealing the Ohio Power Siting Board’s decision to approve an extension in the first phase of the project.
Project developer EverPower filed a motion for extension of certificate in July 2014, asking the board to extend the certificate granted in the first phase of the project in March 2010.
The original certificate authorized the company to construct the project with development to commence no later than March 22, 2015. When the board approved the extension last August, the certificate date was moved to May 28, 2018, which is the deadline for construction to begin on the second phase of the project.
UNU filed an application for rehearing on the extension on Sept. 24, 2014. This application was rejected on Aug. 27.
In the appeal to the state Supreme Court, UNU states the board’s decisions are unlawful and unreasonable for multiple reasons.
These reasons include that the board’s decision was made even though the project developer failed to submit an application for a certificate amendment, the board’s orders unlawfully waived or otherwise unlawfully altered legally mandated procedures applicable to the amendment of the certificate, the board failed to conduct an investigation or prepare an investigation report on Buckeye Wind’s request for the extension that complied with state law, and the board failed to hold an evidentiary hearing as required by state law.
“The board extended the certificate for Buckeye Wind without so much as taking a conscious look at what harm the extension would do to the community,” Van Kley said on Monday. “There’s a prescribed process for amending certificates which requires an investigation by the Power Siting Board staff and a report to the hearing examiner of the findings of that investigation – which the board is required to do in order to determine whether the amendment of the certificate will harm the public – and the board refused to follow that process in this case.”
This will be the third portion of the wind turbine project UNU has appealed to state Supreme Court including the first two phases of the project.
Oral arguments on the second phase of the project will be heard by the court on Dec. 16. A notice of oral argument filed on Oct. 7 states time allowed for oral argument will be 15 minutes per side.
Outside of the second phase of the project, an amendment to the first phase of the project is pending with the state Supreme Court.
EverPower is also developing the Scioto Ridge project, consisting of up to 180 turbines in Logan and Hardin counties. This project is also pending in the Ohio Supreme Court.
An entry granting an agreed motion to stay proceedings in the case was filed Monday ordering the parties to notify the court within 60 days of the status and whether the stay may be lifted. The agreed motion, which was filed on Oct. 16, states the appellant and appellees agreed that the case may be stayed so that conditions to a dispositive settlement agreement may be satisfied.
“Hardin Wind and (appellant Joseph) Grant have entered into a settlement agreement that will resolve this case, subject to certain conditions being met,” the agreed motion stated. “Those conditions may not be met for a few months or more. In the interim, staying further proceedings may avoid unnecessary expense and aid the expeditious resolution of this case by settlement agreement.”
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.