May 9, 2019
Letters, Ohio

Commissioner ignores safety risks

The Advertiser-Tribune | May 9, 2019 |

April 24, Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy submitted written testimony to the House Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy Generation regarding her support of HB 6 which, among other things, would provide funds to help keep the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant operational. I’m glad to see her support of this bill. However, her testimony also raised a concern that HB 6, as written, could potentially harm renewable power generation, including wind power, because some of the funding currently used to promote the use of renewable energy would instead be redirected to support Davis-Besse.

Per a public information request, once again, Stacy’s letter was written entirely by Tom Bullock of the Chambers for Innovations & Clean Energy, who is also a Lakewood City Councilman. As a reminder, in October 2017, Bullock submitted a testimonial letter regarding Sub-HB 114 written on Seneca County commissioner letterhead addressed from Stacy without her approval. So again, Bullock is spinning his agenda in Columbus all in the name of Seneca County.

The most recent letter includes the following statement: “In Seneca County, we look forward to the future development of wind farms. …” Who is “we?” We, the commissioners? Or we, the people of Seneca County?

Bullock’s letter, oops, I mean Stacy’s letter also states, “I also ask you to consider no new energy bill without the restoration of reasonable wind siting regulations so that developers are no longer hindered by the current, unreasonable setbacks.”

Current, unreasonable setbacks! The current setback law is defined as 1,125 feet plus the rotor radius of the turbine measured from the nearest property line of a non-participating landowner. For the 584-foot-tall turbines that are proposed in the Seneca Wind project (208.5-foot rotor radius), the setback distance would be 1,333.5 feet from the property line.

The pre-2014 setback law was defined as 1,125 feet plus rotor radius from the exterior of an inhabitable residence of the nearest non-participating property owner and a minimum of 1.1 times the total height of the turbine measured from the property line. So this means the turbine would be located 1,333.5 feet from the exterior of a home and a minimum of 642.4 feet from the property line. The turbine manufacturer’s safety guidelines for their own employees recommend they stay a minimum distance of 1,640 feet away from the turbine in the event of an emergency. But Stacy and other pro-wind advocates are pushing for setbacks of 642.4 feet from our property lines.

Per a 2018 WindPower Engineering & Development article, there are 3,800 turbine blade failures every year globally. That is an average of over 10 failures every day. If the wind projects are built in Seneca County, it is not a question of if we will have a turbine blade failure but instead is just a matter of when. There have been three blade failures so far in Ohio and debris has been thrown as far as 1,561 feet for turbines that are only 476 feet tall. But Stacy and other pro-wind advocates are pushing for setbacks of 642.4 feet from our property lines.

April 29, HB 223 was introduced by District 39 Rep. Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, and District 13 Rep. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood). The bill was co-sponsored by a group of eight other big-city Democrats who want to dictate how we should live our lives in Seneca County. This bill, as proposed, would reinstate the pre-2014 setbacks. Please call or write as many of your state representatives and senators as possible stating your objections to this proposed bill.

The bottom line is that this group of big-city representatives along with Stacy want the setbacks reduced so more turbines can be installed in Seneca County, consuming more taxpayer funded subsidies, while ignoring the increased safety risks and quality of life of rural residents. If Stacy truly cared about the well being of Ohio and county residents, she and the other pro-wind advocates would be lengthening the setbacks instead of trying to shorten them. This is exactly what is happening in other states.

Greg Smith,

Bloom Township

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