In case you haven’t heard two identical bills have been introduced in Committees in the Ohio Legislature. SB 52 (Reineke and McColley) and HB 118 (Riedel and Stein) both have had their first hearings in their respective Committees and can be viewed here:
Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee – Sponsor Testimony on Feb 17th 2021:
House Public Utilities Committee – Sponsor Testimony on Feb 23rd 2021:
Summary of the bill:
Local control via referendum – Trustees pass resolution to allow for public input (referendum on wind turbine projects).
Setbacks for wind turbines required to equal manufacturer’s safety distances during fires and storms (and no closer than current law allows) Make more information available at earlier stages of the projects
How can you help?
The sponsoring Legislators are working hard to get these bills passed but they need a wave of support from the public to help convince their colleagues to vote for passage. This is the best chance we will ever have to get a law passed allowing us to have a local vote on wind and solar projects. Right now is the time when we can really help by submitting written letters of support (referred to as “testimony”) and submit them to the state committees who will determine if the bills move forward towards passage.
It is a simple process and many of you have done it before. Just write a couple paragraphs explaining why you think a local vote is needed and/or why you think setback distances should be at least as far as the turbine manufacturers say is safe in case of fires or during thunderstorms.
Even though you may have a lot of good reasons why you don’t want a wind project nearby (like noise, hazard to eagles/bats, karst issues, underground water pollution, damage to roads, etc) the object of your letter should not be to spell those out. We can save those individual reasons for another time. This legislation is just about giving everyone a voice by vote which is only fair since wind and solar projects transform communities in such a big way. Local citizens should be the ones deciding whether the promised benefits are valid and whether they outweigh the negatives which come with such industrialization.
Since part of the bill is to ensure the safety of local residents if a project is built, it would be great to mention that no matter whether people are for or against such projects their personal safety should not be allowed to be threatened by a state regulated construction project.
Another point to raise as a reason for a local vote is that property values can be negatively affected when your area changes from agricultural/residential to more of an industrial nature.
Part of the legislation also requires the developers to be more open with information so neighbors don’t find out until late in the process. You can mention that in your letter as well. How soon did you hear of the project? Would you like to have known sooner?
Do you think it is fair that the will of local citizens be overridden by the decisions of a State agency (Ohio Power Siting Board) because the majority of polls say that people in big Ohio cities think wind and solar are great? Or do you think we at least deserve to have a local vote on whether it is a great idea for our community? Do you think politicians from those big city districts are acting fairly when they insist we local residents should not be able to vote on an issue that will change our community so drastically?
It would be extremely helpful if you could write a couple paragraphs in your own words about the points mentioned above. Just send them as a reply to this email and we will take it from there. Easy!
At the bottom of your email be sure to write your name, address, telephone number, and email address. This is to validate that the remarks are coming from a real person.