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Health, Science and Environment

Monitor Township approves moratorium on wind turbines

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Paulo Valdivieso
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https://flic.kr/p/9X4WSE

In Bay County Monday, a township board voted in favor of a moratorium on wind turbine permits and construction.

Officials who attended the meeting say residents were overwhelmingly opposed to a possible DTE turbine project near the township.

Ken Malkin is the Monitor Township Supervisor. He said residents were concerned that the township isn’t rural enough to have wind turbines.

“And so the residents were concerned that this is happening in a township that’s not really suited for that and we need to update our ordinance to put in the appropriate regulations that aren’t currently there.”

Malkin said by law the township can’t ban turbines.

“Whatever we do we can certainly regulate them. They can be strict but we have to make sure they are not so strict that we can’t defend them in court.”

Malkin said he proposed putting a moratorium on permits and construction until the township ordinance is updated.

In a written statement a spokesperson for DTE said the company encourages Monitor Township to take the time it needs to quote “ensure they have an ordinance that balances private property rights and diverse community interests.”

Their full statement can be read below:

DTE is in the evaluation stage of a potential future wind project in Bay County. This stage involves talking to landowners, elected and appointed officials and members of the community, and is the first step in any wind development effort. DTE has been working with landowners in Bay County for the past year acquiring easements, and we have more than 300 landowners who have signed easements, representing 29,000 acres.

 In addition to payments to landowners, wind projects bring economic benefits such as job creation and a new source of tax revenue.

Wind development is a process that typically requires several years from evaluation to park operation, and we encourage Monitor Township to take the time it needs to learn about wind energy and to ensure they have an ordinance that balances private property rights and diverse community interests.