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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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 –

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