Ohio testifies against (HB 114) BigWind in a BigWay

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Yesterday was a huuuuggge day at the Statehouse where rural landowners from
Champaign, Van Wert, Seneca, Huron, Richland, Allen, Hardin and Logan
Counties assembled to provide opponent testimony against the proposed
setbacks in Sub. H.B.  114.   Fifty-three separate testimonies were
submitted for the record and twenty of them were presented verbally by a
great group of people including a Van Wert County Commissioner. All
testimony can be downloaded or viewed on the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee website at
http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committees/energy-and-natural-resources/document-a
rchive .   The room was packed and those who made the long trip to Columbus
left quite an impression on anyone who saw us fill the main floor and the
balcony. We spent 3 1/2 hours stating our concerns and Chairman Balderson was kind enough to let everyone say what they came to say without time constraints.

We rebutted the notion that Ohio’s setbacks were the most restrictive in
the nation by showing that the universe of states to which we can be
compared is just four states.  If H.B. 114 is passed with 1.2x turbine
height setbacks, Ohio will have the third least protective setbacks in the
nation with South Dakota (46th in population rank) and Wisconsin being worse
than Ohio.  Wisconsin measures 1.1x turbine height to the property line and
1,125′ to the residence.  The Wisconsin Town Association adopted a
Resolution a few years ago calling for a Moratorium on further wind
development and the Brown County Board of Health deemed them to be a human
health hazard.

We presented a powerful testimony documenting the property losses
experienced inside the Blue Creek Wind project.   We uniformly presented
opposition to measurement from anything but the property line and opposition
to any reduction in current setbacks.  We all demanded that people inside a
project footprint have a vote in whether or not a project should be
approved.  One opponent actually lives inside Blue Creek.  She described
the awful nuisance effects and said there were times she had to leave the
area.

Senator Dolan was ready with questions we suspect were prepared for him by
the wind lobby.  He was essentially the only one speaking on behalf of wind.

*       Sen. Dolan said OPSB siting was unique in the US and makes Ohio’s
wind siting the most professional, responsive and protective in the nation.
He said no other state has what we have. But OPSB’s siting decisions
routinely wind up in the Ohio Supreme Court because they are flawed. Both
county and township governments have been intervenors and their concerns,
like the citizens,  have been disregarded.  OPSB has not adopted all the
siting rules they were required by law to adopt; they have no standard for
Low Frequency Noise; they do not enforce the law requiring property line
setbacks for amended certificates; they deny requests for safety manuals and
on and on.   One Supreme Court  Justice once opined that   “Where there is
no rule, there can be no violation, and there will be no need for an
amendment.”  That seems to us like the OPSB philosophy.

*       One point in our testimony that should be reinforced is that, in
almost every other state, the setback is established via local zoning
ordinance.  In 27 states, there are numerous issues that state Public
Utility or Public Service Commissions evaluate when processing an
application for a wind project certificate but setbacks are not one of them.
(In some instances, the developer can appeal to the state Public Utilities
Commission if they object to the local zoning.)  When other state
governments issue a certificate, they simply verify the application complies
with the local setback and that  a local zoning permit has been issued. That
is what the National Conference of State Legislatures’ survey reveals.
Moreover, it reveals that almost every local zoning ordinance measures
setbacks from the property line irrespective of differences in distance.
Even AWEA’s setback  chart confirms this.

*       Sen. Dolan continues to assert that granting PILOT constitutes local
control even after testimony that EverPower’s representative told the family
of a witness they intended to build without PILOT. Dolan
attacked the witness saying she was spreading “hearsay” that was not
credible.  Dolan tried to get Julie to agree that there was no longer a
project in Champaign County because EverPower had been denied PILOT.  She
said she did not know that to be true.    Another thing to consider is that
an increasing number of developers are building the wind facilities and
selling them – to corporations; to other wind companies and to utilities.
These developers will not have to pay the tax because they won’t own the
project anymore.  Any company with a deep pocket and desire to appear green
(think Amazon or AEP) can afford to pay.

*       Sen. Dolan continues to assert the “two-pronged” setback – from the
property line and the residence addresses our concerns.  This is absolutely
laughable but it continues to have some kind of traction with legislators.
The only thing that matters is the distance from the property line. Anything
beyond that is irrelevant. The nuisance effects cross the line onto the
property on which these people pay taxes.  Although we continue to  say it
is trespass zoning and that the participating property-owner is given an
easement and compensated while the non-participating property owner carries
the burden, risks loss of property value and becomes a prisoner inside his
own house.

*       Sen. Dolan asked a witness if she would be willing to have the County Commissioners make the decision on approving a wind farm.
She said “no”.  She said some Commissioners are leaseholders.  (They also
have a conflict of interest in accepting the discretionary money which is
part of the PILOT and which can fund their own salary increases.) She
asserted the only acceptable thing would  be a vote of the affected people
inside the footprint.  It came through pretty clearly that local voters need
a voice.  A Van Wert County Commissioner stated that, even if the
people in the affected area do not have an opportunity to vote, the
Commissioners would take a straw poll anyway and that would guide them.
He also made the important point that giving local control to the
voters forces the wind companies to negotiate.  Right now they have no
incentive to negotiate and they ignore the concerns of the local community.
Related to that, he said in Paulding County the wind developer provided
a $5,000 bond to dismantle the Timber Road project.  That exposes the county
to a future liability that they probably will never be able to afford to
address.

*       Sen. Dolan asked us to acknowledge that the 2,300′ property line
setbacks adopted in Rush County, Indiana meant that a wind project could not
be built.  We said that was the choice of that community.  Further noted, Allen County, where Fort Wayne is located, voted to ban wind turbines. Noted, too, was the manager of the Blue Creek Wind Farm chose to live in Fort Wayne where he and his family would not be exposed to wind turbines. One size does not fit all.  Why
should it matter that a wind project would need to go elsewhere where they
can be accommodated?   It should be obvious to everyone that it is wrong to
facilitate a hostile takeover of a community.

*       We understand part of the reluctance to permit local zoning comes
from the Farm Bureau who thinks regulation in a rural area is the camel’s
nose under the tent and will legitimize future rural regulation such as for
hog farms.  That issue was squarely addressed in the testimony of our witness
 who said anyone who chooses to live in the country accepts that there might be pests and unpleasant odors from animal farm operations. But NO ONE expects to live inside an industrial power plant.  The farm lobby should not get away with conflating hog farms and industrial wind despite their continuing to call them “farms”.

If HB 114 were to pass in its present form, Ohio would become the dumping
ground for developers who want to site turbines ‘on the cheap’ near
transmission, rather than in more remote locations that have higher
transmission costs but fewer people.

As all of the debate continues, we are seeing more courts upholding
challenges from people who anticipate problems with proposed wind
developments.  There is recent court-related activity from Indiana, West
Virginia, Minnesota, Kansas and New York.

As noted above, Ohio does not have a standard for low frequency noise which
is below the threshold of hearing but can harm you.  We cannot see x-rays or
ultraviolet rays yet we understand exposure to them can harm us.  LFN is
harmful even though we cannot see it.  One opponent submitted written
testimony on this issue and we also recommend a good video to watch for a
better understanding of LFN at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=194&v=ZXCZ3OyklrE .

Thank you to all who traveled and submitted testimony! veryone should feel proud to Every single person mattered —democracy in action!!

BigWind challenges Life Flight in Ohio

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The Apex turbines that have been proposed in Van Wert, Seneca and Sandusky counties will be approximately 600 feet high. How many lives could be lost or impacted if BigWind forces Life Flight to alter their flight paths???? Local residents deserve the right to vote on these projects!!

A potential 200 Megawatt Wind Farm with dozens or perhaps hundreds of turbines has been proposed for Eastern Seneca County and Southern Sandusky County.

But a group of concerned citizens want more say in where the wind turbines could go…

The Seneca Anti-Wind Union is a group of property owners who feel the economic needs of the county are outweighing the needs of these property owners.

“Money, money talks and so, when we’re talking about property rights, quality of life, that sort of thing; from a politician’s standpoint, that just doesn’t stack up to money,” said Greg Smith, member of the Seneca Anti-wind Union.

The group also has health and safety concerns, as Nate Blaser, fire chief for Bloom Township said the 600 foot tall Turbines would act as a wall that air ambulances would have to fly around on a day where there’s a low cloud base.

That’s because the proposed turbines in this project range from over 450 feet to just under 600 feet, far larger than other wind turbines in northwest Ohio.

“The ceiling height, or the window that they can fly into on a cloudy day is effected by the wind turbines. The wind turbines are much larger than what we’ve seen in other parts of the state,” said Bloom Township fire chief Nate Blaser.

The group wants to allow impacted residents to have a voice in the matter, which is why they oppose current Ohio House Bill 114, which would reduce the current turbine setback, allowing them to be built closer to private property.

“Right now, the local county has their hands tied, and the residents don’t have any say…

 

Link

Don’t call yourself a ‘conservative’ if you support BigWind!

BigWind is like the plague- it has invaded everywhere, including the conservative political groups; however, it is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Conservative thinking represents wise monetary policy, not fat subsidies. BigWind’s  job creation numbers are deceptive and their influence on electricity rates are hidden. A recent discussion of both Europe and Australia’s electricity grid and costs are staggering…BigWind is making electricity UNaffordable for the average family AND business. Let us now allow this scam to continue here, in the USA. It’s time to talk about the truths with your families and your political representatives. There is great information on our site and many others. Become informed and share the truth!

But the Conservatives for Clean Energy event was just another sign of the increasing politicization of green energy….

North Carolina businessman Jay Faison founded Clear Path Action, with offices in Charlotte and Washington, D.C., to sway conservatives to champion renewable energy as a core principle. Clear Path spent $3 million on 15 GOP congressional candidates in the 2016 election cycle.

American Wind Action has made homegrown jobs the theme of television commercials airing nationally. The issue advocacy organization has plainly stated its purpose: To endorse political candidates who are strong proponents of wind energy and work to defeat their opponents. The North Carolina Sierra Club has produced YouTube videos, as well.

Even the Christian Coalition, no stranger to politics, is in on the action. It views renewable energy as an obligation to be good stewards of the planet. This month it held its third annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit with Young Conservatives for Energy Reform in Washington, D.C. The group urged immediate action to protect national, economic, and family security, with homegrown renewable jobs.

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute whose books and articles on the energy sector have been widely quoted for two decades, is dismissive of the renewable energy jobs numbers.

“Job creation is the last refuge of the subsidy seekers,” he said. “There are tens of millions of dollars at stake in government subsidies.”

The “fat subsidies” Bryce scorns include the federal renewable production tax credit. It’s $24 per megawatt hour for many wind and solar projects, and it can be claimedover 10 years. The subsidy is set to expire in 2020. But a majority Democratic Congress could repeal that sunset.

The total wind tax giveaway to date tops $176 billion. The subsidy itself costs twice the market price of natural gas, a wind energy competitor, Bryce said.

“It’s collapsing the wholesale market for electricity. It’s distorting the market,” he said.

Bryce took aim at the Amazon Wind Farm, whose 104 turbines span Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, and Avangrid Renewables, (formerly Iberdrola), its Spanish developer, as an example of what’s wrong with the subsidy cronyism.

“Iberdrola gets the tax credits, which is what they’re all about because they can sell the tax credits for cash. Then they’re using turbines that aren’t made here, and they’re creating effectively no jobs,” Bryce said.

“Amazon gets to claim, wrongly, that their data centers are using clean or green electricity” from the wind farm, Bryce said.

Bryce agreed with Carolina Journal reports that found the electricity generated in North Carolina has no physical connection to Amazon’s data centers in northern Virginia….

While the wind energy sector is growing, Wiser and his co-authors of the 2016 report concluded that was due in large part to the renewable production tax credit and state-driven incentives such as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards created by North Carolina and 28 other states. The REPS require public utilities to buy higher-cost renewable energy at a set percentage of its fuel source….

Source: ‘Home grown’ claims of renewable energy industry questioned – Carolina Journal