Ohio gets ‘messy’ when ‘clean energy’ (BigWind) plays ‘dirty’

Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 2.38.54 PM

Thank you to the Toledo Blade, for covering ‘the rest of the story’. It is rumored that BigWind is steaming mad about this article and they are using muscle to get it retracted. Would you please take a moment to send the news site a thank you? Getting the truth out can be very hard….

We are led to believe that the fictional Madge and Gladys types could be sitting at the regionally-famous local café here, discussing Seneca County politics.

They fawn all over two county commissioners who are supporting the wind turbine project that would spread more than 80 towers across the farmland to the east, with a potentially devastating impact on bats, bald eagles, migratory birds, and the rural landscape. The duo chatter on about the wind business bringing “millions in new revenue to our county” and being a boon to schools, roads, and construction jobs.

Then the sludge barrel is opened, and the spin machine is set to turbo. Commissioner Mike Kerschner, a Republican who opposes the current arrangement with wind energy companies, then gets blasted by the pair of apron-wearing, county fair pie-baking mavens. “I guess Kerschner is against good jobs, better schools, and lower taxes,” they conclude in the radio spot. Giggles follow.

This is clean energy playing dirty.

I don’t know Mike Kerschner, but I’ll assume he likes good jobs, better schools, lower taxes, puppies, rainbows, and occasionally helping an elderly woman cross the street. His mortal sin is pulling back the curtain on a big wind project and asking just what the Wizard of Oz is doing back there.

The radio ads, which saturated the air waves in recent weeks, are the product of a Columbus-based entity with the seemingly innocuous name Economic Prosperity Project. Follow the dusty, purposely circuitous trail further, and you’ll find a Florida-based outfit named Strategic Image Management was paid $20,600 to concoct the radio ads. On its website, one Strategic Image Management employee brags about successful efforts “where TEA Party candidates were used to syphon Republican votes in swing districts to help Democrats retain or flip seats.”

Economic Prosperity Project keeps its financiers confidential.

The firm sPower is the Salt Lake City-based entity behind the Seneca Wind project.

Dan Williamson, senior vice president of Paul Werth Associates — a public relations firm for sPower — said sPower in no way funded the radio campaign, adding they want nothing to do with such an attack on Mr. Kerschner.

“While the commissioner has his position, we respect it,” Mr. Williamson said. “He is a fine public servant and not only would we not run an ad like that, we do not support an ad like that, and we denounce it.”

https://players.brightcove.net/1146616445001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5841949793001

The effort is even swampier when you consider the potential damage that 80-some giant turbines could inflict on bald eagles, migratory birds, and bats. Wind energy companies hire their own experts, conduct their own studies and carefully carve out their own conclusions….

“The data that has been gathered is junk,” said Shieldcastle, who throughout his 30-plus years as a wildlife biologist has focused his work on avian research. “This is the same ballgame that is going on with every wind farm project — the data is trash. There is nothing to support their claims of little impact. They are not answering the questions they are supposed to answer, and basically they are getting away with everything they can.”…

He is not a lone voice in the wilderness with his concerns about where wind turbines are placed.

Bats gain little attention since they do their work under the cover of darkness, devouring billions of insects and saving the agricultural industry loads of money in pest control. But experts fear they could be the most frequent victims of long blades slicing through the night air. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation reported that in just two months, the turbines at the Backbone Mountain wind farm chopped up some 2,000 bats…

And then there is the human impact. Some Seneca County farmers signed wind turbine leases years ago when they were sold by John Deere. That paper changed hands a few times before landing in sPower’s portfolio, and the prospect of one farmer’s 650-foot tall wind turbine casting its huge King Kong erector set shadow over a neighbor’s rural estate has created a schism of tension and resentment across the wind project’s 25,000-acre footprint in Scipio, Venice, Reed, Bloom and Eden townships…

“This wind project will change Seneca County to look like Seneca County on mars,” said Jim Feasel, a retired builder who owns an 800-acre farm in the county but turned down significant financial overtures to put wind turbines on his property. “I just couldn’t do that to my neighbors.”…

The group opposing the wind project contends that, along with the destructive impact on birds and other wildlife, the monetary incentives that sPower will receive are too high a price to pay for what the county landowners will lose in quality of life. They quote investment guru Warren Buffett, who said: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Shieldcastle, the research director for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in nearby Oak Harbor, who said his organization has not been contacted by the wind companies to consult on potential bird and bat impact, said the torches and pitchforks are appropriate when citizens raise questions about wind farms.

“I’m glad to see people are standing up for themselves because it is becoming more and more obvious that these companies are trying to bully and intimidate anyone who opposes them or even asks questions,” he said…

 

Toledo Blade

Advertisements