UPDATE: Oakfield Township Clerk Sue Trainer replied to our Freedom of Information Act and said the township had no records about the possible wind ordinance other than the record of the initial mention of the ordinance during an August meeting.
The township board of trustees will meet Sept. 14 to discuss the potential ordinance further, Trainer said. C&BP will monitor further developments.
Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) has filed a request under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act seeking details of Oakfield Township’s consideration of an ordinance that will affect development of wind energy projects in the area.
Located in Kent County, Oakfield has no current wind project applications. However, local officials said they want an ordinance to guide any future projects and minimize the kind of acrimonious debates that have stalled wind projects in nearby townships.
For more than 10 years, a trio of anti-wind activists led by Kevon Martis have traveled around Michigan spreading disinformation about wind projects. They have often asserted that officials supporting wind projects are corrupt.
As communities in Michigan and across the rural U.S. consider whether to host wind and solar farms, C&BP has begun reporting a series of stories on the aftermath of such considerations. With the benefit of hindsight, do supporters and opponents see things differently or the same? How do communities fare as a result of their decisions?
Tracking spread of disinformation
Part of our reporting is to examine the tactics of a core group of wind opponents, who seemed to have developed a series of tactics over the last several years. Specifically we want to determine if these activists are trying to make developing a wind project in Oakfield Township impossible by proposing an overly restrictive ordinance.
Previous C&BP reporting has shown that Martis and his allies, including anti-wind activist John Droz, have engaged in misleading tactics in other states.
The Oakfield Township FOIA request is part of a series of requests C&BP is planning to file across Michigan to determine the extent of the disinformation spread by wind opponents and whether it is shaping local policies.
Ray Locker is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.
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