Parties seek stay in Buckeye Wind case


By Nick Walton - nwalton@civitasmedia.com



COLUMBUS – A joint motion between the developers of the Buckeye Wind project and one of the project’s intervening parties was filed Tuesday seeking a stay in proceedings at the Ohio State Supreme Court.

Within the joint motion, Buckeye Wind LLC and citizens group Union Neighbors United (UNU) are motioning the court to stay a current case so the parties can continue settlement negotiations.

In October 2015, UNU filed a notice of appeal, appealing the Ohio Power Siting Board’s decision to approve an extension in the first phase of the project.

Project developer EverPower filed a motion for extension of certificate in July 2014, asking the board to extend the certificate granted in the first phase of the project in March 2010.

The original certificate authorized the company to construct the project with development to commence no later than March 22, 2015. When the board approved the extension in August 2014, the certificate date was moved to May 28, 2018, which is also the deadline for construction to begin on the second phase of the project.

Oral arguments in the case were held before the state Supreme Court in February.

A memorandum within Tuesday’s motion states this case is one of several between Buckeye Wind and UNU since 2009 but the parties have recently made significant progress in settlement negotiations to resolve disputes that have arisen out of the current and past cases.

“Certain issues, however, will require additional time to address and resolve,” the motion states. “To that end, appellants and intervening appellee believe that a stay of this proceeding will be helpful in reaching a final settlement of the disputes between appellants and intervening appellee.”

The motion states the parties understand the current proceeding was argued and is now before the court for consideration and request the court halt its consideration of the case so the parties can attempt to resolve the case through settlement rather than litigation.

“With assurance of additional time without any decision issuing in this case, appellants and intervening appellee will work diligently to settle their disputes and will notify the court within 60 days after entry of an order granting this motion regarding the status of the negotiations and whether the stay may be lifted,” the motion states. “In addition or in the alternative, appellants and intervening appellee agree that the case can be referred to the court’s mediator for assistance in resolving the outstanding issues if the court prefers that course of action.”

Under development since 2006, the Buckeye Wind project proposed to construct more than a combined 100 turbines in Champaign County through two phases of the project.

Previously, the state Supreme Court has affirmed the board’s decision in a case related to the project three times.

After oral arguments in the first phase of the project were held in September 2011, the court affirmed the board’s decision in March 2012.

In April 2016, the court affirmed the decision of the board in granting certificate in the second phase of the project after oral arguments were held in December 2015.

In September 2016, the court affirmed the board’s decision to approve an amendment to the first phase of the project after oral arguments were held last July.

By Nick Walton

nwalton@civitasmedia.com

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.