HB1381 is not for the people or of the people
Credit: Joe Northcutt, Local columnist | Kokomo Tribune | Mar 28, 2021 | www.kokomotribune.com ~~
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Proposed House Bill 1381, which has passed the Indiana House and is now in the Utilities Committee of the Indiana Senate, would take away responsibilities and power that presently belong to the local governments in each county of this state. When you take away the power and rights of local government, you take away the rights and power of its citizens. Once the state starts taking local power and responsibilities from local government in any aspect or issue, where does it stop?
If you have researched and studied the topics of HB 1381, which are wind and solar facilities in Indiana, you see that it was written in conjunction with or by the wind and solar companies. I attended a meeting with a solar company whose representatives indicated that solar and wind companies do this to make it “convenient” for an ordinance or bill to be written.
This proposed bill would allow a solar facility to be within 150 feet of the nearest outer wall of an adjoining dwelling under some circumstances and within 250 feet of the nearest outer wall of of an adjoining dwelling under other circumstances. It further allows the solar facility to be within 50 feet of an adjoining property line. That is pretty cozy and definitely intrusive. In addition, the solar system may be up to 25 feet tall at full tilt. It does not address if any buildings or other aspects of the solar facility may be that high or even higher than that as well as so close (per above) to an adjoining dwelling and property.
This bill states that the Indiana utility regulatory commission shall not consider or give relief regarding asserted effects on health, asserted effects on aesthetics, asserted effects on property values or any other relief not already stated in this bill. This bill does not give any consideration for any of the above-listed “effects” nor does it give any consideration for many other issues that affect the residents of this state. This bill is not for the people or of the people, it is for solar and wind companies and of solar and wind companies.
Approximately 85% of the solar panels produced come from China. The solar panels from China are the cheapest and have high PFAS materials. Solar panels are made of toxic chemical compounds called PFAS. PFAS are the top drinking water contaminant issue today. PFAS is said to be the asbestos of today. Over time, these chemicals leach out of the solar panels. But these toxic chemicals can be released and exposed in mass as a result of a hail storm, tornado, fire or flood. Who is going to be responsible if our water supply gets contaminated?
Many solar and wind companies have local subsidiaries. East of Greentown, a French company has a subsidiary that has approximately 2,000 acres of farmland signed up to be “solarized” when and if a bill or ordinance is passed allowing the “solarization” of our community. Companies sometimes use subsidiaries to reduce their liability. If something happens, such as one or more of the issues addressed here, for example, the subsidiary has limited funds and can file bankruptcy. That protects the parent company from any fault or liability. There have been three or four other companies in this area looking to lease farmland. Per conversation with solar representatives, the substation could support enough solar panels to need an additional 2,000 acres of prime farm land and surround a large portion of our residences in this area.
HB 1381 does not require a solar company (or wind company) to provide information as to the materials being used, where the materials are being obtained or to provide proof of any purchase claims before or after permission is granted to build hundreds or thousands of acres of a wind or solar facility.
HB 1381 allows a solar company 10 years AFTER becoming fully or 100% functional before it has to be be 100% bonded for decommissioning. The bill allows a wind company 20 years AFTER becoming fully or 100% functional before it has to be bonded 100% for decommissioning. If a tornado or hail storm hits the second year and wipes out most of the facility and the company decides the cost to replace is not economically feasible, the company can walk away and not remove the facility per how the bill is written. And if a company decides to run the facility at 95% of fully functional (using some technicality) the facility would NEVER have to be bonded 100% for decommissioning.
The projections promoted by wind and solar regarding how much money the school(s) and county will receive are not accurate if they have not figured reductions in taxes owed as a result of depreciation taken on their equipment. And local officials should have the worksheet for those figures. The bill does not address repairs to field tiles. Damage to field tiles may not show up for two to three years after being damaged. Damaged field tiles can cause pooling of water, flooding and create drainage problems at nearby residences as well as adjoining fields. The bill also allows the solar and wind companies to write the dispute resolution rules. That definitely sounds fair and equitable.
Joe Northcutt lives in Greentown.
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