Wind warriors in Indiana secured – via Freedom of Information requests – the following e-mail from developer RES to county officials where the company is hoping to erect hundreds of 498–685-feet-high wind turbines. The letter describes an attempt to undermine state-level hearings about “health effects, public safety implications, issues of property valuation, policies defining conflicts of interest, and issues concerning economic development” related to the construction of industrial-scale wind turbines. RES had written a letter for the county politicians to pass off as their own, stating that they wish to retain control over such projects. RES had even arranged a law office to present the letters to the state study committee “without mention of RES”.
From: Brad Lila, Director, Development, RES
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Christy Householder, Director of Economic Development, Cass County;
Jim Sailors, District 2 Commissioner, Cass County;
Jim Widman, District 2 Member, Fulton County Council;
Bryan Lewis, Commissioner, Fulton County; Director, Fulton Economic Development Corp.;
Steve Metzger, Commissioner (President), Fulton County;
Josh Francis (District 3), Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Miami County;
Ethan Manning, President, Miami County Council;
Jim Tidd, Executive Director, Miami County Economic Development Authority;
Terry Lee, Executive Director, Fulton Economic Development Corp.
Dave Arnold, RES; former commissioner, Fulton County
Scott Jansen, RES.
Subject: Important – Action Needed Wind Energy
Attachments: County Letter to General Assembly Interim Study Committee 9-26-17
The week of August 7 the Indiana General Assembly’s Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications announced that it plans to conduct a hearing on October 5, 2017 where it will receive live comment on “the construction of wind power devices including related health effects, public safety implications, issues of property valuation, policies defining conflicts of interest, and issues concerning economic development.” Usually the comments received at the study committee help inform legislators on whether there should be legislation on the issue in the next session and the extent to which there is controversy over the issue. There has been some discussion to move permitting of wind energy projects to the state level and a hearings of this nature are often times the first step in that process.
Having spent the past year in the area and getting to know the local political culture it seems obvious to me that retaining you ability to legislate and affect control over wind energy projects is something that you value. Consequently, we have had drafted as letter that identifies that you support local control of wind energy projects (see attached). The document does not in any way identify RES or state in any manner that you either support or do not support wind energy. It simply states that you wish to retain your autonomy in the control of wind energy projects. The document is by no means specific to our project or any other project in your respective counties.
If you agree to execute the document we are offering to collect them and have the documents presented to Chairman Merritt, Vice Chairman Ober and members of the Indiana General Assembly Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications by Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP without mention of RES.
I understand that there is not time for the boards, commissions or councils to collectively vote to execute such a document as a whole, so the document was drafted for individual signatures.
I do not have all of the email addresses to the Board of Commissioners, the Planning Commissioners or the Council members. I ask that someone from each county please forward this email and assist in helping us collect the executed documents.
Also, if you would rather deliver the documents yourself and keep RES away from process I fully understand, but please let me know. While I haven’t talked to Dave Arnold about this I’m sure that he is willing to do the legwork and help collect the documents for you to send out if that is of value.
Dear Chairman Merritt and Vice Chairman Ober:
I write to you to request that the Indiana General Assembly’s Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications (the “Committee”) issue a recommendation against further statewide regulation of wind energy. It is vital that our locally elected officials retain the authority to regulate wind energy projects according to the unique needs of our community. Discretion should remain at the local level to govern wind power siting standards, construction activities, decommissioning, road use standards and economic development matters. These issues have significant impacts in our local community and it is essential that we retain the autonomy and flexibility to oversee them accordingly. For these reasons, we respectfully request that the Committee issue a recommendation against any legislation that imposes further statewide regulation of wind energy projects in Indiana.
Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like to further discuss these issues.