Is BigWind influencing our Ohio elections?

Somebody said that “Bad officials are elected by the good people who do not vote.” Our message here is that the wind industry will try to influence county level races as well as at the state level.   Champaign County observed this a number of years ago.

We are entering the election season and early voting has started.   We hope everyone votes and drags their family and friends with them to the polls.  Most of our readers will have heard by now that the Ohio Speaker of the House has resigned effective May 1st.   Speaker Cliff Rosenberger is under investigation by the FBI for suspected campaign finance violations.  He will be succeeded at least temporarily by Rep. Kirk Shuring of Canton.   Gov. Kasich’s aide, Wayne Struble, has announced he will retire at the end of the week.

With all the hubbub and the elections approaching, we examined the past year’s contributions by the wind industry to Ohio House and Senate members.  From our amateur evaluation, there are clearly three Senators who received the most from wind developers, their lobbyists and the lawyers who represent them:  Senator Bill Beagle of Tipp City, Senator Randy Gardner of Bowling Green and Senator Gayle Manning of North Ridgeville in the Huron and Lorain County areas.  Both Manning and Gardner are members of Senate Leadership.  All three are term limited and cannot run again although Gardner’s term will not end until 2020.

An examination of political donation reports from the Secretary of State’s Office reflects that of the $58,100 raised by Senator Beagle from 4-11-17 to 4-11-18, $16,700 – more than 25% of his funds –  came from wind-related donors and utilities.  AEP was the top donor at $5,000 followed by AWEA at $1,500.   Beagle is term-limited and cannot run again.  On the Republican side, Dr. Stephen Huffman is running unopposed in the primary.  Huffman currently represents District 80 in the Ohio House covering portions of Miami and Darke Counties..   He is related to Senator Matt Huffman, a strong supporter of property line setbacks. The Democrat, Paul Bradley, is also unopposed and will face off in November against Huffman.

Sen. Manning is term-limited and hopes that she is will be succeeded by her son, Nathan, who currently serves in the House of Representatives.  Manning is opposed in the primary by Ryan Sawyer of Norwalk.  It is unknown how Sawyer feels about wind development or property line setbacks but Manning has been disappointing.

Senator Randy Gardner raked in $172,437 over the past twelve months of which $14,550 was energy related.  AWEA contributed $2,500 to Gardner who will serve through 2020.  Bad news!  In the event no setback legislation is passed for the balance of the year, Gardner will likely figure prominently in next year’s attempts to reduce setbacks.

Senator Rob McColley of Napoleon is facing two primary challengers to retain his seat that was vacated by Cliff Hite.  Bob Barker, Jr. and Craig Kupferberg are the Republican primary opponents.  Kupferberg of Findlay, 59, is a former Findlay High School principal (friend of Hite?), and Robert D. Barker Jr., 53,comes from Van Wert.  The winner will compete in November against Democrat Adam Papin, 36, of Bryan, who is unopposed in his party’s primary.  Senator McColley’s district covers all of Henry, Putnam, Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Hancock, Van Wert and Hardin counties; the southeastern corner of Fulton County; and northern sections of Auglaize and Logan counties.  This is a very important race. You can vote right now if you would like. This race will send an important message about wind development in rural NW Ohio.

Rep. Robert Sprague from Findlay is running for State Treasurer.  His House seat is being contested in the Republican primary by Republican Cheryl Buckland, 64, of Findlay, who will face Jon Cross, 39, of Kenton. Buckland is a Republican State Central Committee member. Cross, of Kenton, is president/chief executive officer and economic development director of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, Kenton.  Given the open door policy of Hardin County toward wind development, we hope every man, woman and child that draws breath will get out and vote for Buckland even though we don’t know much about her.   The winner will face Democrat Ashley Philipp, of rural McComb, in the November general election.  This primary race will be closely watched by officials in neighboring counties.

In the 85th House District, incumbent Rep. Nino Vitale is facing several challengers.   Rep. Vitale supports property line setbacks and opposes wind energy as a general matter believing the costs do not outweigh the benefits.  The Urbana Daily Citizen recently asked the candidates about their views on industrial wind development.  The responses were as follows:

URBANA – Current Ohio House Rep. Nino Vitale is seeking another term in office and will be challenged by three other candidates for the Republican nomination.

Do you support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers, or do you think such projects are an unnecessary threat to property values of nearby uncompensated residents?

“The government continues to pick winners and losers. This needs to stop. While it is true that coal and nuclear companies receive subsidies, the problem is, on a per kilowatt basis, wind and solar are so inefficient, they are extremely expensive and unreliable, especially in Ohio. The free market is the BEST place for industry to innovate and grow. Government intervention and using taxpayer subsidies should be used at a very low level if at all.  “We should not use taxpayer money in private business to any great degree. I also believe in proper setbacks from property lines. I’m a strong supporter of property rights, but when you start to affect how your neighbor can enjoy and use their property, it becomes a public matter and not a private one.”

SIDNEY — Joe Ratermann, 54, of Sidney, has strong ties in his hometown of Sidney.

Do you support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers, or do you think such projects are an unnecessary threat to property values of nearby residents?

“Local communities and not the legislative body in Columbus are best able to decide what works best for their communities.  For those whom believe that the federal and state government is too intrusive in their lives, this is an excellent issue to allow the market place to dictate the result – and not the General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio. “That said, I support renewable energy. Renewable energy provides the opportunity to be proactive in preparing for the future. Wind and solar developers are preparing our state for long term economic sustainability as fossil fuel energy resources diminish and become increasingly expensive.”

SIDNEY — Sidney native Justin Griffis, 29, is seeking his first elected office in the political world.

Do you support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers, or do you think such projects are an unnecessary threat to property values of nearby residents?

“I am a free-market guy, but I do not support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies. This a pretty big issue right now in Logan and Champaign County. I think energy efficiency is a good thing; however, alternative energy sources, especially wind turbines, have more cons than pros.   “First, each turbine assembly requires dozens of acres of clearance, which alters the rural landscape in which it is located. Second, wind turbines are highly intrusive because they are big structures with rotating blades that generate noise and vibration. The noise and vibration affects the wildlife in the area, often times causing the animals to relocate, and is a nuisance to neighboring property owners.  “Third, wind developers often times try to get neighboring property owners to sign ‘Good Neighbor Agreements.’ If a neighboring property owner signs the agreement, they lose their right to sue the developer over any past, present, and future claims of action that may arise.  They also lose the right to sue for any compensatory or punitive damages. The neighboring property owners are paid a small sum not to interfere with the construction, installation, maintenance, and operation of the wind turbine and also have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “Fourth, these projects definitely cause property values to decrease for nearby residents. Wind turbines are unsightly, have constant noise and vibration, and have strobe lighting that operates both day and night. “Currently, alternative energy sources are not cost effective. Wind turbines and solar panels do not produce significant amounts of energy and cost lots of money to install, maintain, and operate. Again, I believe that there are more cons than pros associated with these alternative energy sources. Therefore, I do not support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers.”

URBANA – Rochiel Foulk is one of four candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the Ohio House of Representatives 85th district. A native of Urbana, Foulk graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree and Capital University Law School with a paralegal certificate.

Do you support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers, or do you think such projects are an unnecessary threat to property values of nearby uncompensated residents?

“I am in favor of cheap energy, regardless of the source as long as it doesn’t cause harm to or bother anyone. Further discussion would have to incorporate the interests of the people who have no recourse to rid themselves of the broken remains of massive, structures no longer in use, once the lifespan of the windmills is complete, and the land owners who would be affected. “With, the importance of preserving Ohio’s aesthetic landscapes and the threat of ruining this historically valued asset, it would be important to represent what the voters would want, and not what an outside industry might be proposing for the financial benefit of only a small group. Beyond that, state encouragement of development of solar and other renewable energy sources seems like a good thing.”

In Van Wert, Ohio, home of the Blue Creek wind facility, the Commissioner race is heating up – well maybe on fire would be a better way to say it.   We blogged, yesterday, about this…

 “There is an interesting development in Van Wert, Ohio as a strongly PRO Big Wind candidate is attempting to oust a current county commissioner….The county commissioners ultimately vote on whether or not to give Big Wind the massive PILOT tax abatement. Vicky and her husband are the owners of Profit & Sons Farms in Van Wert County, Ohio.  The Profits farm approximately 3800 acres and have approx 1200 acres leased within the proposed Apex Clean Energy/Long Prairie wind project. Much of the  remaining 2600 acres, owned by other individuals, is  also leased, per the Van Wert County Auditor’s office. Mrs Profit would be in direct violation of Ohio Ethics code if she takes place in any discussion or voting on any wind matter.  The Ohio Ethics Law and related statutes are found in Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) Chapter 102. and Sections 2921.42 and 2921.43.

 Mrs Profit stated in this publication that Commissioners should make Big Wind decisions withOUT going to a public vote…but legislation is being currently being written allowing Ohio residents to have this decision-making power.  Mrs Profit is also directly supported by Sarah Moser, Project Development Manager of Apex Clean Energy.  In Mrs.  Profit’s Declaration of Candidacy, Sarah K Moser was the signed Circulator of the Candidacy petition. There are also election billboards place throughout the county payed for by SRAL LLC,  A Domestic Limited Liability Company owned by Sarah K Moser. Does this show collusion between Big Wind and this candidate?…”

Again, WHO you vote for may be as important as IF you vote at all.  Respect the rights we have been afforded by our history. Inform yourselves and VOTE!

 

 

 

 

Link to article

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BigWind problems in Hardin county, Ohio

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Hardin county, Ohio is being inundated with industrial wind turbines. Remember, their county passed an Alternative Energy Zone, so they can NOT say No to BigWind.  Now, BigWind has damaged a bridge they WERE NOT supposed to use.  Some township roads were so trashed that a 200K bid is estimated for proper repair .  Will they just patch it back together with band aids and glue? Gee, some TAX dollars would be nice to repair these roads, but WAIT! BigWind doesn’t PAY taxes!!…We know that road will never be the same.  Their officials are learning a lot…Will they make changes to future RUMA agreements?

Ohio Rep Bill Seitz Stands Up to BigWind Bullies

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To: Ohio General Assembly
Subject: Regarding “Stand Up To Seitz” Flyer

You or your constituents may have recently received the enclosed mailer from the “Economic Prosperity Project” urging that “Republican legislators need to STAND UP to Bill Seitz” because “He is using his influence to prevent $4.2 billion from being invested in Ohio wind energy.”

 

I thought you would like to know that the mailing address associated with this flyer is registered to Innovation Ohio, a liberal think tank run by former Speaker Budish’s Democrat chief of staff, Keary McCarthy, and former top Strickland administration policy chief Jeannetta King. The “Economic Prosperity Project” is a new corporation registered to a former Strickland administration operative, too.

 

It is of course up to you whether to join the “#StandUpToSeitz” movement. Should you do so, you would be “standing up” for Ted Strickland, Armond Budish, and all their liberal pals. The choice is yours. Real Republicans will be watching which choice you make.

 

Contrary to the mailer, please know that I am simply resolved not to let Big Wind and their allies ruin rural Ohio with their unsafe and unsightly, expensive and intermittent wind turbines just to line the pockets of a few farmers willing to sell their neighbors down the river by advocating for wind turbine setbacks that are measured from one’s home, instead of from one’s property line. Anyone who has ever lived in a home knows that we like to use the yard we have for gardening, picnicking, shooting hoops, swimming, fishing, and a host of other activities that involve core private property rights. Big Wind, ever desperate to put more turbines in smaller spaces in densely populated Ohio, and biting its nails as the massive federal subsidies for wind production are being reduced by 20% per year, is bound and determined to get its way. It has decided to let Democrat front groups appeal to Republican households in a deceptive attempt to secure yet another government sanctioned advantage. Don’t be fooled.

 

Attached is some recent information about what wind setbacks are in the Midwest. Ours are not draconian in comparison. Feel free to use this information in responding to any constituents who ask you to “stand up to Bill Seitz.”

 

Sincerely,

 

William J. Seitz

Majority Floor Leader

Ohio House of Representatives

Rep Seitz ‘fights’ for Ohioans against BigWind

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There has been ongoing work behind the scenes in the Ohio General Assembly with regards to BigWind.  There had been speculation last year that HB 114 (repealing renewable mandates) and SB 238 (shortening setbacks) might be combined into a substitute Senate bill.   We believe the “McColley Compromise” (BigWind is being promoted by Sen Balderson and Beagle, too) is included in these discussions.   Speculation is that focused effort will resume after the Easter break…

The flurry of recent attacks on Rep. Seitz and current property line setbacks is not letting up.  This may be an indicator of panic on the part of the wind industry eager to get relief from protective setbacks while the Production Tax Credit is still available.  Recently, Rep. Seitz circulated a peer reviewed study of the distances ice or blade fragments could be thrown from a wind turbine.   In his email, Seitz noted “The study demonstrates that blade shear fragments can travel 700 meters to 2 kilometers, and ice throw distances range from 100-600 meters. Also of interest is table 1, showing setback distances around the world, the vast majority of which exceed current Ohio law and vastly exceed those proposed by SB 238. I highly recommend that OPSB staff undergo a careful review of this study as their history demonstrates scant attention to these objects of wind farm development.”

In response to Rep. Seitz’s effort to educate his colleagues, environmental activist/journalist,  Kathiann M. Kowalski, wrote a rebuttal of sorts attempting to discredit or marginalize the ice/fragment throw study by claiming that just because it is possiblefor a fragment to be thrown a certain distance, does not mean it is probable.   Wind News readers should be wary of any attempt by the wind industry to assert safety protections based on probabilities.   It is customary to evaluate safety on a basis of a “deterministic” study not a “probability” study.   We include in today’s issue an article by Lisa Linowes from a 2014 in Master Resource that speaks to this distinction:

 

“In assessing risk to the public, the wind industry typically assumes a probabilistic perspective where they examine the probability of failure and the chances of an individual being present at the time of the event. If the probabilistic assessment assumes that people are infrequently present when a blade might be thrown, for example, then it’s not surprising that the industry reports a low risk of harm even at close range.

 

According to William Palmer, a utility reliability engineer responsible for analyzing the impact on public safety at a nuclear facility in Ontario Canada, deterministic risk assessments provide a more accurate understanding of risk and necessary mitigation measures. Deterministic risk assessments require analysts to assume that a person is permanently standing at the limit of risk (edge of the safety zone), and are considered to be there during the accident. If people are nearby all the time, their risk of being hurt is high.”

 

Also, important to note this week are the publication of proposed rules for wind issued by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB).   They will be scheduled for review by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).  Given the above discussion, it is important to see how the OPSB deals with safety in the proposed rules:

 

“(3) In addition to the use of the safety measures enumerated in paragraph (E)(2) of this rule, the potential impact from ice throw shall be presumptively deemed to satisfy safety considerations if the probability of one kilogram of ice landing beyond the statutory property line setback for each turbine location is less than one per cent per year.” 

 

Ohio’s current minimum fixed setback distance (1,125 feet) is often less than the minimum safe distance specification contained in safety manuals issued by manufacturers of wind turbines.  In the Greenwich Windpark case from Huron County, a safety manual for the GE 2.3-116 model was filed with the OPSB during the certificate application process.   The safety manual states:

 

11.1 Approaching and Entering Frosted Turbine Generator Systems

 

Before parking near the turbine, stop approx. 350 m [1,148 feet] from the turbine and check the rotor blades for ice by means of binoculars and the sound of the rotation of the blades.  If the turbine is running and ice is present, call for a remote stop.

 

Leave the immediate vicinity of the WTG after completing your work.  Watch out for falling ice.  Get into your vehicle.  Do not call for a remote re-activation of the yaw drive and restart of the turbine until you are approximately 350 m [1,148 feet] away from the WTG.

 

Is there a double standard for employees versus residents living nearby?   WHO, exactly, is the OPSB protecting with THEIR rules??? What assumptions are made in the OPSB “probability model”?  Do they even have their own model? In other cases, the OPSB has indicated they do not have the expertise to make such calculations and they rely upon the wind developer.  We recall a dissenting opinion from Justice Stratton in the Ohio Supreme Court where she opined that, the OPSB simply required the developer to provide OPSB staff, and no one else, with the “formula” used to calculate the distance a blade could be thrown. “Since this same staff had lacked the competence to even attempt such a calculation in the first place, it is open to question what good providing such a formula would do.” And the OPSB did not require the developer or staff to share the formula with other parties, to file it in the public record, or otherwise to resubmit the issue for review, so no one else would ever be entitled to scrutinize the developer’s calculations.    This should be troubling to lawmakers and communities, alike….

 

 

Seitz letter

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum exposed as BigWind in sheep’s clothing

I write in response to Columbus Business First’s March 2 article about a poll showing that conservative voters back green energy policies.

The article begins with the assertion that conservatives in Ohio favor clean energy policies, and accuses the Republican legislature of engaging in efforts to water down or kill renewable energy rules.

It also cites a poll showing that 85 percent of conservative voters are willing to pay more for their electricity if it is sourced from renewable energy sources.

The article, like others that have contributed to the spin initiated by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, also indicates that Ohio’s mandates that favor particular supply or demand side technologies at the expense of captive electric customers need to be maintained to curry favor with the likes of Amazon.

I offer a different perspective.

In 2001, Ohio implemented legislation giving most retail electric customers in the state the right to act on their own electric generation supply preferences. They can exercise this right as an individual customer or through buying or aggregation groups…

This right is also not available to the customers of Ohio’s municipal electric utilities like those in Westerville and Columbus. (Perhaps this is something that the Columbus Partnership and Columbus 2020 might want to work on to help their Amazon campaign.)

Since 2001, if a retail electric customer in Ohio wants to obtain all of their generation supply from renewable sources, they can do so. And if they are willing to pay more for the renewable supply, they are free to do that as well. Ohio’s mandates compel customers who may have other preferences to nonetheless pay for renewable supply regardless of how much it costs. And Ohio’s investor owned utilities have used their role in the mandate compliance process to get hefty bonuses (also paid by captive customers) that further increase bills.

Ohio’s mandates are anticompetitive and anti-consumer. If the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum’s poll is correct, then Ohio’s customer-choice platform gives Amazon and most other Ohio retail electric customers complete control over their generation supply outcome without impinging on the price and technology preferences of their neighbors.

The article also makes a pitch for modifying Ohio’s minimum setback requirements that must be met by developers of large wind farms. This pitch is based on claims made by wind farm developers…

It is true that Ohio modified the minimum setback requirements in 2014. But the modification did not increase the minimum setback requirements. Instead, the modification required that the minimum setback distance be measured from the adjoining property line just like setbacks are measured in the case of all other land use regulation schemes. This change better respects the property rights and interests of non-participating owners of property adjoining a wind farm project.

 

Under current Ohio law, these non-participating property owners can agree to allow the wind farm developer to evade the minimum setback requirements by executing waivers…

Rather than respect the rights of these adjoining property owners, wind farm developers and their friends at the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum want Ohio to compel these property owners to, in effect and without compensation, provide the wind farm developer with an easement that subjects the adjoining property and anybody located on that property to the fire, ice throw, blade sheer, shadow flicker, noise and other risks attendant to the construction and operation of industrial size wind farms…

 

 

Link to article

Will Ohio legislators be liable if BigWind tragedy occurs here?

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Our Ohio legislators are delusional to believe that Ohioans are safe with these industrial machines planted next door to our homes. A German turbine scatters blade debris 800 METERS away from the turbine.  That is NOT a typo….800 METERS.  What is the current setback from a property line that our legislature is preparing to REDUCE? 1125 FEET.  Tragedy will happen someday and it will change the course of this industry; unfortunately, it will also change the course of a family’s lives.  Will it occur in Ohio first? Will our legislators be held liable for their actions??????????????????????????????????????????

Why is a Property Value Guarantee good enough for fossil fuel, but NOT BigWind?

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From Energy and Environmental News, we have long advocated that a Property Value Guarantee (PVG) be included in any local wind ordinance that is serious about protecting the rights of citizens. Not suprisingly, the wind industry is adamantly opposed to a PVG… We were alerted to the fact that Exxon is offering a PVG near one of their fossil fuel facilities!  What’s acceptable for fossil fuels should be good enough for wind turbines…

Both ExxonMobil and SABIC are industry leaders in working with communities and implementing sustainable programs based on local needs. As members of the community, our employees are committed to making positive impacts where they and their families live. Gulf Coast Growth Ventures is committed to upholding that same commitment.

Gulf Coast Growth Ventures is listening to the community. Project representatives have held more than 114 outreach meetings with local organizations, chambers, governments, civic groups and neighborhoods. We have listened to questions, concerns and input from local residents, and we continue to meet with the community every day. The Good Neighbor Program addresses the issues that local residents expressed as the most important through four key components….

QUALITY OF LIFE

  • My Town, My Future: Support and participate in community visioning process.
  • Alternative water supply: Engage with local water districts and organizations to evaluate development of water desalination project to help offset industrial use.
  • Near Neighbor Voluntary Price Protection Program: Price protection program for adjacent property owners.
  • Noise & light abatement: Implement programs and technologies to minimize off-site noise and light; fund traffic management efforts including impact studies, dust control and new police officers.
  • Community Advisory Panel: Establish regional panel to provide regular counsel to GCGV during construction and operations on various issues such as traffic and job training.
  • VIP program: Implement Volunteer Involvement Program to encourage employee volunteerism.

HEALTH & SAFETY

  • Air monitoring program: Regional air monitoring; monitoring in the community and at the fenceline; provide monitoring results online.
  • Emergency responder support: Assist in upgrading local response capabilities for Gregory Fire and EMS services; provide ongoing training and cooperation.
  • Community Communication: Establish and maintain lines of communication for residents to raise concerns, ask questions and obtain information about the project.
  • Mutual aid: Participate in community-wide mutual aid programs with first responders and other local industry….

read entirety at     http://gulfcoastgv.com/good-neighbor-program