Say ‘no’ to industrial wind turbines in county

I want to thank Commissioner Mike Kerschner for listening to residents of Seneca County and their concerns about the application Seneca Wind LLC has submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board asking OPSB to approve installation of 70 large-scale industrial wind turbines in Seneca County. At the June 5 commissioners meeting, Kerschner stated he would be the voice of residents opposing this project.

At this meeting, Commissioner Holly Stacy referred to the establishment of the alternative energy zone put in place by former county commissioners and read a long list of county agencies, schools, etc., who expect to receive tax dollars as a result of the turbine operation. When questioned during the open forum by many of the meeting attendees, Stacy appeared adamantly unwilling to consider any non-monetary concerns.

Promises made by Seneca Wind LLC to Seneca County residents mirror promises made in other states and communities in the United States and Canada where industrial wind projects have already been constructed and are operational. Stacy appeared unwilling to hear about the negative experiences of residents in those communities after the wind turbines began production.

Sadly, after the project was approved and huge turbines (in many cases 500-foot towers, similar to what is to be installed here in Seneca County) began operating, residents saw significant drops in property values, people reported health problems associated with turbine operation, there were very few long-term jobs created in the community, and their lists of other negative impacts goes on. At the June 5 meeting, a letter by Jane Harper, former county commissioner in Tipton County, Indiana, was read. Harper wrote about her regrets for allowing a wind facility to become a reality in her county.

I have read scientific studies that state health impacts (shadow flicker, noise and infrasound) are an issue; property values actually drop anywhere from 12 percent to 40 percent in the area where wind turbines are installed; interpersonal relationships between neighbors are never the same; environmental changes (some due to significantly reduced bat populations — our natural mosquito and pest fighters) are very real.

Here is a link to just one of many stories of a community that agreed to installation of an industrial wind generating facility in their community (Lockport, New York), and the negative consequences they experienced after the turbines began operating. This link opens a news article in the Union Sun & Journal, Lockport, New York: http://www.lockportjournal.com/opinion/apex-s-windy-disinformation-campaign-ignores-reality/article_a7f064ad-7bf4-5af0-b533-6d051730fb6a.html.

“Life Under a Windplant,” is a documentary video featuring many residents from Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, and what they experienced after their industrial windplant (20 turbines each 375 feet tall) began operating. The documentary is viewed in three parts (8 ½ minutes each) at:

Part 1 — www.youtube.com/watch?v

=SNxvkrgoPLo

Part 2 — www.youtube.com/watch?v

=_utFV2ukOtU

Part 3 — www.youtube.com/watch?v

=AOd5tSZF3A4

I have additional links to other online independent studies concerning property values, health impacts, etc. I will share these links if you contact me at jsamps0318@yahoo.com. I encourage you to do your own research as well.

Republic Wind recently ran a large ad in The Advertiser-Tribune touting the benefits of their windplant to “our children.” In evaluating what is in the overall best interest of Seneca County and its residents, it is critical to realize that it’s not just about the money. There is only one source for tax revenue (whether it is in the form of federal tax credits paid to windfarm developers, or in the form of tax payments promised to Seneca County) – the source is the individual taxpayer. We all fund the federal tax credits. There are other real issues that must be considered.

Now that we have knowledge about the experience of communities where industrial windplants are now operating, Seneca County commissioners are wise to re-evaluate retaining the alternative energy zone and to consider the many other significant drawbacks for operating an industrial wind facility here and the overall impact on the community – not just the impact on expected tax revenue.

The AEZ previously granted by Seneca County is a “welcome mat” for Seneca Wind LLC and its proposed turbine project. When granted, the AEZ seemed reasonable; however, we now know more than we did at the time the AEZ was granted. Kerschner now favors rescinding this AEZ and made a motion to do so. However, Stacy would not second the motion and it died. Although absent from the meeting June 5, Thomas has stated his support for the AEZ.

Rescinding the AEZ does not necessarily stop the project, but it does make Seneca County less attractive to developers who are more interested in qualifying for production tax credits (the federal tax breaks developers receive for their project) than they are in adding energy capacity to the electrical grid or providing Seneca County with increases in long-term employment. Approval for the installation of these 500-foot-tall industrial turbines lies solely in the hands of the Ohio Power Siting Board. Removing the Seneca County AEZ welcome mat is a step in the right direction to protect Seneca County residents from experiencing the very real negative consequences experienced by people living in Lockport, New York, or in Tipton County, Indiana, and in many other areas in the US, Canada and Australia.

Everyone in Ohio should be concerned about setback distances and attempts to change the law in the Ohio Revised Code to measure turbine setback distances between the turbine base and the nearest residential dwelling. Legislation is being proposed in Ohio to change setback measurement methods from the historical method of measuring between the turbine base and the property line of the nearest adjoining property. Measuring setbacks from turbine to the nearest residential dwelling significantly hampers all non-participating property owners in the use of his/her own property and encumbers the property of the non-participating owners when it is placed on the market to sell. This must not happen.

Seneca County has no local zoning authority. The approval of the project application by Seneca Wind is solely in the hands of the Ohio Power Siting Board. For this reason alone, I urge Seneca County residents to submit public comments opposing approval of Case No. 18-0488-EL-BGN to the Ohio Power Siting Board. Comments can be submitted on the OPSB website: https://www.opsb.ohio.gov/siting-case-breakdown/18-0488-el-bgn-seneca-wind-farm/. Comments also may be submitted by U.S. mail to: Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215 or by calling toll-free (866) 270-OPSB (6772), or via email directly to contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us

Seneca County is too heavily populated for an industrial wind facility; the negative impacts outweigh the promised tax revenues. Based on what I have learned, I oppose Seneca Wind LLC and their Case. No. 18-0488-EL-BGN before the Ohio Power Siting Board.

This is a long letter, but this is a complex issue that should be carefully studied by all residents of Seneca County.

Thank you.

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