BigWind is suing Ohio b/c they don’t like our laws!!!

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What a week.  In a nutshell, this is what happened:

Senators Randy Gardner and Matt Huffman were elected to the 3rd and 4th top leadership positions in the Senate.  Gardner’s district includes Erie, Fulton (part), Lucas (part), Ottawa and  Wood. Huffman’s district encompasses Allen, Auglaize (part), Champaign, Darke (part), Logan (part), Mercer and Shelby.  These areas are vital to our plight, as BigWind is relentless is pursuing large land takeovers. Many constituents, fighting against BigWind in these areas, want setbacks measured from property lines and a right of referendum or local vote on every proposed wind facility.

BigWind, on the other hand, has decided to fight back, ”the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) and three local landowners in Paulding County filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio claiming the current property line setback law established in 2014 in HB 483 is unconstitutional.  MAREC seeks to have the law overturned.  Section 15 (D), Article II of the Ohio Constitution provides: “No bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. No law shall be revised or amended unless the new act contains the entire act revived, or the section or sections amended, and the section or sections amended shall be repealed.”

The complaint notes that the purpose of HB 483 (also known as the Mid-Biennial Budget Review or MBR) was “to make operating and other appropriations and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.”  The regulation of economically significant wind turbines is a state program run by the Ohio Power Siting Board.  If the setback change in HB 483 is deemed unconstitutional, it is likely to have the unintended consequence of also invalidating many other laws that were adopted in connection with appropriation bills.   The General Assembly would likely not be happy with such an outcome.

Is this is a “Hail Mary Pass” being thrown as the time is running out to enact legislation repealing the 2014 setback?  It is a serious matter nonetheless. The case is in the Paulding County Court of Common Pleas.  If BigWind can’t get what they want through obtaining sufficient Good Neighbor Agreements, they want to take what they need by invalidating the current law.  Paulding County Commissioner, Tony Zartman, is quoted saying, ““We strongly support this action. In fact, our concern over this unconstitutional maneuver is so great that we are currently considering joining the case ourselves. We believe filing this lawsuit is in the best interest of our community and our future economic growth.”

Of interest is the announcement of LafargeHolcim, a large cement company in Paulding.  Along with ONE Energy, LafargeHolcim will build three turbines to power its facilities.   We recall that in 2013, LafargeHolcim was featured in the press as a large provider to the wind industry. They provided the concrete for the Blue Creek turbine foundations and for the roads traveled by heavy equipment used to build the facility….

Paulding county link

Paulding county and farmers

 

 

 

 

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The ‘Spin Doctors’ of BigWind are in Ohio….

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The Doctor is “In” – that is, the Spin Doctors of industrial wind. This past week the Spin Doctors were busy in their emergency rooms using the tools of their profession: truthiness (half truths) , proofiness, cherry-picking, fear mongering, false choices, weasel words and euphemism to save their hides.

“Spin (which is actually propaganda from a military perspective) is making us blind to what is happening. Being blind, we let our governments and big corporations get away with doing things that are unjust and to the detriment of the economy of the ordinary people and detrimental to democracy. Spin has been and continues to be used to pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.” http://www.truthliesdeceptioncoverups.info/2013/05/spotting-spin-some-tricks-of-trade.html

Reply comments on wind siting rules were submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board on November 8th. The Mid-American Renewable Energy Coalition and the Ohio Environmental Council took shots at GNU and UNU and vice versa. We were dumbfounded by the spinning served up by the windies and enviros. Dizzy! Take some Dramamine and visit the link, below, to read all of the reply comments. We will share some spin highlights….

Ø Cherry-Picking & Truthiness: “MAREC believes the Board should apply wind energy standards that are consistent with neighboring United States jurisdictions, rather than adopting rules from foreign nations whose rural landscapes and population densities are vastly different than in those areas where wind farms are proposed in Ohio. A cursory review of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan wind energy ordinances establishes that Ohio’s guidelines are already more restrictive than counties where wind farms both have and have not been built.”

MAREC lists four “cherry-picked” Indiana setback examples and suggests Ohio should emulate them. Yet, a more comprehensive list of 12 other Indiana counties reflects that 5 ban industrial wind facilities outright and five establish setbacks from property lines. The Indiana property line setbacks range from 1,300’ to 3,960’ (¾ mile). The two counties that measure from the residence have setbacks of 2640’ and 1,500’ from a non-participant residence. Our Indiana list also shows MAREC’s information about Tipton County is factually incorrect. Tipton revised their setbacks in July to 2640’ from residence, 1500’ from the property line within the Prairie Breeze development area and 1460’ from property line in the rest of the county.

If MAREC wants OPSB to apply wind energy standards “consistent with neighboring United States jurisdictions,” they would have to agree to enabling Ohio counties to ban industrial wind facilities outright as five Indiana Counties have done; establish setbacks from property lines as five counties have done; or lengthen setbacks from the residence as two have done. We recommend that readers use the MAREC chart and the Indiana list which reveals the dishonesty of MAREC when visiting with your local elected officials both at the state and county levels.

Ø Proofiness: Outight lying with numbers to mislead; quoting statistics out of context so that they mislead; distorting statistics; or using incorrect logic in order to mislead the audience.

“ It is MAREC’s view that the Board should acknowledge the original setback regulations “worked” considering there are nearly zero sound or shadow flicker complaints against the two existing wind farms in Ohio with over 5 years in operation. The Board should not adopt sound and shadow flicker impact setbacks from property lines.” (MAREC reply Page 3) In this instance, MAREC is deceptive because the wind leases and “good neighbor agreements” contain gag clauses that forbid landowners from complaining. This was recently reconfirmed in Hardin County when an EverPower representative peddling a good neighbor agreement advised that they would be free to complain but only to EverPower. Wind developers contractually suppress complaints and then defend their practices based on the assertion that there are “no complaints.” SPIN!

Similarly, MAREC asserts at page 15 of their reply that “Trade secrets: UNU argues an applicant should be required to submit to staff any post-certificate evaluation of shadow flicker impacts, including all supporting documentation; however, this information should not be protected by trade secret. MAREC disagrees – trade secret information should be protected in accordance with the statute.” Whether it is bird kills or shadow flicker intrusion, the wind industry works to manipulate or hide information that may be damaging to them and then relies on “proofiness” to spin their argument.

More general “proofiness” was revealed this week in the industry publication, Wind Watch, when the statistics used to assert public support for wind were exposed as misleading. “Seventy-seven percent of Trump supporters want more wind farms, but 69% want more coal mines, 66% want more offshore drilling, 58% want more fracking, and 55% want more nuclear. Trump supporters want wind farms, but that is only because they want more electricity whatever source it comes from. Whether it is ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ doesn’t seem to matter. The research also does not specify how much new wind capacity they would want, so they may only want a tiny amount.”

Ø Euphemisms –“ When part of a spin performance, euphemisms are usually used with other spin methods. With spin, euphemisms tend to be used when the intent is to manage the impressions of the audience so that they will not react to bad news in a way the spinner does not want.” http://www.truthliesdeceptioncoverups.info/2013/05/spotting-spin-some-tricks-of-trade.html

UNU’s Reply at page 14 states “Initially, MAREC objects to the Board’s use of the term “noise” and asks the Board to use only the term “sound,” contending that “noise” has “a negative connotation that indicates loud, harsh, or disturbing sound.” But make no mistake about it, the sounds imposed on the public by wind turbines are loud, harsh, and disturbing. The semantic niceties offered by the wind industry cannot disguise that fact. Acoustic engineers define “noise” as “unwanted sound.” Since no one desires the sounds from a wind turbine, not even the turbine’s host landowner, “noise” is the most appropriate term for turbine emissions in this rule.

We direct the reader’s attention to the timely article from Columbus Business First reporting that Ohio State University has been engaged in a research project called “Sounds of New York.” In this instance, the sound is not just “noise” but “noise pollution”. Whether one is in a quiet rural area or in a bustling urban environment, there is a point at which the increase in “sound” is unwanted and harmful. Important to note, also, is that human complaint data is considered to be important in understanding and responding to the problem. OSU acknowledges complaint data can “provide reliable information to support decision making”. But OOPS! Here we go back to “Proofiness”! In New York, complaint information is essential to addressing a problem while the wind industry hides complaint information and dares the public to disprove their “proof” that there are no complaints about noise or shadow flicker.

We could go on and on. Our message to all is EYES WIDE OPEN. Understand the tricks of spin and help your community to SEE how wind propaganda is being deployed to BLIND them to the truth….

In the Matter of the Ohio Power Siting Board’s Review of Rule 4906-4-08 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

Status: OPEN-OPEN
Industry Code: GE-GAS & ELECTRIC
Purpose Code: BRO-Rule promulgation
Date Opened: 5/18/2016

View All
1 – 15 of 30 documents 1 / 2 First Previous Next Last
Date Filed Summary Pages
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. 14
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. 34
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation electronically filed by Amy M Milam on behalf of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation 7
11/08/2016 Reply Comments electronically filed by Mr. Christopher A. Walker on behalf of Union Neighbors United and Johnson, Julia F. Ms. and McConnell, Robert Mr. and McConnell, Diane Mrs. 44
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of the Ohio Environmental Council on Review of Rule 4906-04-08 and Proposed OAC 4906-4-09, Case No. 16-1109-GE-BRO electronically filed by Ms. Miranda R. Leppla on behalf of Ohio Environmental Council. 10
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC electronically filed by Teresa Orahood on behalf of Sally W. Bloomfield. 33
11/08/2016 Reply Comments of Greenwich Neighbors United electronically filed by Mr. Samuel C. Randazzo on behalf of Greenwich Neighbors United. 17
11/07/2016 Reply Comment electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Ms. Katie Elsasser. 4
11/07/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Mr. Gary Biglin. 2
11/04/2016 Reply to Initial Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of State Sen. Bill Seitz. 3
11/01/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of State Sen. Bill Seitz 33
10/28/2016 Comments electronically filed by Mr. Matt Butler on behalf of Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Ohio History Connection (SHPO) 3
10/24/2016 Initial Comments electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. 30
10/24/2016 Comments filed on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. electronically filed by Terrence O’Donnell on behalf of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. 8
10/24/2016 Comments of 6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC electronically filed by Teresa Orahood on behalf of Sally W. Bloomfield. 9…..

http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=16-1109

Ohio BigWind News and cries to allow them closer to our homes

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Oh my, where to start? Comments on the Ohio Power Siting Board’s proposed rules have been submitted and are posted on the OPSB website at http://dis.puc.state.oh.us/CaseRecord.aspx?CaseNo=16-1109.

Terrence O’Donnell, son of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, filed two comment letters. One is filed as counsel for the LeedCo Icebreaker project in Lake Erie and the other is on behalf of MAREC (Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition). Not surprisingly the comments are full of threats that the proposed rules are so restrictive as to prohibit the development of wind in Ohio. Repeatedly, this cry rises no matter whether the topic is ice throw, shadow flicker, noise, decommissioning, whatever. At one low point, MAREC insists that the word “noise” be eliminated due to its negative connotations and replaced by a more neutral term like…”sound”. Gee, we wonder what the folks at INCE (Institute for NOISE Control Engineering) , the professional association for “noise” would think of that? Sort of like calling 600’ foot tall wind power plant arrays “farms”.

Consider: MAREC requests that throughout the rules the term “noise” be eliminated and replaced with the term “sound.” “Noise” has a negative connotation that indicates loud, harsh, or disturbing sound. It would be more appropriate to use a descriptive term that is not pejorative. The term “sound” more correctly denotes what is being measured in accordance with the wind farm requirements in new Rule 09. As explained in greater detail below, it is crucial for the wind industry in Ohio that the sound level be measured at an appropriate and reasonable location. MAREC’s concern is that, if the sound level is measured at the property lines (as proposed throughout the rules) wind project development in Ohio will be devastated. Therefore, sound measurements should focus on the applicable residences that could potentially be affected by the sound level, i.e., structures that are inhabited.

It may interest readers to know that noise regulation was originally the province of the US EPA which carried out investigations and studies on noise and its effect on the public health and welfare through the

Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC). In 1981 the federal government decided that noise issues were best handled at the State and local level. As a result, ONAC was closed and primary responsibility of addressing noise issues was transferred to State and local governments. However, EPA retains authority to investigate and study noise and its effect, disseminate information to the public regarding noise pollution and its adverse health effects, respond to inquiries on matters related to noise, and evaluate the effectiveness of existing regulations for protecting the public health and welfare, pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978. (Source US EPA). Given that the EPA turned over noise regulation but local zoning authority for industrial wind was pre-empted by the State of Ohio, it is especially important that the OPSB adopt rules protective of the health and welfare of the community. And calling it noise is an accurate, descriptive term.

THE WORST comment is the letter from the Ohio Environmental Council. Consider: When the statute was passed, there was no public discussion and no analysis on whether or not the increased setback distance was necessary, as it was enacted hastily in Ohio House Bill 483 (Amstutz – 130th GA). As a result, the revised setback has effectively zoned new wind projects out of the state, decimating the prospect of new wind projects, and injuring clean energy progress. Until 2014, Ohio was attracting millions of dollars in investment in new wind energy projects. As a result, Ohio’s air quality improved, new jobs were created, and local governments began seeing new revenue coming in to support their operations. Sadly, this progress was all but halted by the abrupt enactment of these overly burdensome wind turbine regulations that created unnecessary red tape for investors and project developers, specifically the implementation of the unnecessary and overly burdensome setback requirements promulgated by this proposed rule. It has effectively placed a moratorium on new wind development, and there has been no new wind applications approved since the new setback requirements were enacted.

We don’t believe the OEC claims that industrial wind has already “improved Ohio’s air quality”. A recent study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity estimates the federal Clean Power Plan will have a small effect on temperature and is the equivalent of reducing rising sea levels by “the thickness of one to two human hairs.” If that is the assessment for the entire impact of the CPP, a couple of wind factories in Ohio could not possibly have had a detectable impact on air quality.

The industry comments on the OPSB rules are an all-out assault on property rights of rural landowners. In the face of all of this, we were very happy to read Senate President Keith Faber’s sentiments in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Faber expressed no sympathy for wind developers who claim legislation he supported has made it impossible to develop future wind-farm sites. He said his concern is for the property rights of neighboring landowners who are not being compensated for the impact of the turbines on their land. He said he has had discussions on the issue in his office and in the Indian Lake area of Ohio. Indian Lake is in Logan County, northwest of Columbus. “

While the rule-making process is underway, the Icebreaker project proposed for Lake Erie is in the pre-application stage at the OPSB. Reports are coming in of criticism from organizations representing the Great Lakes in the US and Canada. Our friends at NAPAW have renamed it “Wing Breaker”! The wildlife compliance comments from the wind industry indicate that bird and bat issues may be more of a problem for them than we knew. They appear to want to water them down and remove references to federal programs designed to protect avian species. This comes at a time when researchers are documenting that “there is evidence that wind facilities may be having continental-scale impacts on some bird populations.”

While they did not choose to file comments on the OPSB Rules, The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund released a study this week intended to provide the Governor with justification for reinstating the renewable mandates. And for good measure, they threw in a plea for rollback of property line setbacks. Elsewhere, a study from the Independent Institute was interesting in that they assert the exaggerated claims of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as an “historic and important step” that “takes real action on climate change” and is “fair” and “flexible” is an attempt to distract people from asking questions like, “Who will pay for this?” and “By how much will the CPP reduce climate change?” Maybe the screams and yells about property-line versus residence setbacks is an attempt to distract people from those same substantive questions.