We regret that a series of computer malfunctions left us out of communication over the past two weeks. During that time the wind industry lobby has been working to get the Ohio Senate to insert a provision in the budget bill rolling back the current property line setback. At the same time, Rep. Bill Seitz has suggested that some kind of compromise on setbacks may need to be inserted in the mandate repeal bill (HB 114) when it is considered in the Senate. Seitz tells us that might be the cost of getting a veto-proof majority of Senate votes necessary to override a veto by Governor Kasich. As we understand it, a setback-related amendment to HB 114 would give township trustees the power to override current setbacks. When asked about conflicts of interest, Rep. Seitz said, “Under my proposal, the trustees could not vote if they were participating leaseholders. My guess is that letting the trustees override the state setbacks would not result in much change as the people in the township would likely pressure them to not approve it.” What we do not know at this point is whether the township trustees would be given the opportunity to lengthen setbacks as well as shorten them.
AWEA and the environmentalists are working hard to reverse protective setbacks. What we hope does not happen, is that the current setbacks are changed AND the township trustees are given authority to put them back only to preexisting property line measurements. There seems to be no dialog on noise or shadow flicker just distance.
In the meantime, during the past two weeks the press has reported setback controversies in Michigan, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Colorado. And those are just the stories we noticed.
We also draw your attention to the LeedCo Icebreaker project (aka taxpayer boondoggle) in Lake Erie. The OPSB did not accept the application as complete and has requested the LeedCo resubmit. Today the American Bird Conservancy wrote in the Chicago Tribune that all turbines should be kept out of the Great Lakes due to enormous projections of migratory slaughter. We understand that many, many people wrote comments in opposition to the LeedCo project. Now that the application must be submitted, we are told all those comments will be lost and the public will have to start over.
We are glad to be back on line and urge everyone to call their local legislators to counter the spin coming from AWEA. Cut and paste the articles about problems in other states to demonstrate these problems are real.
Diane McConnell and Julie Johnson