My recent wind energy zoning presentation at Bullock Creek High School on behalf of the Ingersoll Township Concerned Citizens spawned an ill-informed op-ed by Peter Sinclair in which he accuses me of misleading and distorted statements and further questions my objectivity and financial motivations.
Thankfully there is a complete video record of the event so Midland County residents can do their own analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rer-jCB4VX8
While the video presentation speaks for itself, Mr. Sinclair’s naked attempt to discredit me by attempting to tie me to big oil, big coal or now, apparently, even big tobacco are not really worthy of response. Nonetheless, I will simply repeat what I have told Peter several times publicly: I receive no funding from any industry sources and my position as director of the non-profit Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition and my fellowship with E&E Legal are unpaid.
While I encourage everyone to simply watch the entire presentation and judge for themselves whether Sinclair’s analysis is reasonable, several points must be responded to in print.
Sinclair chastises the Ingersoll Township Concerned Citizens for not bringing anyone to counter my presentation in the interest of “balance.” While his condescending tone is lamentable, the truth is that I welcome debate on any facet of wind energy development, from land use to economics to environmental impacts and have done so in several venues. But the wind industry is no longer willing to be part of such forums.
Sinclair knows this is true. He was present recently in Greenwood Township in St. Clair County where 5 Lakes Energy had committed to 45 minutes in response to my 45-minute presentation but then failed to appear. This theme was repeated in Beaver Township in Bay County where DTE Energy had committed to 20 minutes of equal time with me but then abruptly canceled.
So while Sinclair wishes to paint the Ingersoll meeting as a deck stacked sharply against wind energy development, the truth is that wind interests routinely refuse to share the platform with me anywhere. If the case for wind is as strong as Sinclair claims, one must wonder why DTE and 5 Lakes with their large staffs and ample resources do not relish every possible chance to publicly refute my claims instead of backing out at the last minute.
Further, Sinclair’s op-ed chose to ignore several critical point made in my presentation and they are worth repeating:
• DTE Energy is demanding that the Ingersoll Township board create wind regulations that measure turbine noise and safety setbacks that are measured from neighboring homes rather than property lines. This in effect would grant an uncompensated nuisance and safety easement to DTE across unleased private property. This is fundamentally unjust and flies in the face of sound zoning principles.
• The setback distances demanded by DTE are significantly shorter than evacuation distances published in turbine manufacture’s own safety literature for employees.
• The noise limits proposed by DTE are above noise limits that are known to cause human health issues as shown by the World Health Organization
• Michigan’s wind resource is so anemic, DTE’s latest Pine River wind project in Gratiot County will produce 2016’s most expensive wind energy anywhere in the U.S. as indicated by DOE wind contract data. The wind in Ingersoll is arguably worse.
• Regarding climate change, wind energy reduces CO2 emissions at a cost of $237/ton despite the Obama administration showing that the economic harm from CO2 emissions is only about $40/ton.
• Finally, regarding wind turbine impacts upon property values, far from making a simple “anecdotal” statement, I showed 11 independent reports indicating substantial property value impacts and referenced this study by the not-exactly-big-fossil-funded London School of Economics.
Again: I encourage people to simply watch the video and then re-read Mr. Sinclair’s letter. My points are valid and are able to withstand any honest scrutiny, let alone Mr. Sinclair’s cynical revisionist history.
Kevon Martis is the volunteer director of the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition of Blissfield and a senior policy fellow at E&E Legal of Washington, D.C.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding