BigWind actively lobbying Ohio Gov. Kasich with ‘poppycock’

It appears as though the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is actively lobbying Governor Kasich and the legislature to repeal the current property line setbacks. Ohio Senator Bill Seitz has shared his most recent correspondence to Kasich and his staff as well as Public Utility Committee members in the legislature. Seitz rebuts ACORE, asks rhetorically if we should not protect our neighbors and asserts “Big Wind’s real gripe is that the new setback requirements may have increased the cost of compensating the neighbors for using the neighbors’ land in satisfaction of Big Wind’s setback obligation; they now have to pay for what they formerly got for free.

Sadly, the OPSB has yet to apply those more protective setbacks to any project that was approved years ago despite taller turbines and a greater understanding of their impacts. In fact, the OPSB hasn’t even established rules for noise were required by law years ago. A new bill, Senate Bill 303, has been introduced by Senator Seitz and two other Senators to improve rule making which affects business but it also extends “the rule review process to inaction on rules that are required to be developed but have not been written by an agency. JCARR Director Larry Wolpert cited the example of the Power Siting Board, which was required to develop rules on noise and lighting at wind turbines but failed to do so. “ (JCARR is the Joint Committee for Agency Rule Review)…

TO: Gov. Kasich, care of Wayne Struble and Merle Madrid

CC: All House and Senate Public Utility Committee Members
FROM: Senator Bill Seitz
DATE: April 12, 2016
RE: Energy Mandates; More Poppycock from the American Council on Renewable Energy

You may have recently received an April 12 letter from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) to Gov. Kasich making the case for relaxation of the wind turbine setback requirements enacted in 2014. The only change we made in 2014 was to measure the pre-existing setback requirements from the neighbors’ property line instead of from the neighbors’ home. This change simply recognized that the former setback constituted a form of “trespass zoning” in which the wind developer could claim neighbors’ property in satisfaction of the developer’s setback requirement. See enclosed article recently published in several Ohio newspapers, for details.

The letter makes the further unsupported claim that the original and new setback requirements are “among the most restrictive in the nation.” This, too, is poppycock. In my office is a compendium of wind setback requirements throughout the US and in foreign countries. Any of you are welcome to get a copy. Our laws are very much in the mainstream. Moreover, Ohio is a far more densely populated state than are most of the US jurisdictions that have developed wind farms. Shouldn’t we protect our neighbors?

Finally, ACORE’s letter leaves unsaid the fact that the setbacks may be waived by neighboring property owners who are either paid by the wind developer to waive their rights or who do not mind 400-600 foot tall (occasionally) whirring turbine towers in close proximity to their homes. Big Wind’s real gripe is that the new setback requirements may have increased the cost of compensating the neighbors for using the neighbors’ land in satisfaction of Big Wind’s setback obligation; they now have to pay for what they formerly got for free.

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