- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

BAD AXE, Mich. (AP) - Voters have rejected plans to expand the number of wind turbines in an eastern Michigan county along Lake Huron.

The two proposals rejected Tuesday would’ve added dozens of more wind turbines in Huron County, at the tip of the state’s Thumb region. The county is already home to most of the 28 utility-scale wind farms in operation or under development in Michigan, according to the state Public Service Commission.

One of the rejected proposals would have allowed DTE Energy to implement 70 turbines in four townships. The second proposal sought approval for NextEra Energy Resources to implement 60 turbines.

Opponents said the projects would have negatively affected the “quality of life” in the county.

“All I can say is, the people have spoken,” said Denise Rice, secretary of the Huron County Wind Resistance. “We didn’t persuade them any more than asking them and pleading with them to go to the polls with our big advertising dollars. But, they showed up, and they said, ‘no.’ Victory for the people is what we’re saying.”

NextEra spokesman Bryan Garner said the county has “experienced an economic setback” by rejecting the developments.

“You know, I think some people just couldn’t answer the question, ‘How does this benefit me directly?’” he said.

DTE spokeswoman Cindy Hecht said the company was disappointed but remains committed to the county and appreciates the support for its wind parks already operating in the area. Hecht said.

“We are committed to maintaining these parks to the highest standards and to providing our customers with energy that is safe, reliable, affordable and cleaner,” Hecht said.

Hecht said the energy company will continue to evaluate areas statewide for possible wind projects in order to meet Michigan’s renewable energy standard goal of 15 percent by 2021.

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