As more information is made public about the predatory practices of former Ohio Senator Cliff Hite there is talk of possible of criminal charges. We have no idea what the outcome will be but think that Cliff Hite is now safely in the rearview mirror of Northwestern Ohioans. So the question becomes NOW WHAT? Will SB 188 remain viable? Who will succeed Hite? Who will take up the crusade to destroy the northwestern quadrant of the state?
Hearings on SB 188 have been suspended for the moment. Let us remember and share with our friends, that “Setbacks are a ZONING issue.”
By modifying setback measurement to habitable structures rather than property lines, the adverse effects of shadow flicker and noise are allowed to burden the neighboring property of the non-participating landowner. The consequence of this trespass is an uncompensated easement for nuisance. No other industry in the entire State of Ohio enjoys such a right of easement. Only industrial wind energy. Eminent domain would be a more fair action because at least the neighbor would be compensated. This point can be reinforced by showing that wind developers, like Invenergy, call their Good Neighbor Agreement a “Wind Farm Easement Agreement”:
Invenergy contract language states:
“1. Grant of Effects, Sound and Shadow Easements. Owner hereby grants and convey to Developer an exclusive easement on, over, under and across all of the Owner’s Property to permit Generating Units or other wind energy conversions systems on adjacent property or elsewhere to cast shadows or flicker onto the Owner’s Property; impact view or visual effects from the Owner’s Property; and cause or emit noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, and electromagnetic and frequency interference. “
Developer project maps defining the reach of turbine effects readily illustrate cases where an absentee landlord with a Good Neighbor Agreement is compensated for effects which will never be felt while the neighboring property owner who does live on his land would experience the effects but receive no compensation if setbacks are measured from the home. Senator Balderson found these materials to provide credible support for our position and encouraged us to make this case with members of his committee. We intend to follow up over the coming weeks.
At this juncture, we believe the law as currently in effect should remain untouched. The only circumstance in which we could see a modification of the current law would be if the residents of an impacted township voted affirmatively to make a modification.
Without their champion, former Senator Hite, the industry is going to the know-nothing/adoring media to hammer away at the renewable mandates and the property line setbacks. InsideClimate News, a left-wing enviro publication wrote a scathing article which was also published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pointing a finger at legislators, like Bill Seitz, as being a tool of fossil fuels and they accuse any organization critical of wind as being biased, untruthful and funded by rich anti-wind groups. Sounds like the mirror image of AWEA, Sierra, EDF, NRDC, League of Conservation Voters, Greenpeace and the developers. An excerpt from InsideClimate News states:
“Seitz despises wind turbines, and his dedication to rolling back Ohio’s energy standards stems in part from his passionate opposition to wind power. In fact, the only reason he voted for the standards back in 2008, he said, was a promise by the Senate president that he could write the language on turbines. Over time, Seitz has been behind restrictions that have wiped out any large new projects. “There will be no wind farms!” he said, with satisfaction.
Turbines, Seitz said, take up too much room, don’t work when the wind doesn’t blow, and are not a good fit for his district, in the far corner of the state where it borders Indiana and Kentucky. His neighbors love spending time in their yards and don’t want any turbines wrecking their “view sheds,” or chopping up bats and birds, he said. And it doesn’t help matters that “it seems to be a cabal of urban millennials who love wind [power] and want to inflict the damage on rural landscapes—stick it out there in the country where all the bumpkins can’t do anything about it. That’s not very nice. So I’m not a big fan of wind.”
Commenting on the story, Ned Ford, activist and perennial witness on behalf of renewables, wrote:
Seitz has harmed Ohio’s renewables not by his attacks on the standards, but by his promotion of the 2014 change to the wind siting rules. The original rules were fine, but the 2014 rules make it nearly impossible to find a large enough property in Ohio to build wind. Ohio’s wind setback rule is by far the most restrictive in the nation. (Fake News!)…When we defeat the Republicans and Ohio has all the wind it wants Representative Seitz won’t need to look at a wind turbine ever, because his district is an urban one, and there won’t be any need for wind generation in urban areas to keep Ohio’s cities powered with clean and cheap electricity. Farmers who lease land to wind turbines double their revenue per acre and lose only 5% of the useful land. (More Fake News)
Additional articles speak to HB 114 which continues to be heard in the House Public Utilities Committee chaired by former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bob Cupp. HB 114 would do away with renewable mandates. In that regard, Governor Kasich who harbors thoughts of another Presidential run, seems to be more aggressively in favor of wind and solar which is, in the opinion of many, intellectually dishonest. One business journal writes:
“Ohio’s wind energy setback restrictions are also hindering the ability of businesses to access cost-effective renewable energy. Lifting this barrier to wind energy development through proposals such as Senate Bill 188 will make Ohio more attractive to new investments and help the state capture new jobs and tax revenues. … Gov. John Kasich understands that keeping the state open to renewable energy development is critical to drawing businesses to Ohio. The governor recently said, “it is critical that we continue developing the renewables, because, believe me, at the end of the day, if the Facebooks and the Googles and the PayPals and the Amazons think that we are not committed to renewable energy, they will not come here. Period, end of story.”
The above statements are absolutely false. Ohio is a choice state and anyone who wants renewable energy can obtain it. Moreover, we note that no industrial plant like Honda, Whirlpool or Ball has been prevented from building on-site wind turbines. It is distressing that Governor Kasich is willing to perpetuate an untruth presumably to make millennials think he is pro-environment.
But it seems society and the media is corrupt from every point. In Indiana, Apex is trying to convince elected officials that a 60 decibel noise limit is scientifically proven to be acceptable. Included is an enjoyable article about the Mars Candy company and their extensive peer-reviewed research. It sounds just like the wind developers when speaking of their “peer-reviewed” science on noise or cleaning carbon from the environment. We leave you with this thought thanks to Mars:
“[Funding cocoa science] is quite clearly a sales thing to sell more chocolate because [the studies] suggest it’s not all that bad for you,” Coe said. “Chocolate companies can say they have scientifically proven that chocolate will lower your blood pressure, keep you from heart attacks.” …But Big Chocolate’s foray into nutrition research is a great case study in how industry can steer the scientific agenda — and some of the best minds in academia — toward studies that will ultimately benefit their bottom line, and not necessarily public health….Since then, mainly through the company’s scientific arm Mars Symbioscience, established in 2005, it has flooded journals with more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers….
With scare studies, policy drafts and political donations, industry groups turned Ohio lawmakers against policies they once overwhelmingly supported….