Setback Legislation to Move Forward Next Week

This is an alert to let you know that setback legislation is moving forward.  We understand that Dolan’s setback reduction language in SB 238, will be moved into HB 114 and will be offered at the May 16th meeting of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The Committee meets at 2:30 p.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The revised bill will be known as Substitute HB 114.  There will be NO OPPORTUNITY to testify at this hearing.  It is important for all readers to know that this is the starting point for discussion and what is introduced is not necessarily what will finally pass out of the Committee.

HB 114 (changing renewable energy mandates into “goals”)  has already passed the House of Representatives. When and if Sub. HB 114 is approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and, thereafter by the full Senate, the bill will go to the House only for a Yes or No vote to concur with the new substitute bill.  If the House does not concur, the bill will go to a Conference Committee where it may be amended and sent back to the full Senate again for a vote.

In other words, the action for citizen testimony will be in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.   We suggest that everyone try to keep their Wednesdays clear.   As soon as we know more about the schedule, we will advise you.  But we need to PACK THE HOUSE at the appropriate time.   It has been stressed to us repeatedly that civility will be crucial.   This should go without saying but we are repeating it as a reminder to all.  We will not need everyone to testify but we do need your overwhelming presence in the hearing room.  That means we will need at least 100 people willing to make the trip to Columbus.   Again, more information will be forthcoming about attending the hearings as we learn more.

 It is believed that the following Senators are either “on the fence” or supportive of reduced setbacks measured from homes not property lines:

District 2 Randy Gardner Majority Floor Leader  614-466-8061   Erie, Wood, Fulton (part), Ottawa, Lucas (part)      Atlantic Wind LLC, Emerson Creek Wind

District 13 Gayle Manning  Majority Whip 614-644-7613    Huron and Lorain    Greenwich Wind Park, Emerson Creek Wind

District 3 Kevin Bacon Minerva Park   614-466-8064   Franklin County/Westerville  (Born in Defiance)  

District 26 Dave Burke Marysville   614-466-8049   Union, Morrow, Marion, Wyandot, Crawford, Seneca, Sandusky      Black Fork Wind; Seneca Wind Farm; Republic Wind Farm; Honey Creek Wind Farm

District 7 Steve Wilson Maineville    614-466-9737    Warren and parts of Butler and Hamilton   

District 22 Senate President Larry Obhoff   614-466-7505    Richland, Medina, Ashland    Black Fork Wind

The Senators named above represent districts where wind projects are proposed or are operating. They represent about one half of the so-called “Wind Corridor”.     Senators McColley and Huffman represent the other half where numerous wind projects are also proposed or operating.    The Senators who oppose giving their constituents a voice in setbacks appear to be afraid of a vote for property line setbacks because property lines might win.  But if indeed, there is support for the wind projects and their constituents are willing to allow trespass zoning, they should have no concern about a local vote. 

We do not know at this point whether the McColley compromise language will be a part of the Sub HB 114 and we will not likely know that until the bill is introduced.    Likewise, we have no insights into whether Governor Kasich would veto a bill that turns the mandates into goals.

We understand that one of the most important areas to focus on will be the impact to the non-participating property owner who is next door or near to a turbine.   Loss of property value, inability to sell, inability to build on or access financing  within the safety setback range are of particular concern.   We are seeking persons who may be willing to speak from ACTUAL experience.  It does not matter if such witnesses are from Ohio, Indiana or Michigan.   We need real life examples that provide support for measuring setbacks from the property line.



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