The knives are out! We recently shared with you the Opinion article co-written by Senator Bill Seitz and Kevon Martis concerning “trespass zoning” a term coined to describe the practical effect of measuring industrial wind turbine setbacks from homes instead of property lines. Seitz and Martis stated their belief that zoning which allowed the noise, flicker and other nuisances to enter a neighboring non-participating property was, in effect, one more subsidy for wind. The ‘environmental activist’ community went nuts even though, as far as we can tell, only the Lima paper published the piece. We believe it was sent to the media in other affected communities but was not picked up. But the Lima piece touched a nerve. Perhaps because on Monday, Ohio Democrats introduced new legislation (House Bill 472) to unfreeze the mandates and roll back setbacks.
Notwithstanding, the Natural Resources Dense Council and AWEA’s local lobbyist Dayna Baird lashed out in response to the Seitz/Martis trespass zoning charges. In their media response, they tried to equate natural gas pipelines buried in the ground to 600’+ industrial power plants with exposed moving parts and flashing lights. Baird asserts “anecdotal arguments about sound problems and other claimed nuisance issues are also unjustified. As an example, she pointed to Ohio’s Blue Creek Wind farm, which has more than 1,300 people living within a mile of it. Since it began operating in 2011, neighbors have made only 24 complaints, and most of them dealt with TV reception.” We remind Ms. Baird that all of those leaseholders and people who signed setback waivers also agreed to gag orders so that even if they had a problem, they couldn’t talk about it. Maybe legislation should outlaw these confidentiality clauses.
It was also rather astonishing to see Baird reference a GE Report that actually says “For the stillest, most rural areas, Longtin says the background noise is 30 decibels. At that level, a turbine located about a mile away wouldn’t be heard.” Difficult as it may be, everyone should read the NRDC/AWEA article and it should make you angry, very angry.
Moving on, the local officials of Somerset , New York near Buffalo just enacted a local law in response to a planned Apex project. The law “requires wind developers to pay for a baseline study of the health of residents who want to take part. Developers would have to pay reimbursements to property owners whose land values fall because of turbines within two miles, and sets rules for decommissioning unused windmills.” We will watch to see what Apex does with that!
MasterResource reprints a letter from a doctor in Falmouth, Mass. Who eloquently writes “Later on, as I leaned against one of the houses in the neighborhood, I felt an unusual sensation best described as compression, coupled with a rhythmic vibration felt through my feet. Anyone who discredits, demeans and calls the affected turbine neighbors “crazy” hasn’t done his or her homework, in addition to being mean spirited. The homework is not difficult: stand in the turbine neighborhood for as long as I have and feel what happens to you. The sensations are real and disturbing. It is totally clear to me that I could not live within the radius of influence of the turbines, and I have no idea how the neighbors who are in the turbine area can sustain a healthy quality of life.”
As the drumbeat to move forward with reinstating the renewable mandates grows louder and the deadline for legislative action draws nearer, the pressure will mount to change the property line setback. It is likely that the wind industry will try to change setbacks in the context of lifting the freeze. When the freeze will terminate is under discussion now with the Governor’s Office. A complicating factor is the status of the federal Clean Power Plan. It is possible that the freeze could continue a bit further until there is clarity on whether the CPP is dead or alive. The fight to end the freeze and restore the mandate for wind and solar will be aggressively pushed and FUNDED as the Ohio Environmental Council and the Ohio League of Conservation Voters announce the creation of a fund to lobby legislators. Their press release states “Efforts will include communicating with the public and creating a drumbeat in certain lawmakers’ districts on important issues, said Aryeh Alex, director of the fund. Ultimately, the group will tell voters whether they should support or oppose particular candidates.” It appears our work is never done as these people advance like Huns over the horizon.
And we continue to watch the ongoing tensions in Logan and Hardin County continue after the EverPower settlement with Indian Lake residents. The media published a story on the Fight the Wind group which was immediately followed by response from EverPower….
The Somerset Town Board passed a law Wednesday that the developer of a proposed wind power project in the town said would make that project illegal…
Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va., is proposing to erect as many as 70 wind turbines in Somerset and the neighboring Town of Yates, in Orleans County. The turbines would be as much as 620 feet tall, counting the length of the propeller blades, according to the company.
But the Lighthouse Wind project, as Apex calls it, is solidly unpopular with residents. Both towns mailed surveys to property owners, and the results were 67 percent opposition in Somerset and 65 percent in Yates…
the law requires wind developers to pay for a baseline study of the health of residents who want to take part. Developers would have to pay reimbursements to property owners whose land values fall because of turbines within two miles, and sets rules for decommissioning unused windmills….