As reported previously, Sen. Cliff Hite has introduced Senate Bill 188 to reduce setbacks for industrial wind turbines. The legislation has now been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Senator Balderson. It is anticipated that hearings on the bill will begin soon.
Hite is promoting his bill as a “compromise” that meets the needs of property owners as well as developers. He bases this on extending the property line setback from 1.1 times turbine height to 1.2 times turbine height. Notwithstanding, “The idea that the bill is a compromise is wrong, according to House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, who opposes the bill. “ “If it comes at the expense of the quiet enjoyment of adjacent property owners, then I disagree with him,” he said. Turbines can hurt a person’s ability to enjoy their yard, he said. “Shadow flicker, ice throw, snow throw, failure, fire, toppling over, blades flying off,” he gave as examples of how turbines can negatively impact homeowners.”
“Seitz is open to compromise, he said. His suggestions would be to let local voters decide setback distances or to allow for shorter setback requirements when the adjacent property is neither a home, livestock farm or business. “It is important to protect the neighboring properties that will have to absorb these impacts,” he said. Hite anticipates the bill will pass in the state Senate but will face opposition in the House. He’s hopeful it could pass by the end of the year.”
Hite says he is prepared for a fight but he hit a new all-time low on Wednesday when he held a press conference at the Statehouse with “health professionals” touting the health benefits of reduced setbacks. “The Ohio Environmental Council hosted the event, which featured comments from Aparna Bole, pediatrician and medical director of community integration for University Hospitals; Dan Sullivan, medical director of the Solon Family Health Center; and Lauren Kleinman Koch, project manager for Healthcare Without Harm. (Note to self: What about Wind Without Harm?)
What no one will read in press reports are that Aparna Bole is the Chairman of the Board of left-wing group called Practice Green Health. She is a community organizer in addition to being a pediatrician. At the press conference “Bole said there is a consensus among the scientific and health professional community that addressing climate change is critical to improving the overall health of the world’s population. I’m so thankful for Sen. Hite’s introduction of a bill that makes it easier for wind development in Ohio,” Bole said. “This action will in turn make it easier for kids to play outside and to stay in school instead of sitting sick at home.” (Note to self again: What about the kids who will be sick IN their homes?)
The Vision statement for GreenHealth is: “Health care mobilizes its ethical, economic and political influence to create an ecologically sustainable, equitable and healthy world.” And the Mission statement is: “Transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.” For more go to https://practicegreenhealth.org/
Comrade Hite and Aparna Bole were joined at the presser by Lauren Kleinman Koch who is a staff member at GreenHealth. We wonder if these shills even know that the World Health Organization has standards for noise? Are they acquainted with the considerable research done by the Cochlear Fluids Lab at Washington University? It’s is cinch they don’t care about the Hippocratic Oath that compels medical professionals to “First Do No Harm”. Hite certainly does not bring any honor to the Republican Party and he makes Trump’s “swamp” look like a mud puddle.
Elsewhere, another recent article demonstrates the increasing heights of wind turbines- up to 720 feet! And, G.M.’s announcement that they will buy the power from a proposed wind project in Van Wert/Paulding Counties…
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Hite, Health Professionals Tout Wind Setback Bill
Recently proposed legislation that would revise wind setback restrictions was praised by environmentalists and medical professionals during a Statehouse press conference Wednesday.
Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) said his SB188 offers compromise legislation between those who want to harvest wind and those who do not want turbines near where they live. According to the bill, the actual setback distance required is increased from 1,125 feet to 1,225 feet. However, the distance is only measured from the tip of its nearest blade at 90 degrees to the exterior of the nearest habitable residential structure on an adjacent property, not to the property line.
Hite said the wind farms in his district have helped the community greatly, noting the technological equipment that has been purchased by local schools. He said it is also important to advance policy that improves the environment for younger generations, citing his four grandchildren.
The Ohio Environmental Council hosted the event, which featured comments from Aparna Bole, pediatrician and medical director of community integration for University Hospitals; Dan Sullivan, medical director of the Solon Family Health Center; and Lauren Kleinman Koch, project manager for Healthcare Without Harm.
Bole said there is a consensus among the scientific and health professional community that addressing climate change is critical to improving the overall health of the world’s population.
“I’m so thankful for Sen. Hite’s introduction of a bill that makes it easier for wind development in Ohio,” Bole said. “This action will in turn make it easier for kids to play outside and to stay in school instead of sitting sick at home.”
Sullivan said further wind development in Ohio could lead to public health benefits through the reduction of fossil fuel use.
“Ohio is a state that is very reliant on fossil fuel sources of electricity which produce harmful pollution that causes asthma attacks, heart attacks and other smog-causing pollution,” Sullivan said. “The more we can advance clean energy, the less reliant we have to be on these polluting sources of energy.”
Kleinman Koch noted the state would see financial gains as well as health and environmental benefits if the bill is passed…
Mathew McConaughey said it best, “alright, alright, alright”! Look at the setbacks, along with the protections to a village and property owners. Apex, however, is cringing at these changes and they do NOT want to see them repeat here, in Ohio. We can dream, though…
The Somerset Town Board approved a local law Wednesday amending the zoning code regarding commercial and industrial wind energy conversion systems, like the one being proposed in Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project.
Under the revised law, no commercial or industrial wind conversion system can be placed within 1,500 feet of any residential district boundary line or the town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
Setback requirements now mandate that any wind turbines constructed in the town would have to be at least twice their height in distance from any property line or building. That excludes adjacent property lines of project participants. The law also requires any turbines be set back 1,500 feet or two times the turbine’s height from any public road or highway, and 2,000 feet from any residence or other commercial or industrial turbines. Turbines may not be within a half-mile of the boundary of the village of Barker.
The law has an amendment which requires a turbine’s owner to reimburse residents within two miles of each turbine if they see their property values decline as a result of proximity to the turbine…
No sooner had we written about the prospects for the Clean Power Plan, Justice Scalia died and now there is much speculation about his successor and whether the U.S. Senate will hold hearings on any nomination that might be made by President Obama. We cannot speculate on what will happen but thought you should know the constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan hangs in the balance. In some states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, the Governor has ordered that no further work on the CPP be undertaken while in Kansas and Missouri, the legislatures are working to halt activity. Ohio waits to hear what happens next.
In advance of a major Wind Operations and Maintenance conference coming up in Texas, a report has been issued reviewing issues that are arising as the fleet of wind turbines deployed across America age. The numbers are sobering and should give any community thinking about approving a wind facility second thought. Principal findings include:
• Bearing failure/ repair & maintenance focus set to double by 2017
• Original Equipment Manufacturers could lose 15% share of the O&M market by 2020
• Condition Monitoring Systems & Analytics investment to increase 1/3 by 2017
• Optimization of power generation, not cost cutting the real driver of investment (63/37%)
This means among other things, the noise from turbines is going to get a lot louder as the turbines age and are in need of gearbox repair. Also, repowering existing turbines with longer blades will increase. Moreover, those turbines that cannot be viably repowered will be decommissioned (or left to rust in the fields). Finding Q13 “What is the single biggest focus for you over the next 12 months?” was decommissioning.
What does “optimization of power generation” mean? It means taller turbines and longer blades and it should mean longer setbacks. We think the giants are coming to Ohio. The FAA reviews all potential structures that exceed 200 feet in height for possible air traffic obstruction. Recently, they have reviewed a wind development planned for Bellevue for turbines listed at 660 feet! Bellevue straddles Erie, Huron and Sandusky Counties. We include an article about this sort of monster below with a link to the monster movie showing its construction.
Going back to the Operations and Maintenance issues, our colleague, Tom Stacy, advises us to think about them in the context of annually increasing renewable energy mandates. Tom says, “Consider the implications of annually ratcheting energy market share mandates with a total schedule term longer than the lifespans of wind turbines. The deployment rate must increase markedly in later years of the program when new turbines are required to meet both replacement of old machines as well to meet annual benchmarks. And all this to produce randomly timed energy without firm capacity – dictating redundant infrastructure that includes necessarily underutilized conventional power plant assets. “
With respect to the setbacks defined in law, the notion of having the minimum be defined as a formula like 3xtower height plus blade length would be more desirable than a fixed number like 1,250 feet from a property line. In the case of the 660’ turbines, the minimum would then be 1,980’. That is a significant difference.
If you haven’t read the blog from, yesterday, please see that Kevon Martis, Director of Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, has teamed up with Senator Seitz to challenge those who would seek to override the property line setback law through HB 190. They coined the phrase “trespass zoning” and have written a terrific opinion piece for the Ohio media. They conclude by saying: “Good neighbors don’t trespass. If Big Wind wants to be a good neighbor in rural Ohio, it needs to abandon its demand for trespass zoning.” The Lima News has printed the article and we hope the papers in Van Wert, Bellefontaine, Urbana and Springfield follow suit. We believe it was distributed to all of them.
Notwithstanding all of the above, on February 18th, Trishe Wind filed an Amendment to the next phase of the Blue Creek project in Paulding County proposing larger turbines and seeking to be considered under old rules that measure setbacks from homes even though Amendments to previously approved projects are supposed to be subject to the revised setbacks. Looks like that ole “optimization of power generation”! Attention! Trespass Zoning coming to Paulding County…again!
Enercon E126 – The Most Powerful Wind Turbine in the World
It is absolutely ludicrous that BigWind should be allowed to bully our legislators into shrinking our turbine setbacks (House Bill 483), as Apex/Everpower/Iberdrola are rumored to be doing. The setback is, currently, only 1250 feet from a property line. Watch this turbine fall, and you would wish that length to be significantly FARTHER! Turbines are only getting taller and blades only getting longer, yet the setbacks remain the same. Add some wind to this fire and catastropic damage could ensue to structures and property, fields and woods nearby…
As Halloween approaches, we have scary news for Ohio farmers who want to lease acreage to BigWind. Bats are already under assault d/t the white nose fungus, but turbines are a close 2nd. Estimates range between 600,000-1 million bats are killed every year by wind turbines. What will industrial turbines do, in the long run, to your family legacy? How much money do you want to spend on insecticides? Do you think it is responsible for you to accelerate the use of pesticides? You should think twice before signing a new lease when you consider how detrimental industrial wind turbines are to the bat populations. A new study published by the National Science Foundation finds that bats contribute over a billion dollars in value to corn farmers in preventing crop damage. Boston University previously reported the economic value of bats as $72 per crop acre in avoided pesticide costs. Union Neighbors United (Ohio) is continuing its challenge to the USFWS rules for threatened and endangered bats….
In the grassy cornfields of Southern Illinois bats are on the hunt for insects, and according to new research, farmers have more than a billion reasons to be grateful for it.
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today confirms that bats play a significant role in combating corn crop pests, saving more than $1 billion a year in crop damages around the world. Bat Conservation International funded the two-year experiment in cornfields near Horseshoe Lake in Southern Illinois, conducted by graduate student Josiah J. Maine and his adviser at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Justin Boyles….
“The main pest in my system was the corn earworm, a moth whose larvae cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to corn, cotton, tomatoes, and many other crops,” Maine said….
Keeping the bats out meant pests, such as the corn earworm, were largely free to reign havoc on the corn crops….To ensure only bats were excluded by the exclosures Maine moved the structures twice daily so birds could forage normally.
After analyzing the results, Maine said he found nearly 60 percent more earworm larvae inside the exclosures – protected from the hungry bats – than in the unprotected control areas. He also found more than 50 percent more corn kernel damage per ear in the corn inside the exclosures.
“By consuming crop pests, bats have tremendous ecological impacts in crop fields. Based on the difference in crop damage I observed, I estimated that bats provide a service to corn farmers worth about $1 billion globally” Maine said.
In addition to controlling pest populations, bats were also found to suppress pest-associated fungal growth found in corn— a money-saving agricultural service not reflected in Maine’s suggested estimate.
“This was sort of a serendipitous discovery of this research,” Maine said. “I found that [bats] seemed to be suppressing the population of crop pests and thereby suppressing the abundance of the toxic fungus and also the toxins produced by that fungus.”….
It has been another busy week with BigWind in Ohio. On the “good news” front, the Ohio Mandate Study Committee convened on Wednesday to hear testimony from the grid operator, PJM. Our friend Senator Seitz was brilliant in his questioning and extracted admissions that the transmission requirements and back-up needed to support wind made them very expensive. Without significant, ongoing subsidy, wind cannot compete in the market. The downstream consequences to the current reliable and affordable generation fleet were dire as well. It was made very clear to all legislators that the PJM grid operator only counts 13% of wind’s nameplate capacity as viable while next door in Indiana, the MISO grid operator credits wind with only 2.7% of nameplate. Senator Seitz suggested that MISO’s number may be more credible than PJM’s. Meanwhile, we understand more clearly why President Obama has proposed that the Production Tax Credit for Wind be made permanent.
Speaking of subsidies, an organization called “Good Jobs First” released a report this week on Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations. GJF is dedicated to educating the public on how much taxpayer money the federal government is handing out and to whom. Their report totals up subsidies covering 137 programs in 11 federal Cabinet agencies from 2000 to the most recent records. This is across all industries in the country. Greg LeRoy, the organization’s executive director, said in a news release that the data aimed to give transparency to which companies specifically are receiving federal assistance. “For more than 20 years, so-called corporate welfare has been debated widely with little awareness of which companies were receiving most of the federal assistance,” LeRoy said. And who ame in first? Spanish wind developer, Iberdrola has raked in over $2.2 billion in taxpayer funding! Iberdrola was followed by five other wind companies that received more than $1 billion each.
From Indiana comes an open letter from a Tipton County Commissioner to Howard County Commissioners who are considering proposals for wind development. This letter is a must read. It is an ‘oh so familiar’ lament and we are seeing more of them all across America. Former Commissioner Harper closes her letter with this message: “As an elected official/public servant. . . . . if you must go forward with approvals that allow wind farm development . . . and thus you become the reason a wind farm was built in Howard County. . . it will be a decision you will regret the rest of your life. “ Please click the link and read this letter in its entirety…
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 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. My own family was offered an opportunity to lease land to E.ON and we declined because my husband did not care to farm around the towers, and I just didn’t want to look at them. I set my own personal views aside and made decisions based on what I felt the majority of the public wanted. I was outspoken enough, however, to say that I would never support a plan to cover a large portion of the county with wind turbines. As it turned out, the problem was that when the decisions were being made to build “Wildcat I”, the commissioners were not hearing from the “majority”. People really did not know this was happening, or if they did, they did not perceive it to be as “invasive” as it was. 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….. !!!!…
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. The May, 2014 primary election is evidence that the majority of the voters supported candidates openly opposed to wind farm development and an incumbent commissioner was voted out of office due to his unwillingness to listen to the majority on any issue, including wind….
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….