Voters in Michigan’s Upper Thumb rejected proposals that would have allowed two wind farm projects to proceed in Huron county.
In referendum held May 2, 2017 voters defeated a proposal for a renewal energy project by DTE Energy extending just under 17,000 acres. 70 turbines would have been placed with landowners holding wind lease agreements with DTE in Lincoln, Sigel, Bloomfield and Dwight Township. (1,110 yes to 1,923 no) On the same ballot voters also defeated a proposed project by NextEra Energy Resources in Sherman and Sigel townships. (1,120 yes to 1,934 no)
Other communities voting to restrict wind development include Lincoln Township who will be forming its own planning commission and Sand Beach Township who passed a strict sound ordinance restriction that effectively prevents wind farm development in the township.
Huron County Michigan hosts the largest concentration of wind turbines in the Great Lakes region. Currently there are 443 turbines in operation with 29 more expected completed this year. The vote now prevents landowners in the 16 affected townships from working with wind farm developers on any new projects. The restriction affects Bingham, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Dwight, Fairhaven, Gore, Grant, Hume, Lincoln, McKinley, Rubicon, Sebewaing, Sheridan, Sherman, Sigel and Winsor townships. It’s unclear if new wind development projects will be planned in the other 12 townships.
The secessionists have hired attorney William Fahey of Okemos to request Lake and Chandler Townships form an arrangement utilizing Michigan Public Act 425 to conditionally transfer their properties to Chandler Township. This would allow energy companies such as DTE to use their land for wind energy development. If allowed, Lake Township’s area would shrink by 40% by ceding the land to Chandler Township. It’s also unclear if those not wishing to leave the township will be forced to also move to comply with the provision of contiguous borders outlined in the Act. The patch work of landowners who wish to succeed are denoted in Pink in the map below.
The issue will be discussed in a special meeting this evening, May 21st, at 7:30pm at the American Legion Hall at 4995 N. Caseville Road, Caseville, MI.