The Association of Indiana Counties (AIC) and Indiana Association of County Commissioners (IACC) are opposed to House Bill 1381, preempting local control for the siting of wind and commercial solar projects. Nearly 60 Indiana Counties have passed resolutions or written letters in opposition of HB 1381.
“We are opposed to HB 1381 because it removes a county’s ability to negotiate on behalf of the community,” said Ken Paust, Wayne County Commissioner and AIC President. “Citizens who live and work in these communities are the best ones to make the decision and will have their county’s best interest in mind. House Bill 1381 negates the ability to develop long term, compatible land uses crafted through local public meetings.”
If HB 1381 is enacted, wind and solar companies will be able to install projects that meet state standards but may conflict with future economic development projects, planned residential development, or even road expansions.
“Local citizens should have the right to voice their opinion on what is being built in and around their properties,” said Tom Wall, Huntington County Commissioner and IACC President. “The passing of this bill will remove the ability of the county to set their own standards. Commercial and industrial projects can reduce the value of a neighbor’s property so the decision about where these projects are located should be made at the community level.”
The AIC and IACC are not opposed to renewable energy. For some rural counties, renewable energy projects have created higher tax revenue and funding for critical capital projects.
“In White County, we have been very successful being able to negotiate our own renewable energy projects,” said Steven Burton, White County Commissioner. “We are not anti-renewable energy, but I am concerned over the precedent that could be set by the passing of House Bill 1381. What other industries will the state feel the need to set standards and remove the voice of the local people?”
House Bill 1381 passed the House of Representatives 58-38 and will now go to the Senate.
The Association of Indiana Counties, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 1957 for the betterment of county government. The various functions of the AIC include lobbying the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of counties, serving as liaison among counties, state and federal agencies as well as providing technical assistance and training to county officials and employees.
The Indiana Association of County Commissioners is a nonprofit organization established to provide the best education, leadership support, and advocacy services for our County Commissioners to strengthen their influence throughout Indiana. The objectives of the Association are to promote cooperation of the county unit with all other units of local government, (cities, towns, township, etc.) and with state and federal agencies; and to promote improvement and efficiency in the delivery of county government services. The various functions of the IACC include serving as liaison among counties, state, and federal agencies, lobbying the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of County Commissioners, as well as providing technical assistance and training to county commissioners and support staff.