KBIC Tribal Council opposes wind project

Katrice Perkins/Daily Mining Gazette Nancy Haun and Fran Whitman, representing Friends of the Huron Mountains address the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Council, asking the tribe to join the opposition to the Summit Lake Wind Project proposed by the Renewable Energy Systems Group.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Council discussed its opposition to the proposed Summit Lake Wind Project at its Saturday meeting.

Council president Warren “Chris” Swartz Jr. discussed his conversation with a Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Group representative and members of the L’Anse Township Board and Planning Commission.

“I was surprised to hear the number of things that this proposed wind project may or may not do, and my biggest concern was the impact it may have on treaty-protected resources and the offsets each one of these turbines displace in terms of land,” said Swartz.

“I’m just concerned that all of these cumulative impacts from industry corporations are going to have an effect on the generations to come,” he added.

Swartz read a draft of a letter he wrote addressed to the L’Anse Township supervisor regarding the proposed Summit Lake Wind Project. The draft proposed that the township “should up their zoning ordinance to include regulations regarding wind turbines to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community.”

The council was addressed by Fran Whitman and Nancy Haun representing Friends of the Huron Mountains, who presented maps, their thoughts on the proposed RES wind project and a petition with more than 300 signatures of people opposing the projects

They addressed tourism effects and trails, bullying of local council members and asked for the council’s support in opposition.

“Do we advocate the Township Board to make this decision, or do we move forward for a referendum?” Swartz asked. “One reason to move forward with the referendum is I don’t think a referendum has been lost in Michigan in regards to these types of activities.”

Whitman stated on 17 occasions, referendums regarding wind turbines were defeated.

“I’m not against wind energy at all, but I do have a problem when where they’re putting it has absolutely no benefit to the local community,” Tribal Council member Doreen Blaker said,

She added, “I think there’s a place that wind energy can go. …(B)ut I do have a problem when they want to put it in, to me, an area that isn’t sustainable.”

The council agreed to oppose the project and present a resolution at the upcoming L’Anse Township meeting on Wednesday.