CATO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The green energy debate led to four recalls in two different West Michigan townships Tuesday.
In Montcalm County’s Cato Township near Lakeview, the debate was over wind farms, while in Keene Township in Ionia County near Saranac, it was over solar farms.
“I never would have thought I’d be in this position,” said Marcy Myers, who defeated Cato Township Trustee Jourdan Lindsay in Tuesday’s recall vote.
Myers has been a critic of Cato Township’s wind farm ordinance since the township board adopted it in 2022. Cato Township farm fields remain free of the tall, swooshing wind turbines that have popped up in many other rural communities, but that could change under the 2022 ordinance.
The township’s planning commission had written an earlier ordinance that satisfied wind farm critics like Myers. Then, the board of trustees did an about-face, making changes to the planning commission measure that loosened restrictions.
“They worked on a good, safe ordinance. Never said that the industrial wind can’t come in. But we wanted to make sure it protected everybody, everybody’s interest,” Myers said.
Myers hopes to rewrite the current ordinance to reflect what the planning commission originally proposed.
But is she concerned rewriting the rules may trigger lawsuits from wind farm developers with lawyers and deep pockets?
“I’m not paying a whole lot of attention to that, versus just focusing on my township and working to do what our citizens want,” she said.
Brandi Clark-Hubbard, another critic of the ordinance, beat the current supervisor in Tuesday’s recall.
In Keene Township, where the township supervisor and treasure were kicked out of office, the energy generation effort was different, but the philosophical debate was the same: Cover farm fields with solar panels to collect the sun rays for clean energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, or cover valuable farmland for what critics contend is an unreliable source of energy?
Both were local issues on Tuesday. The debate is familiar to many rural communities.
“I just think it’s coming in way too fast. And we need to slow down and take a look at the future,” Myers said.
News 8 reached out to those defeated in Tuesday’s recall election. They either declined on-camera interviews or didn’t return calls.