• Experts question environmental and economic value of wind power
    Wind farms continue to pop up like mushrooms across Michigan’s landscape, and with them, plenty of backlash from energy, economic and environmental public policy experts. Michigan ranks 15th for total wind generation nationwide, according to a 2021 study released by Commodity.com, which was updated last May. The study reports wind provides 8% of the total electricity consumed by the nation’s homes, government entities and businesses, while contributing 7% to Michigan’s electricity grid. While proponents tout the environmental benefits of wind . . .
  • Leeward Renewable Energy working to bring wind facility to Ionia County
    A Canadian-owned developer is continuing to work on bringing a wind turbine facility to Ionia County, a project which has been pending for well over a decade now. Leeward Renewable Energy confirmed with the Daily News that the company is still actively working on the project. “Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) is developing a wind facility in the Ionia County area, which will bring additional energy generation, construction jobs and other anticipated long-term economic benefits to the community,” Leeward said in . . .
  • Wind, solar-related recalls now pending in Cato and Belvidere townships
    Four more officials in two more townships are now facing recalls related to their votes on wind and solar energy ordinances. Cato Township Supervisor Larry Gilbert, Clerk Todd Lincoln and Trustee Jourdan Lindsay are all facing a recall attempt after they voted to approve their township’s proposed wind energy ordinance, while Belvidere Township Supervisor John Anderson is also facing a recall attempt for his votes regarding his township’s wind and solar ordinances. A recall clarity hearing for both matters is . . .
  • Developer sues Fulton Township over wind plan veto
    Chicago-based Invenergy has filed a lawsuit in Gratiot County Circuit Court on behalf of the Heartland Farms Wind Project claiming Fulton Township violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when it denied a special land use permit that would have allowed the company to build 12 wind turbines in the township. Five other townships that are part of the proposed 72-turbine wind farm – Newark, New Haven, North Shade, North Star and Washington – have all approved the project. On April . . .
  • Cato Township concerns
    Arrogant, uneducated and stubborn are what the majority of the Cato Township Board proved themselves to be when they took a wrecking ball to the carefully crafted safe wind ordinance their Planning Commission developed as a result of over 1 1/2 years of intense study and personal sacrifice. Not only was it a contemptible act of disrespect of their planning commission, but to the Cato citizenry as well, who supported the original PC ordinance by at least a 10-1 ratio at . . .
  • Montcalm Twp. shakes up Planning Commission
    The topic stems from allegations that Karnatz operated in his capacity as Planning Commission chairman with a conflict of interest because he failed to disclose previous arrangements with Apex Clean Energy, including signing “steering committee” and lease agreement documents, dating back to November 2019, while subsequently leading the Planning Commission as it worked on amending the township’s wind energy ordinance. As a result of the lease agreement, Karnatz has received compensation from Apex, leading several residents to allege a conflict of interest as he was also working to amend ordinances that could potentially affect the very turbines that could eventually be constructed on Karnatz’s property.
  • Douglass Township Board approves referendum wording for 2 wind ordinances
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Board voted at a special meeting Monday evening to place two wind energy ordinances on the November general election ballot after voters gathered enough signatures to referendum both ordinances. “The reason we’re here tonight is basically so we can get these referendums on the ballot in November,” Supervisor Terry Anderson said during the 10-minute meeting, which didn’t feature any public comment. Clerk Ronda Snyder read the resolution aloud and the board then voted 4-0 to . . .
  • Winfield Township wind referendum scheduled, police investigation continues
    The Winfield Township Board during yet another tense meeting on Thursday voted to pay a special clerk to run November’s general election as the current clerk is facing a recall, and voted to place a wind energy ordinance referendum on the ballot at that same election, even as a police investigation of the township board and township documents continues. Supervisor Phyllis Larson read aloud an Aug. 8 letter to the township from Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, stating in part, . . .
  • Apex is the only winner in wind debate
    When neighbor is pitted against neighbor, friendships are destroyed and nobody wins. For the past two years, the Daily News has been reporting on the collapse of our townships over discussions involving wind turbines. The only winner in all of this seems to be Apex Clean Energy, the non-Michigan wind energy company that has sat back and watched as people who used to be friends and colleagues disrespect each other with their words and actions. It’s time for townships to . . .
  • Cato Township Board votes 3-2 to approve wind ordinance after making changes
    Monday’s vote resulted in anger, frustration and disappointment from the majority of the at least 60 people present who were squeezed into the Lakeview Village Office across the street from the Lakeview Community Center where the Cato Township Board typically meets. The different location was a poor choice for Monday’s meeting, as the Village Council chamber room is cozy and resulted in a standing room only with some people forced to try to listen to the meeting from the hallway and lobby outside. Before the vote, four Planning Commission members — including Behrenwald who sits on the PC — begged the township board to approve the ordinance as written, as did the majority of residents present. Jeremy Kwekel of Cato Township asked for a show of hands from those who support Apex’s Montcalm Wind project. Only four of the more than 60 people present raised their hands.
  • ‘Big win for fair representation’
    Although Winfield Township’s solar ordinance is separate from the township’s pending — and hotly disputed — wind ordinance, one colors the other, especially in light of the controversy surrounding township officials who have signed personal property leases with Apex Clean Energy, the Virginia-based wind developer looking to bring a wind turbine project to multiple townships in Montcalm County.
  • State Police investigating Winfield Township officials, documents amid wind/solar debate
    WThe Michigan State Police Lakeview Post is investigating the Winfield Township Board concerning certain township documents. The Daily News confirmed the investigation with MSP Sixth District Public Information Officer Michelle Robinson. “I cannot comment on any details as it is an open and ongoing investigation,” Robinson said. The Winfield Township Board has been in turmoil for quite some time now, mostly fallout related to how township officials are handling the creation of wind energy and solar energy ordinances. Supervisor Phyllis . . .
  • Wind turbine deconstructed, will be replaced with solar panels
    The old wind turbine off of M-72 West in Leelanau County has been fully decommissioned and removed. Traverse City Light and Power bought the turbine for roughly $764,000 in 1996. In 2014, the company sold the aging turbine to Heritage Sustainable Energy for just $1,100. Since then, Heritage has been dealing with the same struggles TCLP faced when the company first handed it over. “Currently- it’s just now since 2014- the unit is that much older, just to the point . . .
  • Douglass Township Planning Commission recommends repealing 2017 wind ordinance
    After multiple residents voiced concerns with a controversial 2017 wind energy ordinance, the Douglass Township Planning Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to recommend that the township board repeal it. The township board will vote on the recommendation at next Wednesday’s meeting; however, a pending ordinance similar to the 2017 wind ordinance still remains to be dealt with. Even if the township board repeals the 2017 ordinance, the township board voted earlier this month to approve a principle wind energy ordinance, as . . .
  • A common sense solution to wind turbine zoning for Montcalm Township
    As the dust begins to settle from the chaos resulting from Apex Clean Energy’s massive commercial wind turbine proposal for Montcalm County, a practical solution to zoning ordinance provisions for Montcalm Township has emerged. It is protective, popular, community-based, legally sound, reasonable and should satisfy almost everyone. The three townships in Montcalm County that adjoin Montcalm Township have all adopted wind ordinances. Sidney, Eureka and Pine townships have adopted ordinances that are protective of their residents and their rural lifestyle, . . .
  • Townships say tax dispute settlement with DTE Energy opens doors to more wind and solar
    DTE Energy has settled a long-running tax dispute with townships over wind farms. The settlement means DTE will drop its tax appeals over the correct formula for depreciating the taxable value of wind turbines, and townships won’t have to pay back millions of dollars in taxes to the utility. Carl Osentosky is Executive Director of the Huron County Economic Development Corporation. Huron County has the most wind turbines in Michigan, according to a recent count. He said it’s hoped that . . .
  • Cato Township Board tables wind ordinance amid protests
    The Cato Township Board was expected to vote on a wind energy ordinance on Monday evening. The township’s Planning Commission voted on June 9 to recommend the draft ordinance to the township board, so board members have been in possession of the draft for more than a month now. Planning commissioners were present Monday to answer any questions, as was the attorney who had assisted them. However, the township board voted 4-1 to table the ordinance. The reason behind the . . .
  • Embattled Douglass Township Board approves 2 wind ordinances
    The Douglass Township Board voted 5-0 to approve two wind energy ordinances Wednesday evening, even as three township board members are in the process of being recalled, a fourth is facing a challenger in the August primary election, and both new ordinances will almost certainly go to a referendum. The board voted to approve a principle wind energy ordinance, as well as a second version of the ordinance which includes a “savings clause” regarding the township’s 2017 wind ordinance which . . .
  • Recall petitions approved against 4 township officials
    STANTON – The Montcalm County Election Commission at a nearly two-hour recall clarity hearing Wednesday afternoon ruled that recall language petitions against the Montcalm Township clerk and three Winfield Township Board members could begin circulating for signatures. Petitioners have until Aug. 5 to gather the required amount of signatures in order for the recalls to appear on November’s general election ballot in Montcalm and Winfield townships (see info box below for pending recall language). Wednesday’s recall hearing also shed light on . . .
  • Gratiot wind farm moving forward despite Fulton Twp. veto
    Despite the Fulton Township Board vetoing a plan to construct wind turbines in the township, the Heartland Wind Project will move forward in southern Gratiot County. Chicago-based Invenergy, the developer of the proposed 72-turbine wind farm, has received approval from the five other townships that will be part of the project. The construction of wind turbines in New Haven, North Shade, Newark and North Star townships was approved earlier this year. The final OK was given by the Washington Township . . .
  • Litigation to end on taxation of wind farms
    A long litigation process over the taxation of wind farms in Huron County has ended following an agreement announced by DTE Energy June 29. The agreement, which also includes other wind farms around the state, settled on a new tax table that will be followed that is different from what the county and DTE were originally considering. This agreement also ensures that there will be no more litigation on the taxation of the wind farms’ land for the next 15 . . .
  • Maple Valley Township Board approves wind ordinance
    The Maple Valley Township Board in a 4-1 vote on June 13 approved a wind energy ordinance, which will almost certainly go to a voter referendum even as the township supervisor is facing a recall and is also headed to trial for an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act. The vote came during yet another chaotic meeting in which the longtime treasurer resigned and the supervisor’s wife was appointed to the position. Meanwhile, a township resident and the zoning . . .
  • Boards should not follow any recommendations on ordinances from Apex
    The brochure from Apex Clean Energy, (the entity trying to bring industrial wind turbines to Montcalm County), makes claims regarding conservation, property values and property rights. One claim is that the company works in consultation with environmental agencies and uses conservation measures to ensure that wind projects have no significant effects on bird/bat populations. Why, then, must landowners leave the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)? CRP is a conservation program in which farmers receive yearly payments to remove environmentally sensitive land . . .
  • Apex’s lease restricts landowners
    When I spoke during public comment at the June 13 Maple Valley Township Board meeting, I stated should Apex Clean Energy build their wind turbines, signed landowners won’t even be able to plant a tree on their own property unless Apex approves. This is not the first time I have made that statement during a township meeting. Hearing this, many pro-wind supporters have reacted in disbelief with scoffs and laughter. Their response shows it is likely many signers have not . . .
  • Bloomer Township Planning Commission tables wind ordinance, again
    The Bloomer Township Planning Commission continues to be in no hurry to vote on a wind and solar energy ordinance. The Planning Commission held a public hearing Wednesday evening on the draft ordinance – the second public hearing that’s been held on the matter. The 16-minute meeting adjourned with the Planning Commission once again declining to take action in advancing the ordinance to the township board. “I have on the agenda a call for a vote, but I’m not going to . . .
  • 20 recall petitions filed against 3 Winfield Township Board members
    A total of 20 recall petitions were filed against three members of the Winfield Township Board after those board members voted last week to approve a controversial wind energy ordinance. Dave Meyers of Winfield Township on Tuesday filed eight petitions each against Supervisor Phyllis Larson and Clerk Colleen Stebbins and four petitions against Trustee John Black. Those three board members voted in favor of approving a wind ordinance, while Treasurer Cathy Killinger and Trustee Steve Cole voted “no” at a . . .
  • Concerns voiced at Fremont Twp. board meeting
    FREMONT TWP. – There was lengthy discussion during public comment at the Fremont Township board meeting last Thursday night, as members of the community voiced concerns about the potential wind turbine farms that will be located in Fremont and neighboring Speaker Township. While there was no new business regarding the project, it was stated at the meeting that the township may add 10 or 15 turbines to the total, a total which already includes 54 between the two townships, including 31 . . .
  • Winfield Township Board reverses course, approves wind ordinance
    After deciding to send a proposed wind energy ordinance back to its Planning Commission on June 8, the Winfield Township Board called a special meeting less than a week later and reversed course. As a result, recall petitions were filed earlier this week against three board members and a wind ordinance referendum is pending. (See accompanying story.) “We couldn’t hear real well the other night,” Supervisor Phyllis Larson told those in attendance at the special June 15 meeting. Clerk Colleen . . .
  • Montcalm County Planning Commission members unhappy with lack of township unity
    “From what our commission has seen and heard over the past year and a half, the majority of taxpayers don’t seem to want the huge industrial machines scatted throughout the township, and I can’t say that I blame them. We are and have always been a rural agricultural community, not a rural industrial community,” Cato Township Planning Commissioner Brandi Clark Hubbard [told] the Montcalm County Planning Commission regarding her township’s proposed wind energy ordinance. Clark Hubbard was the only member of a local township Planning Commission to attend Monday’s meeting.
  • Winfield Township Board sends wind ordinance back to Planning Commission
    Why hurt your wrist scrolling through bottom of the barrel comments and insults plaguing Facebook and Twitter when you can simply attend a local township board meeting? The Winfield Township Board on Wednesday evening voted to send a wind energy draft ordinance back to the Planning Commission amid an absolutely chaotic meeting. The Daily News reporter, who was sitting in the front row close to the township board, struggled to hear much of the board’s discussion due to the never-ending . . .
  • Montcalm Township Board sending draft wind rules to planner
    From responding to daily voicemails to locating and sorting through stacks of paperwork, the first 20 days on the job as Montcalm Township supervisor have been a learning experience for Brian Blomstrom. Appointed last month following the resignation of former supervisor Doug Crowley, Blomstrom ran his first board meeting Wednesday evening while becoming acclimated with the nuances of the board in the process. “I’m still learning as we go,” he said toward the start of the meeting. “Hopefully we have . . .
  • Summer of recalls
    This year will be remembered for the slew of recall efforts against officials in Ionia and Montcalm counties on a variety of topics ranging from wind and solar energy to budget issues to wastewater treatment. DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP On Monday, enough signatures were filed against three Douglass Township Board members related to the wind ordinance controversy in that township to place the recall on the November ballot. A total of 239 signatures were needed to initiate a recall against Supervisor Terry . . .
  • Residents split on proposed wind farm in Ingham County
    Climate experts have called for more renewable energy, with electric vehicles and wind energy rising in popularity. Apex Clean Energy wants to bring wind farms to Ingham County, more specifically Wheatfield Township. However, you could hear windmills in the future. Dr. Wanda Isa, who is a part of the Ingham County Citizens United (ICCU), lives in Wheatfield and is concerned about the noise wind turbines would bring if Apex Energy moves forward. The ICCU claims this could drive down property . . .
  • Popcorn and protests
    On May 7, [resident Kimberly] Croy had a Public Forum letter published in the Daily News stating in part to the Douglass Township Board, “You cannot even clean up Entrican in all these years, we cannot trust you to to enforce (wind) turbine violations.” [Resident Keith] Phelps then wrote a May 10 letter to Douglass Township Supervisor Terry Anderson with an attachment listing 29 names and addresses containing alleged unplated vehicles. Phelps’ letter and complaint was signed by himself only, but specifically referenced Croy’s letter to the editor.
  • Douglass Township man ordered to leave meeting
    The Douglass Township Planning Commission meeting had only been underway for a few minutes Wednesday evening when a verbal altercation resulted in a man being ordered to leave. The incident began when Robert Scott of Sidney Township asked Planning Commission Vice Chairwoman Tammy Sweeris whether she was aware that her father Keith Phelps and her brother Kevin Phelps had signed leases with Apex Clean Energy regarding property in Belvedere Township. Scott added that anything Sweeris says on the topic of . . .
  • Douglass Township Planning Commission advances 2 wind ordinances
    The Douglass Township Planning Commission is recommending the township board approve two wind energy ordinances – a newly created one, plus one from 2017 that was never properly noticed or adopted – as well as recommending the board vote to rescind the 2017 ordinance altogether. The three votes came during a chaotic meeting Wednesday at which a man was ordered to leave the meeting after an outburst, a Planning Commission member was ordered to leave the table due to a conflict of . . .
  • Oakfield Twp. Planning Commission sets public hearing for wind, solar ordinances
    The Oakfield Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on June 21 for proposed wind energy and solar energy ordinances. Township Supervisor Greg Dean requested that township attorney James Scales of the Mika Meyers law firm draw up the drafts, which the Planning Commission reviewed during a May 17 meeting. Planning Commission Chairman James Tilton, Township Board Trustee Bryan Porter and planning commissioners Anthony Marko, Dannie Marko, William Pelak, David Pusczak and Ashlee Vanderkooi were all present at the . . .
  • Bronson Township won’t pass zoning ordinance
    Bronson Township’s plan to create a zoning ordinance are dead. The township board in early 2020 named members to Bronson Township Planning Commission, with plans to begin meetings in March to draft an ordinance. COVID-19 and the lockdown intervened. “Everything kind of came to a screeching halt,” Township supervisor Ken Carpenter said. “We couldn’t meet face-to-face.” Some members of the planning commission did not have electronic access for Zoom meetings, Carpenter said. “Once they started to open things up, there . . .
  • Return to feudalism must be stopped
    In the sixth century BC, Athens had one of the earliest examples of a functioning democratic form of government. They used a pebble system where the men of the city would drop a white or black pebble into an urn for a yes or no vote. In 404 BC the Spartans conquered Athens but allowed a form of their government to remain. In 338 BC the Macedonians conquered Athens and expunged the last form of self government from the world. . . .
  • Have Montcalm County planners lost their way?
    Historically the Montcalm County Planning Commission has encouraged townships to preserve the natural beauty and rural character of our community. However, over the past year, commission members have been critical of wind ordinances developed by Sidney, Pine, and Maple Valley townships that were designed to do just that. (See Daily News June 23, 2021, March 9, 2022, and May 5, 2022) In addition, they have heaped praise on Winfield Township’s draft wind ordinance that would allow wind turbines with no . . .
  • Maple Valley Township Board tables wind ordinance
    The Maple Valley Township Board tabled a proposed wind ordinance Monday, followed by nearly an hour of passionate public comments. The township’s Planning Commission in April recommended the ordinance to the township board. The Montcalm County Planning Commission reviewed the ordinance on May 2 and made suggestions, including John Johansen recommending the removal of “Lmax” from the sound language, changing shadow flicker language to “occupied buildings” instead of from non-participating property lines, decreasing the three times tip height setback for . . .
  • Letter another example of a lack on integrity
    To the Douglass Township Board in reply to the letter you sent to my address through the Patriots for Montcalm. I am not part of an anti-renewable energy group, nor is anyone in this township part of that group. I am part of a township coalition working toward protecting Douglass township from the hazards of the big fans. Please stop portraying us as the bad guys while you play victim. You are not the victims. You are the perpetrators of . . .
  • Delta County may pass zoning to townships
    The county’s zoning ordinance lays out how properties can be used, sets zone-specific building requirements, and outlines restrictions for developments that could be considered nuisances or environmental hazards, such as wind farms, commercial dog kennels, and gas stations. If the ordinance were to be repealed, communities now under the county’s rules would have to develop their own zoning or accept that development would happen organically and without any protection for residents against the actions of their neighbors.
  • Industrial wind turbines … the corruption of zoning
    Industrializing rural counties with commercial wind turbines will deconstruct many aspects of country life, none so obvious as zoning. Zoning regulation exists to protect us from development infringing on adjacent property rights and values, as well as to preserve the essential nature of our communities by creating zones of like kind areas of development. Effective zoning promotes orderly development, harmonious with the nature of the community as a whole. To pretend industrial turbines are harmonious with agricultural farming in rural . . .
  • Time to put wind issue to rest
    I just finished the story on the “study” put together by the Upjohn Institute. You could say it could be construed as an advertisement for Apex Clean Energy instead of study. Anyone find it interesting that the author of this study has no dogs in the fight even though he was paid to write this study with funding by Apex? Sounds similar to lease holders being on township boards and not recusing themselves from decisions on turbine zoning issues even . . .
  • Richland Township approves wind ordinance, skips county review
    A new wind energy ordinance approved by the Richland Township Board will take effect next week. The township board voted on March 3 to approve the ordinance and to send it to an attorney for final approval. The vote was unanimous with Supervisor Jody Penrod, Clerk Laurie Darmody, Treasurer Connie Marshall and trustees Scott Marshall and Cal Callison all voting “yes.” The township published notice of adoption of the ordinance in the April 13 issue of the Daily News stating . . .
  • Whitmer’s support of nuclear power shows how renewable energy has fallen short
    Data from the Energy Information Agency show that Michigan is still depending much more on nuclear power than renewables.
  • 3 Douglass Township Board members sign letter as recall looms
    “I will be signing the (recall) petition along with my husband,” [township resident Kim] Croy said. “You have proven yourselves unworthy of the elected position you currently hold and nothing you say at this point could mend the rift that you have created by being so arrogant to those who once trusted you.” “Thank you for the letter,” township resident Wendie Switala told the township board. “It really clarified a lot of things. “Stop it,” she told them. “Stop the flyers, stop the attorneys, do what you’re going to do because we’re going to referendum it (the wind ordinance) anyhow. So quit wasting the taxpayers’ money. Our time to vote is coming.”
  • Montcalm County Planning Commission praises Winfield Township wind ordinance, recommends changes to Maple Valley Township ordinance
    Leslie Rydahl of Pine Township also addressed Johansen. “There are a lot of people within Montcalm County that do not want to see our county end up like Gratiot or Isabella counties,” Rydahl said. “Mr. Johansen is simply reiterating the Apex preferred wind ordinance. I think what you’re failing to recognize is that you have a lot of people in your county who don’t want these at all. I understand a couple of you gentlemen are really, really for this project and there are a lot of people in Montcalm County who are taking offense to that.
  • Benko elected, Welder recalled from Sidney Township Board
    The leader of a group “advocating against the irresponsible and invasive placement of industrial wind turbines and solar arrays in Montcalm County” was elected to the Sidney Township Board on Tuesday, ousting a trustee who supports a proposed wind farm and who voted against the township’s wind energy ordinance. Erik Benko received 389 votes in Tuesday’s recall election compared to incumbent Trustee Jed Welder who received 196 votes – a 63% to 32% margin. Sidney Township saw a 32% voter turnout – . . .