I offer the following comments as a rebuttal to the editorials submitted by Gordon Gray of sPower and Mitchell Redd of San Juan County Utah as well as the most recent sPower public relations ad in the Nov. 18 A-T.
The people of Seneca County are not so naive to believe that 74 percent of the people surveyed who live within a half mile of a wind turbine supposedly have either neutral, positive or very positive attitudes regarding wind turbines.
Referencing a Berkeley study has zero creditability when the same group claimed to conduct the most comprehensive study on the effects of wind turbines on property values. Their study included 51,276 home sales and the findings indicated no appreciable decline in property values of properties located near wind turbines.
However, what they didn’t say is that only 331 of those homes, or 0.6 percent, were located within half a mile of a turbine, and the turbines in the study were only 262 feet tall or less, compared to the 652-foot-tall giants being proposed in Seneca County.
Furthermore, the Berkeley study was funded by the office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. What do you suppose their agenda was? So when you tell me that 74 percent of the people are neutral to very positive that live within a half mile of turbines, sorry, but I’m not buying it.
I don’t doubt Mr. Redd’s comments that he had a good experience with sPower in San Juan County, Utah. San Juan County, Utah, has a population density of 1.9 people per square mile, while Seneca County has a density of 99.9 people per square mile. Simple math indicates that sPower has more than 50 times the people per square mile to keep happy in Seneca County compared to San Juan County, Utah. Good luck with that.
Per the terms of sPower’s wind lease contracts, sPower has the right to convert expiring contracts from pre-construction to construction phase without the consent of the landowner. By exercising this clause of the contract, the term of the contract is extended another 36 months. Because so many leaseholders want out of their wind lease contracts and have no intention of renewing, sPower already has converted a meaningful number of contracts in this manner. By its own definition, any activity on the property now is considered construction.
The Ohio Power Siting Board has not approved the Seneca Wind project for construction; therefore, any construction activity conducted on a property with a converted contract is illegal. The landowner has the right and authority to remove the contractors from their land and file trespass charges.
Last week, a core sampling crew drilled in my neighbor’s new wheat field, which is one of the converted leases. They cut ruts into the muddy field and I had to laugh, because they drilled in the wrong spot! They drilled in a location that is approximately only 740 feet from my property line, which is not legal per the current setback laws. Because I will not sign the setback waiver, they will have to move the turbine site to be a minimum of 1,338 feet from my property line, which means they will have to drill a second hole in the same field. So not only was it illegal to be conducting construction activities on the property, but the boring site also was illegal. By the way, of the 85 proposed Seneca Wind turbine sites, 26 of those sites are not legal per the current setback laws.
Lastly, Mr. Gray highlighted the large amount of money that will be provided to the schools. I’m glad to hear how interested sPower is with providing funding to our schools. Just like the lottery and the casinos, wind power now is the salvation for our school funding. The next time the schools ask the taxpayers for new levies, I’m sure the voters in Seneca County will suggest that the schools should ask the wind companies for the money they need instead of the people who are forced to bear the brunt of living with wind turbines who have the least to gain and the most to lose.
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