This editorial is a direct response to Senator Matt Dolan’s piece on energy policy that was recently in the Plain Dealer. Senator Dolan is clearly a proponent of the blatant theft of people’s health, safety, property rights and value with SB 238. The reason it should be called theft is that his bill wants to site industrial wind turbines to people’s homes over their property lines. Rural Ohioans live in communities that are zoned agricultural-residential. Nothing about the rural community is zoned industrial. That is why Senator Dolan and the wind lobby love calling them wind “farms” or they are “harvesting” the wind. Call these massive intrusive machines what they are, industrial wind turbines that are power plants. All one has to do is brush up on the United States Constitution to see that equitable property rights are guaranteed for all landowners, not favoring one over the other. Senator Dolan’s bill is exactly that, a slap in the face of every single landowner’s constitutional right. How can any logical person think that measuring an industrial electric generator from our homes over our property lines isn’t blatant theft? Nothing in Ohio law needs to change for projects to be built. Wind developers just need to secure enough “good neighbor agreements” also known as “setback waivers” to build their projects. The problem they are facing is that many people are refusing to participate. So what does the wind lobby do? They get Senator Dolan to steal those rights from non-participating landowners in SB 238.
I would ask the Senator why the Ohio Power Siting Board refuses to release the recommended safety setbacks for each make and model of industrial wind turbines in their manuals to the public? Is it because the wind industry deems this information proprietary? So where does his setback number of 1,225’ in his bill come from? I ask him to prove that number with hard science and data. The truth is there is no scientific data to back that number. So without the public knowing exactly what the experts who create safety manuals suggest for wind turbines, Senator Dolan promotes a number that could endanger rural Ohioans. That seems irresponsible. Would his constituents support legislation that does that in his own district? If you want some real science on what wind turbines are capable of, read this study by Physics Professor Terry Matilsky of Rutgers University. This study is done with a turbine with a hub height of 300’ in mind. The turbines proposed for NW Ohio extend well over 600’. Matilsky uses math to prove that a 300’ hub height (not counting blade length) can throw debris close to 1700’, or 475’ more than the Senator’s proposal for turbines 200-300’ taller than the study. Would you accept that in your community? The fact is the wind industry is blatantly dishonest when they claim Ohio is the most restrictive state on wind setbacks. The fact is most states have local zoning for wind including our neighbors in Indiana and Michigan. If you want a comparative study, you can find that here. If this is such a great thing and Ohioans strongly support it like the wind industry claims, then surely Senator Dolan would be a proponent of a local vote on these industrial projects by the people who will live among them right? Senator Dolan has that opportunity by working with my state senator, Rob McColley, who proposed that very thing. Senator Dolan does not support that idea in any way. Why is that Senator Dolan? If you think this is such a great thing for all of Ohioans lead the charge and get one of these industrial footprints developed right in Chagrin Falls, surely your neighbors would be excited to host such a fantastic economic opportunity right?
Senator Dolan then makes the claim that all these businesses wanting to come to Ohio are looking for this energy. There is nothing restricting them in Ohio from buying renewable power right now. Businesses in Ohio already have that full right. Energy policy and markets already allow it. So it is a falsehood to say that businesses that want to invest in Ohio need access to renewable power. They already have that choice.
Next, Senator Dolan sites a blog by Environmental Defense Fund interns, yes interns, saying that millenials want clean energy as a focus. Nobody has a problem with clean energy, as long as it is sited responsibly and the burden of cost doesn’t completely fleece the tax and ratepayers of Ohio. I would like to know where all these millennial supporters plan on living? Will they voluntarily live in the footprint of large industrial scale wind project like I have in my county (the largest project in the entire state)? Will they support the theft of their rights? Or will they live in cities and urban areas far away from us rural Ohioans who stand the most to lose?
Senator Dolan needs to address many other concerns. How will Senator Dolan’s bill address the multitude of health issues people are having due to living within an industrial wind complex? What are his thoughts on the recent study released by the World Health Organization? Much of the information can be found right here. This is one on many scientific, peer-reviewed studies that say wind turbines do have negative health effects on people. How much is wind energy saving our delicate planet? The environmental benefit is miniscule by many accounts including what researchers at Harvard and MIT just found. The benefits are grossly overstated by the wind industry. What about property values? Wind and Senator Dolan use the Berkeley Lab Study trying to convince people turbines do no harm to property values. What they don’t plainly point out is how many of the data points in the entire study include homes from within a ½ mile of a wind turbine (2640’ if you are counting in comparison to the Senator’s setback of 1225’). One would think it is plain common sense that given a choice the vast majority of people would not choose to live in an industrial wind project. There are numerous property value studies out there that debunk the Berkeley study. You can start by reading that here.
Finally, the true economic argument Senator Dolan makes does not hold water. In fact, it is very clear to many experts that Senator Dolan either doesn’t have any semblance of understanding of the power sector from generation to consumption or he simply does not care. His 4 billion dollar investment is a major stretch. The bulk of that 4 billion will be exchanged between out of state and multinational wind developers and turbine manufacturers. Will some of Ohio’s companies benefit who contribute components? Sure they will benefit. The real question is, how much of that 4 billion will enter and stay in Ohio’s economy Senator Dolan? I ask you to provide a sound, detailed economic impact study that addresses that question (from an independent firm, not one of the wind industry’s choices). The 4 billion number is wildly overstated. So then rural Ohioans see this 4 billion dollar “investment” which begs the question, how much taxation will this investment provide to our rural communities? A drop in the bucket compared to how much tax and ratepayer money these companies will pocket at the expense of all Ohioans. These companies will “plant” their structures in our communities then ask local government for a major tax abatement called a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). PILOT is a complete rip off to a local community. Not one project has been built without PILOT in Ohio so what does that tell you about the true cost of these technologies? This after many favorable structures they garner stealing from tax and ratepayers. What rural Ohioans should be asking Senator Dolan is when do we, as landowners, get a PILOT over our own property taxes? Wouldn’t that be a great benefit to people who live in Ohio, not those out of state and out of country companies who will never live in the communities they attempt to invade with the help of the likes of Senator Dolan. If anyone would like a detailed analysis of exactly how PILOT works I will certainly oblige them.
I gladly invite Senator Dolan, or anyone from the wind energy industry or lobby, to a public debate on this very topic with myself and other rural citizens. The Senator had that choice on June 20 of this year when I presented to him and the rest of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee at the Ohio Statehouse. Senator Dolan did not ask me one question. I wonder why? Let’s get it all out there, the truth is what Ohioans deserve.
Citizens for Clear Skies
Van Wert County, Ohio