Van Wert county commissioner opinion of BigWind

A Van Wert county commissioner opinion about the new potential for a 35,000 Apex project. He compares this to living next to a hog farm…which no one wants to do. If you have heard that communities are torn apart by the wind industry, he hints at that reality in Van Wert. What will happen if the Apex Long Prairie Project moves forward? It looks like the one commissioner wants to leave this decision up to the people who will reside amongst it. Read a lot of common sense in this article…

Wanna start an argument? Go to almost any random group of people in Van Wert County and state your opinion about windmills. Chances are, you will quickly find someone with whom to disagree…

But, if you are going to build something on your property, you are subject to a tax assessment. Real property taxes are assessed on all land, buildings and structures. If a property owner would choose to build a windmill, they would be taxed on its full value.

The question then is should a wind farm receive a tax break? The pro crowd argues that, yes, most definitely, this is economic development and a tax break should be automatic. The current wind farm is taxed pursuant to a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) wherein the schools, county, townships, and other agencies receive a fixed payment instead of the windmills being normally assessed. This results in about a 70-80 percent reduction in tax payments.

A few years ago, before the state changed the setbacks and after several conferences with our township trustees, the Ohio Power Siting Board and Iberdrola, we determined that the PILOT eliminated our ability to negotiate with wind companies and was not in our county’s best interest. We revoked the Alternative Energy Zone designation for our county that had allowed the Blue Creek Wind Farm to be taxed under the PILOT.

Should the setbacks be returned to a manageable distance for Apex or Iberdrola to build a farm, this is the issue we would present to voters. We would ask the affected townships and the wind company to negotiate a tax scheme that has a chance to be approved and then submit it for an up or down vote.

A concern becomes who gets to vote on this issue? It does not seem appropriate that areas that stand only to benefit from a taxing scheme be allowed to vote to burden another area. For example, if a mega hog farm would want to locate on the outskirts of Convoy and the tax benefits would accrue to every other part of the county, what might be the result in Middle Point of that vote? Or if the roles were reversed, what might be the result in Convoy?

Van Wert City Schools would receive a significant monetary benefit if turbines were located in Liberty Township. But it is the residents of Liberty Township who would be burdened by the presence of the windmills and it would be that township’s tax revenues that are affected by a reduction in the amounts paid by windmill owners. I don’t know a definition of fair that would allow Van Wert City voters, an overwhelming majority of the school district, to determine this issue for Liberty Township….

Personally, I think I’ve been clear on my position in the past. I think windmills are horrible federal policy but as long as the federal government is intent on bankrupting our next generation, I wouldn’t object to see some of that money get wasted locally.

If you are in the pro crowd, I would advise against trying to pressure us to force windmills on a population that, as of now, does not want them. That has been the tactic of the wind companies for the last few years and it continues to have a zero chance of success. Replace lecturing with negotiation – the antis are well aware of the reasons to build these things and are not convinced. Perhaps you can pay their electric bills to win some support….

 

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Is the media ‘covering up’ nationwide fights against BigWind?

A journalist recently contacted windaction.org with questions about Colorado’s latest wind project…  The project is massive by any measure and the largest considered by the state. Yet, according to the reporter, no one local has raised any concerns which explains the call. Even the reporter — a freelancer from New Jersey where just five turbines (9 MW) spin — admitted having no idea wind had issues.

And why would anyone …?

Big media coverage is dominated by feel-good stories of cheap renewables (and now, apparently, cheap storage) overtaking coal and nuclear. The press, prodded by industry mouthpieces, never misses an opportunity to advocate for federal and state subsidies and their sister mandates that spur green ‘investment’ and leave the public believing that a world of all renewables, all the time is almost here.

Nice vision, but far from real. In fact, with each oversized, out-of-scale, in-your-face wind project presented, scores of people join the not-so-quiet “war on wind” raging nationwide. For proof, just look at a few of the news stories from the last 45 days: (go to original article to click on each state and go to their links)

1) In Indiana, a judge ruled Rush County’s decision to impose larger safety setback distances on the Flat Rock wind facility (180 MW) was reasonable to protect health and preserve property values. The decision is likely to end the project. Another suit pending in Fayette Circuit Court against a NextEra project argues the decommissioning plan violates county regulations. And in Henry County, the Planning Commission denied two applications to erect meteorological towers used for measuring wind speed and direction. The towers are the first step in siting a wind project. Each vote to deny was met with applause and a standing ovation from the public.

2) Blowback over wind turbines impairing military operations prompted the North Carolina state senate to pass a bill restricting turbine sites… Similar concerns are being raised in New York and Texas, where the Texas legislature is also considering a bill to protect military base missions.

3) A proposal to erect 2-dozen turbines standing up to 660-feet tall in Cumberland County, Tennessee has outraged residents and caught the attention of Senator Lamar Alexander, Congresswoman Diane Black, State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), all of whom are united in their opposition to the project…

4) Wyoming’s Joint Revenue Committee has asked its staff to draft two bills that would increase taxes on wind, including one that would require wind developers to transfer a portion of the federal wind production tax credit to state coffers…

5) In Vermont, the electorate is inflamed over the visual, environmental and health impacts of the spinning towers. Governor Peter Shumlin has been described as one who “loves wind turbines and hates the people who live next to them.” He is leaving office this year to the delight of many. At least three of the candidates vying for his seat – Bruce Lisman, Peter Galbraith, Brooke Paige – are openly running on a ‘NO Wind’ platform.

We could go on describing the intense fights now happening in (go to original article to click on each state)New York, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts … you get the picture. But don’t expect big media to notice. After all, these fights don’t fit the national narrative honed by the wind industry that up-plays the image of turbines operating in concert with man and nature and downplays, or flatly denies the harms. While big media and big wind are busy forcing the vision they want, communities are taking aggressive action to limit wind’s negative impacts and will ultimately lead to far fewer projects being built.

via: https://deref-mail-02.com/mail/client/dereferrer/?redirectUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.windaction.org%2Fposts%2F45320-a-populist-revolt-against-wind-it-s-happening%23.V3Q7u-T2bv8

 

Will BigWind ‘stack the deck’ in Ohio, against our residents?

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Apex, Everpower and Iberdrola are fighting hard to shorten our setbacks and expand their presence in Ohio. According to the article, below, Apex knows how to ‘stack the deck’ at local meetings. This should outrage every Ohio resident and taxpayer. How big will their turbines in Southern Van Wert county? 660 feet, even bigger than below…

“There’s a certain rush to getting thrown into the trenches last-minute and turning an extremely difficult situation, with a lot of conflict amongst local constituencies, in the favor of a client. I think anyone working in this kind of business thrives in situations like that. Certainly we do at Five Corners.”

This was a response by Ben Kelahan, a partner with Five Corners Strategies, to a question on their website regarding his favorite kind of project. (http://fivecornersstrategies.com/a-conversation-with-five-corners-strategies-partner-ben-kelahan/)

Apex Clean Energy has hired Five Corners Strategies, a “grassroots public affairs” company, to help them with the Lighthouse Wind project in the towns of Somerset and Yates. This proposed project would place up to 70 huge industrial wind turbines (up to 620 feet tall) along part of the Niagara Seaway Trail near Lake Ontario….

Kelahan also coauthored an article with Jan Christian Anderson, a Five Corners Strategies vice president, published on April 24, 2014, in North American Windpower, titled “Smart Community Engagement: Twelve Tips Every Wind Developer Should Know.” …

The last tip is noteworthy: “Stack the deck at public hearings, and plan for it well ahead of time. Make absolutely certain you have more supporters in the room than the opposition and that they are well prepared.”

We saw evidence of this recommendation at the recent hearing in Somerset regarding a revised wind ordinance where dozens of out-of-town union workers showed up in force to support construction of the turbines.

At the end of his article Kelahan states: “When the outcome of a local hearing goes against a developer, the best-case scenario is that the company will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to play catch-up to the opposition and eventually succeed in changing the mind of an entire community. The worst-case scenario is that the developer loses a multi-million-dollar investment because the project never moves beyond a simple conditional use permit hearing.”…

Pay attention Ohio- Board member who regrets deal with BigWind

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Will Ohioans share the same sentiment, as BigWind spreads across our state? If you think this won’t affect YOU, then think again. BigWind plans to blanket our state. Just read about it on our home page. Every wind site has multiple ‘phases’ in the works, that usually, quietly begin before the 1st site is even completed….

I am writing to you all as a former commissioner colleague who aided in the negotiations and agreements with E.ON Climate Renewables with Tipton County (Indiana)in 2011. From the onset, I was open to windfarm development in a small section of Tipton County because the commissioners had received no opposition and I felt that the landowners wanted it. … As you know, public notices are small and often overlooked in the newspaper, so not much resistance was present……………until the towers went up, and people saw how enormous and intrusive they were. The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower….. !!!! You don’t have the time to read what all I could tell you, so in a nutshell I just want to say that I wish I had the knowledge then that I have now….

In Tipton County……….my 83 year old mother is mad at me (since I signed the agreements) because she no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders……..my brother’s view from his family dining room table used to be a vast expanse of crops and natural habitat…….now that pristine ‘vista’ is forever marred by giant metal structures………….neighbors hate each other…………back and forth letters to the editor have been selling papers for over a year now………….families are torn apart,,,,, and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, these relationships will never be repaired. In short. . . . this has become an issue that has divided our community like no other.

It has torn our county apart….

If I had this to do over, I would NEVER enter into an agreement with any wind company now that I know what it has done to my home community. I am not proud that my name is on those documents. The wind company has breached many parts of the agreement, but insist that their failures are “minor”. Their field representative is arrogant and cavalier in his attitude toward the people who are suffering with the effects of the noise and flicker.

You can’t lose something you never had…………so you are not “losing” the supposed ‘windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in. What you WILL lose however, cannot be measured in dollars. You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose the closeness of “community spirit” because people will hate each other over this and the presence of the towers will always be a constant reminder of the rift…………thus the wounds will never heal.

Please consider this: What do you think of a company that KNOWS it has fierce opposition from a segment of the Howard County citizenry, but would STILL want to build in your county? It is akin to forcing themselves onto you when they KNOW they are not wanted by those in the project area who would be affected by their presence and are receiving no compensation for the change in their environment. How much of a “community partner” would they be when they really don’t care about the wishes of the people?…

Any issue that has become so contentious that it has caused large groups of people to assemble and vehemently oppose it. . . . and which has caused so much heartache and angst among the citizenry . . . . just cannot be good for the whole. I do not feel that Tipton County will ever wholly heal from the deep personal wounds incurred by many from the placement of wind turbines in our county….

 

Jane Harper
Tipton County Commissioner 2009-2012

Source: Meet Jane Harper – Board member who regrets voting pro-wind –

Van Wert residents see the BigBadWolf behind BigWind

Some NW Ohio residents are seeing the cloak removed from BigWind. These tactics are not new, as we have read and heard about them all over the globe. Hover over our FARMER tab to read more. Additionally, why does Apex use ‘4 LLCs’ for this 1 project??? Did you know that this project wants to use 660 foot turbines?!? That makes our 1,250 foot setback look pathetic. Our legislators need to know the truth. Contact them!!!…

An employee of Long Prairie Wind Project allowed a landowner to read through the memorandum of lease, which is a summary of the lease contract to allow their farm ground to be used for wind turbines. The landowner raised concerns with language in the document, such as an apparent abuse of neighbors’ property rights. Instead of addressing the concern professionally, the employee used high pressure sales techniques on the landowner for a decision. The landowner told the developer he just wasn’t sure. At that point the developer ripped the contract out of his hands and stormed off….

Once a landowner signs a contract with the developer, this company waits two to three months before filling it at the county recorder’s office. Sometimes this information is withheld for up to six months. This was stated by a company employee at their recent open house in front of several people. By the way, the memorandum of lease filed at the recorder’s office is not the entire contract between the landowner and the developer. Why the two different documents? These practices include a clause in the contract that is essentially a gag order. The clause prevents a lease holder to even speak about the contents to anyone not on the contract.

Wind energy causes years of problems for farmers with ground compaction, tile damage, limiting pesticide application methods and causing discontent with neighbors….Enough is enough.

Source: Letter: Bevy of problems with leasing land – LimaOhio.com – limaohio.com

BigWind attacking Ohio and it wants to move closer to YOU

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Following a pleasant lull, several troublesome initiatives are back. The first is the renewed effort by unknown renewable profiteers to put an issue on the Ohio ballot to raise $1.3 Billion annually for 10 years to pay themselves to build wind and solar projects. The program would be incorporated in Delaware and administered by an unknown commission. This initiative would be made possible by amending the Ohio Constitution. (Ground Hog Day anyone?) In the recent election, Ohio voters turned down the efforts of marijuana advocates to hijack the Constitution for their own purposes and also voted to stop similar initiatives in the future. We did not know the “future” would come within weeks of the election. This time the hijacker is “clean energy”. In an important Editorial, the Columbus Dispatch attacks the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative labeling it “preposterous” and saying it presents the opportunity for “fraud on a colossal scale”. Uh huh, what else is new? The Dispatch editors write:

“In addition, alternative-energy sources that are seeking public investment by definition have not attracted the needed funds from private investors. That’s typically because the energy is more expensive and less efficient and reliable than traditional sources, making it impossible to compete unless the business is subsidized or operates in an artificial, protected market created by government mandate.”

This is a refreshing bit of news given the blind support for wind and solar mandates by much of the Ohio media. It now remains for the Ohio Secretary of State and the Ohio Ballot Board to rule on if and how the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative will or will not appear on a future ballot. If they determine the proposal represents a monopoly outlawed under Issue Two, maybe OCE will finally give up.

Closer to home, the wind developers are agitating again to repeal the setback rules. On Wednesday, the Ohio Power Siting Board at last adopted the rule requiring setbacks to be 1,125 feet from the property line. Prior to the OPSB meeting, Senator Bill Seitz convened a small group to discuss the differing positions on setbacks. Iberdrola(in Van Wert/Delphos areas), Apex(inVanWert and Spencerville and Ohio City areas) and AWEA were represented at the meeting along with representatives from Greenwich Neighbors United and Union Neighbors United. Chairman Andre Porter of the PUCO/OPSB was also present. At issue was whether there could be some kind of compromise position on setbacks and waivers. The wind representatives argued that if no home was on an adjacent property, a more reasonable setback would be 1.1 times turbine height (including blade at the tip). Citizens asserted that just because a house is not on a property does not mean the property is not in use for recreation (hunting, golf, riding) or that a future use was not planned for the property. Likewise, farmers should be safe in their fields. Farmers should also be able to safely use aerial spray services. Sen. Seitz advised Chairman Porter that, after studying global setback standards, Ohio’s were not extreme and could even be considered on the short end. Chairman Porter announced he will convene a group of “stakeholders” in January to revisit a number of the wind rules. (Ground Hog Day again – remember the Ohio Wind Working Group?)

The wind industry proposed allowing County Commissioners to reduce the setbacks in their county. Sen. Seitz was very firm that he would never condone giving that power to County Commissioners but that he might entertain giving the power to Township Trustees who would most likely have to live with the effects of such decisions. On Wednesday, November 18th , the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee has scheduled its second hearing on HB 190. It is possible a substitute bill may be introduced that includes some of the wind industry’s desires to change setbacks. Iberdrola asserts that the107 turbine Blue Creek project in Van Wert would only be able to have 10 turbines under the current setbacks. We question that. They also claim that expansion of Blue Creek is not possible due to a number of hold outs who will not sign waivers. In addition, they claim that people in Putnam County near Leipsic are very supportive of having a wind farm…

…The just-certified “green energy” proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution remains a bad idea, as backers make a fourth run at getting the issue before voters.The Ohio Clean Energy Initiative would require the state to issue bonds totaling $1.3 billion a year for 10 years. The money would be directed to investments in alternative-energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, with decisions made by a secretive commission incorporated in the state of Delaware. Ohio taxpayers and legislators would have no say in how the money is awarded….

 

Source: Bad idea gets worse | The Columbus Dispatch

Apex wants to blanket Van Wert County, Ohio with turbines

We have been watching Apex, since they purchased the leases for southern Van Wert county. Their plans are now official and stated on the website. A new office has been opened in Ohio City. What will the Van Wert county commissioners say this time? Despite complaints from farmers and townships, the commissioners only see $$$. May we remind you where all of the $$$ comes from….our pockets! Hundreds of millions of taxpayer $ will be given for the building of this project and it will produce less than a dozen long-term jobs. But, Apex will throw $ back to the leasing farmers and the county….pocket change for them. Why should YOURS and MY tax$ fund their project? It will also produce far LESS energy than they tell us! How do we know this? Because it is public information how much electrical energy wind sites produce and Van Wert county has dismal, pathetic results. These sites will never replace the energy we can produce from a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant. NEVER.

Apex Clean Energy has acquired the development rights for and is exploring the feasibility of constructing Long Prairie Wind, a wind energy project in rural southern Van Wert County, Ohio….

Source: Long Prairie Wind