Wake up Ohio Senator Cliff Hite. Will the people reelect you next time?

Senator Hite

Unfortunately, Mr. Schaffner (an anti-‘wind’er) was not successful in his efforts to unseat Senator Hite; however, pay attention Mr. Hite. Van Wert county is, currently, your only county with industrial wind turbines…that won’t be the case for long. In this only county with turbines, Mr. Schaffner carried 49.8% of the votes. Consider this a wake up call, Senator Hite. The citizens are awaking to the realities behind this industry and in Indiana, incumbents that were pro’wind’ers were UNseated last night…..

State Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, will hold onto his seat after winning a three-person primary for Ohio’s 1st District senate seat Tuesday…

Schaffner, a farmer and tool and die maker, did his best in his home area of Van Wert County, where he led the way with 49.8 percent of the votes. Hite won the other 10 counties in the district.

“I’d hate to guess how much money Hite spent on mailers,” said Schaffner, who said his home received four mailers from Hite. “As usual, the money sometimes can control how people vote. Obviously I couldn’t afford to send out that many mailers.”…

via State races roundup: Hite wins 1st District Senate seat –.

Ohio Senator Cliff Hite is challenged for his unconditional support of BigWind

Thank you to all who called members of Congress this week to oppose extension of the Production Tax Credit.  The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) big lobbying push on Tuesday was timed to get out ahead of Rep. Dave Camp’s release on Wednesday of his proposal for comprehensive tax reform.  In a report from E&E News (Camp reform plan would ax incentives for oil and gas, renewable energy 2/26/14) “Renewable firms appear to be big losers under the proposal. Not only would Camp not reinstate expired clean energy incentives such as the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), he also would dramatically reduce payments to companies still eligible for the credit.”    In the days to come, there will be much pulling and tugging in the Congress but it is unlikely that tax reform will move forward until after the election.  In the meantime, a tax extender for a one year PTC is unlikely given the generous extension last year.  

The prospect of the PTC finally going away makes the notion of protecting the Ohio mandate for wind through 2025 look almost silly.  If the PTC covers 1/3 of the capital cost of wind development and it is terminated, who picks up the shortfall in Ohio?  Ohio electricity consumers – families and employers.  This makes Senator Cliff Hite’s position on safeguarding the mandate even less credible. It appears the race is heating up between Sen. Hite and Van Wert County’s Hoaglin Twp. Trustee Milo Schaffner.  Milo is putting the pressure on and the more opportunities he has to get his message out to the press and to voters, the clearer the choice becomes for voters in the 1st Ohio Senate District.  The Gongwer Report took a look at the race and the article is below.  We note that Hite is still trying to protect a special niche in his district irrespective of its effects on others.  Why? Is there something he is hiding from us, the taxpayers? He continuously dodges legitimate questions about his position on wind development, especially the Constitutionality of the in-state mandate.  Challenger Milo Schaffner will keep asking those hard questions….

source: Gongwer 2-27-14

Sen. Cliff Hite, who has pushed back on his colleagues’ efforts to water down Ohio’s renewable energy requirements, now faces a primary challenger who is criticizing the incumbent’s stance on wind power.

Hoaglin Township Trustee Milo Schaffner, who recently urged the Senate Public Utilities Committee to repeal the state’s clean energy law (see Gongwer Ohio Report, January 29, 2014), said Sen. Hite’s (R-Findlay) support for wind energy drove him to challenge the incumbent in the May 6 primary.

In addition to Mr. Schaffner, Sen. Hite also faces opposition from Pastor Corey Shankleton, one of many primary challengers angry with Senate incumbents for not passing stricter abortion restrictions. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 6, 2014)

Numerous witnesses from Sen. Hite’s district, which includes several operating and proposed wind farms, have voiced opposition to the renewable energy requirements during a string of proponent-only committee hearings on Sen. Kris Jordan‘s (R-Powell) repeal legislation (SB 34).

Sen. Hite said he wasn’t discouraged by the torrent of negative attention to wind farms in his district, but he would like his colleagues on the committee to hear the other side of the story.

“Since my district is under the microscope, I would sure like people to see some of the good news stories – the philanthropy that’s been involved with some of these companies, donating monies to projects and historical societies,” he said in an interview. “I would love to have the opportunity to get more on that out.”

Sen. Hite, 59, pointed to what he views as a very tangible benefit of wind turbines in the district – the fact that Van Wert and Paulding counties and local schools recently got checks totaling $2.7 million in payments from the Blue Creek Wind Farm. The money flows from a payments in lieu of taxes agreement between Iberdrola Renewables and local governments.   [Ed. Note:  They should have rec’d 5 times that amount but they gave it away through the PILOT & Van Wert schools does NOT receive 1 cent]

“There are many pros and many cons of both sides of this issue and you have to look at the entire package of what it means for people in our district,” the senator said. “There are people who want wind projects and there are people who don’t. I’ve always said: if you put a project where people want them, that’s great. Don’t put them where people don’t want them.”   [Ed. Note: Can’t do that when you took away our zoning, Senator.]

Mr. Schaffner, 66, clearly didn’t want Blue Creek Wind Farm in his township and he believes he speaks for the majority of his constituents.

“Everyone in this county knows where I stand on the wind issue,” he said, noting that he won the most votes among three Hoaglin Township trustee candidates last November. “That tells me – I don’t care what some people say – the majority of the people living here in Hoaglin are on my side.”

The incumbent’s support for wind power is one of several issues that he said encouraged him to run. “But I guess that’s finally the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he added.

Mr. Schaffner filed his candidacy petitions a few days after testifying on the issue before the Senate Public Utilities Committee. During his trip to the Statehouse he met Chairman Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), who has been pushing for either Sen. Jordan’s plan to scrap the requirement for 25% of the state’s electricity to come from advanced sources by 2025, or his bill to make it easier for utilities to comply with the renewable mandate (SB 58).

Mr. Schaffner recounted his discussion with Sen. Seitz after testifying that the 12 township members represented on the Van Wert County Township Association’s Executive Committee had voted unanimously to support repealing Ohio’s renewable energy law.

“He said, ‘If I had a county where all the trustees’ executive committee voted unanimously…I’d listen to those guys,'” Mr. Schaffner said. “Well, Sen. Hite has not listened to us.”

The trustee said he believed a provision in the law requiring half of Ohio’s renewable energy come from in-state facilities is unconstitutional. He cited a federal court decision that opined a similar requirement in Michigan violates the Commerce Clause.

“As I sat and talked to Mr. Hite – he was here in my living room – I told him you and I both, the very first thing in our oath of office is to uphold the Constitution of the United States and this is unconstitutional,” he said. “I think once you’re told you’re unconstitutional, you should do something about it.”

Sen. Hite points out that the sprawling 1st Senate District encompasses all or part of 11 different counties and he says opinions about wind energy and other issues vary widely from place to place. While wind turbines are a big issue in Paulding, Van Wert, Auglaize, and Hardin counties, residents in the northern counties are more concerned about algae blooms in Lake Erie, he said.

However, the biggest issue for constituents all over the district is job creation, he added. “That’s what I hear the most about. It’s: what are you guys doing to create jobs?”  [Ed. Note: The correct answer to that question is to lower the cost of doing business in Ohio.  The renewable mandate increases costs – see Germany!  Senator Hite opens his mouth and sticks his foot right into it.]

The incumbent touted two recent job creation announcements in the district from International Paper in Kenton and Marathon Petroleum. “That’s great news. That’s what people are talking about most in my district,” he said.

Sen. Hite also sees wind energy as a key factor in the district’s continued economic development.

“We don’t have steel mills, we don’t have giant companies doing waste-heat energy. What we do have is wind and so we wanted to harness that, take advantage of that so we could add to the energy supply,” he said. “I tell people there’s a lot of wind in my district, even when I’m not there.”…

 

Ouch! Ohio Senator Cliff Hite- this testimony against BigWind STINGS!

Yesterday was a very good day in the Ohio Senate on several levels.  Testimony offered in support of SB 34 to repeal the Ohio Renewable Mandate was given by several witnesses in the nuclear engineering field who discussed the promise of new technology but who asserted that a mandate of any kind sends signals to the financing and venture capital markets to divert investment to the mandated technologies like wind and solar.  Even small amounts of mandated wind and solar impede access to financing for emerging technologies.   The Public Utilities Committee was very interested in this aspect.  Then the “star” witness, Milo Schaffner, Hoaglin Township Trustee, from Van Wert County presented a Resolution from the Van Wert County Trustees Association supporting SB 34.    This was especially important because Van Wert County is represented by Sen. Cliff Hite, a major obstacle to the repeal of the mandate.  

Trustee Schaffner also described the remorse of a leaseholder whose farm drainage  was forever ruined; the fact that people who sought “Good Neighbor Agreements” were denied by Iberdrola who instead gave them $25 Wal-Mart gift cards; that shadow flicker is experienced in the Schaffner home which is a little more than a mile from the nearest turbine and that the noise was terrible. Trustee Schaffner’s testimony is below…

Chairman Seitz, Vice Chairman LaRose, ranking member Kearney, Members of the Senate Public Utilities Committee. I want to thank you for the honor of addressing this committee. My name is Milo Schaffner and I have lived 64 of my years in Van Wert County’s Hoaglin Township. I have been involved in our community as a school board member, youth leader, job creator, (Schaffner Tool and Die), school teacher, and have just been re-elected to my fourth term as township trustee.

I stand before you now as Vice President of the Van Wert Co. Trustee Association. I would like to read to you a letter that was sent to our Senator Mr. Hite.

On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, the Executive Committee of the Van Wert County Township Association met with all twelve townships represented and unanimously Resolved to support Senate Bill 34 submitted by Senator Jordon to repeal the requirement that electrical distribution utilities and electrical services companies provide 25% of their retail power supplies from advanced and renewable energy resources by 2025. We urge you to support Senate Bill 34. Sincerely Jeffery A. Harmon President Van Wert County Township Association. 

A copy of this is included in my testimony.

I would now like to stand before you as Hoaglin Township Trustee. I believe based upon this past November election our views are the majority of our township. Many Wind Turbine Lease Holders are in support of our stand, and thanked us for what we have been doing. We have simply been telling the truth and asking the hard questions of wind developers, that people seem to forget to ask when they are promised money.

You may not be aware that Iberdrola sent a letter to people who have asked for a good neighbor agreement. This letter informed them that Iberdrola was no longer offering good neighbor agreements, Iberdrola included a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart and thanked them for their interest. Sometime later when I saw Mr. Litchfield, project developer for Iberdrola, I told him of the shadow flicker at my house one mile away from the nearest turbine. His response was if I signed a Good Neighbor agreement Iberdrola would buy blinds for our house. The Ethics Committee has already ruled a Trustee cannot accept more than that which is offered to the average citizen. Ethics Committee opinion of March 10, 2010. Mr. Litchfield knows this because he told me Iberdrola’s attorney helped write the opinion. How could anyone accept this when your neighbor who lives within 1500 feet of a turbine was refused a good neighbor agreement?

I now stand before you as a Small Business Owner. Most of our machines are run by computers and require a dependable source of electricity at a competitive price. Dependable because these machines have no hand cranks. If the electricity amperage or voltage is varied it can cost many thousands of dollars in repairs. Let me ask you why should I invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment in a state that has chosen to require me to buy electricity that is not dependable, and is far too expensive? 

Lastly I stand before you as a citizen of Hoaglin Township, Van Wert County, and the state of Ohio. I ask why have you passed bills that ruin our piece of happiness? Please do not test my intelligence with the old jobs argument. Come look at the license plates on vehicles at the interconnection site. Mr. Litchfield was asked if Iberdrola would hire the graduates of Vantage Vocational School who took the Wind Turbine program. His answer was no, we hire people who have been trained by the manufacturer of the turbines. Remember, we were led to believe these young people would be hired and have good paying jobs.

My Wife of over 48 years and I enjoyed drinking coffee on our front porch until the turbines came. We even went out in the winter, all bundled up and drank coffee and talked. Our neighbors called us the Cracker Barrel of Hoaglin Township. Now when we go out it only takes a couple minutes until my wife says she can’t stand it and goes inside. We have talked about moving but this is where we raised our children. They come back home where they were raised for all the Holidays. 

In closing I would like to tell you how ruthless these wind developers really are. I had asked Mr. Litchfield years ago about people being lied to concerning what they were told they had signed and what they had really signed. His response was we cannot be held accountable for that because we hire another firm to get leases signed and we have no control over what they tell people. I was walking down the street a couple months ago, I believe it was in Sept. when a man said, “Hey Milo, I have been thinking about you the last couple weeks.” My response was that can’t be good. His response was I saw your picture on the front page of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and I wanted to tell you, if I had known then what I know now I would never have signed up my farm. They told me what I signed gave them only the wind rights to my farm. I now have a road through my farm that has destroyed two outlets. I don’t think I will ever be able to get my farm to drain properly again. I told him not to feel bad because they have done the same thing to other people. The man was correct he never got his farm to properly drain again, He died last week.

If a wind project is a wise investment, let people freely pursue it. I have no reason to believe the experience of others will be much different from Van Wert. The tragedy is that this probably would have never happened in the way it has developed if there was no mandate. Developers can trample one community and move on to trample the next one because they are protected by a mandate that gives them that right.

This bill is about removing the mandate.
I ask you to Pass Senate Bill 34.