All that are concerned about our farmland and solar developers stealing our land need to pay attention to Greene County's Kingwood Solar project. This is a HUGE development for Ohio and all future projects waiting to be voted on. This is very relatable to Fountain Point Solar because I'm pretty sure we have the largest opposition of all the projects on record at the OPSB.
Here is a quick rundown of the case. Kingwood was denied by the Ohio Power Siting Board in December of 2022. The order was appealed by the developer, Vesper, and it has now made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court. At issue is the OPSB’s interpretation of “public interest”. We have reported previously that developers want to diminish the impact of local opposition by requiring consideration of air quality, climate change, jobs and so forth as overriding criteria which serve the public interest and should take prominence over local citizen protests. Last week the Ohio Senate weighed in by filing an Amicus Brief in the case that speaks to their legislative intent in Senate Bill 52 with respect to “public interest”. The Brief is attached and is required reading!
The Senate makes two important points, one of which is as follows:
“The Senate appeared as amicus curiae to make two brief but important points. First, the language of R.C. 4609.10(A)(6) is meant to ensure that the public—particularly local governments and local citizens closest to proposed projects—can speak to whether a particular project will in fact serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. Second, Senate Bill 52 of the 134th General Assembly does not undercut the importance of local communities’ views when reviewing a project under R.C. 4906.10(A)(6). Kingwood’s view of SB 52 is not consistent with plain language of that enactment.”
In its Conclusion, the Senate states: “Kingwood believes it understands the public interest better than locally elected governments could, and that it understands SB 52 better than the Senators who drafted and passed it. The Court should reject both assertions and instead affirm the opinion of the Power Siting Board.”
If the Ohio Supreme Court upholds the OPSB’s interpretation of public interest, it should once and for all derail efforts of the developers to marginalize the voices of the local citizens. And THAT IS A GOOD THING.