Planning Commission Approves New Wind Farms 6-03-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Planning Commission Approves New Wind Farms 6-03-2010

The planning commission approved a controversial plan to add two new wind overlay districts in McKinley Township and in the Harbor Beach area.
The DTE Energy and Heritage Sustainable Energy's joint venture received overwhelming support from the commission during Wednesday’s meeting at the Huron County courthouse.
It’s a story that WNEM TV5 has been following since several residents expressed concern that those same public officials were trying to cash in by pushing a deal through with utility companies.
Those against the measure call it a conflict of interest.
Watch: Corporate Counsel Dodges Turbine Questions
As a result, two members of the commission, Erin Haley and Joel Weber, abstained from the vote. Haley and Weber are among four of nine commissioners who have already signed deals that could net them $10,000 per turbine on their property.
“I believe that I’m an impartial person and that I could have made a fair and just assessment,” Haley told WNEM TV5.
However, not everyone is buying into Haley’s and Weber’s decision to remove themselves from the voting table.
"I don’t give them much credit -- they all should have abstained,” one Huron County resident said after the meeting. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
The wind energy development proposal could bring as many as 50 turbines to the county.
Meanwhile, defenders of the plan say besides the benefits of green energy technology, the turbines will bring tax revenue into the local school district and county.
The recommendation will now be turned over to the Board of Commissioners for official approval.
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