Ohio BigWind news…lots of it

Apex v Rush County Indiana BZA

We can breathe a sigh of relief that the legislature has gone home for summer recess and, in the case of the House, they might not come back until after the election. But that does not mean it is time to rest! It is time to go see your elected officials while they are home.

In the meantime, the national election is heating up and the national party platforms are being drafted. Politico reports that energy is emerging as a central issue for the Republican Party Platform and the direction doesn’t actually sound like something our Governor will be delighted about. Politico notes that at a recent RNC meeting to discuss the platform, “Several participants agreed that Trump and GOP congressional candidates should focus on “exploiting the contrast between the two parties on energy issues,” the source said, with an emphasis on the need for affordable and reliable energy and expanded oil and gas development.” Clinton and Sanders have vowed to shut down all coal and ban fracking.

The wind industry is getting worried about the election and specifically about Donald Trump. One industry media outlet whined that “We would love to see some pro-wind policies from Trump. Failing that we would like to see an energy policy that is coherent and thought-out, which gives investors certainty. But we are unlikely to get either.”

The Springfield News Sun and the Dayton Daily News recently ran a front page story about the hearing that took place in the legislature last month (must be a slooooowww news day.) This was the hearing where Amazon testified as well as UNU’s Julie Johnson about Sub. HB 190 to reduce setbacks. Perhaps the newspaper is colluding with the wind industry as hearings on the Ohio Power Siting Board rules will take place next week. We were happy to file a comment on the story announcing the joyous news from Rush County, Indiana that the court had upheld a challenge filed by Apex against the setbacks there. The Court stated the evidence supported a 2,300’ setback from PROPERTY LINES to protect the health of residents and the value of property. The Court also determined that such setbacks did not constitute an illegal de facto moratorium on wind development. We are sure that Apex will appeal the decision but it will be difficult because the citizens had the testimony of noise experts, Acoustic Ecology.

Messaging – this is the next tsunami. AWEA is pushing for massive mobilization of social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instgram, whatever. Can you help us combat this? Almost every time a pro wind letter to the Editor is planted in the paper, it gets picked up by services that send summaries of the news to lawmakers and administration officials.  One bright spot we see is the formation of a group called ClearPath. They will be messaging a conservative approach to clean energy: “The organization has run multiple advertising and advocacy campaigns to convince Republicans that clean energy sources like hydropower, nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal can be conservative, and to back policies that advance them.”

As the conservatives gear up to push back against the politically correct messaging known as “greenwashing” – Whirpool is giving a whole new meaning to greenwashing as it announced it will build wind turbines at its washing machine and dishwasher plants in Marion and Ottawa, Ohio. The messaging people could actually have a field day with this. Oh – and this weekend is the Green Energy Ohio tour – if you want to know if you are in a community on the tour, check the article below. Much of the wind on the tour appears to be small wind.

We encourage everyone who can travel to the Ohio Power Siting Board next Thursday for the formal hearing on rules for industrial wind turbines. It is important to stress the need for ENFORCEABLE standards like 5 decibels above the background as measured by the formula recommended by acoustical experts – it is called L90. The noise needs to be measured at the property line. There should be much better disclosure about where leases have been signed because people are in the dark until it is too late. Wind developers need to publically state their intentions before they start and leases need to be fully recorded. There should be prohibitions on gag orders that do not allow leaseholders to complain.  If we can assist anyone who would like to testify, please let us know….