…there is none (NO NEED), the harm, inevitable, and the insult to nature, obvious. (Suzanne Albright)
After two years USACE has granted approval for wind developers LEEDCo/Icebreaker under a formidable list of “to dos”, but objecting groups and persons continue to apply pressure and provide factual evidence about the inevitable destructiveness of the proposed six turbine Vestas 3.45 MW turbines slated for offshore Cleveland.
Al Isselhard, a founding member of Great Lakes Wind Truth, followed up the news quickly with questions to the OPSB (Ohio Power Siting Board) and Mr. Joseph Krawczyk of the USACE.
What were the deciding factors for the decision? Please provide evidence of your facts. He urges further communication with influence and policy makers, that an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) must be forced onto the project.
This is not the first time objectors such as BSBO (Black Swamp Bird Observatory), ABC (American Bird Conservancy) and many others, have demanded more environmental scrutiny. The list of objectors continues to grow weekly. Among those are international groups who recognize the intrinsic value of 20% of the world’s remaining fresh water and a reposity of natural wonder. Locally and closer to the project, objectors include: Save Our Beautiful Lake, Lake Erie Foundation, Charter Boats Association of Lake Erie, Port Crescent Hawk Watch, Michigan Boating Industries Association, Save Ontario Shores, Orleans County Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, Save the Eagles International, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Great Lakes Sports Fishing Council (Tom Marks), Officers of Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and Western New York Environmental Federation. This is a very partial list. (See link above or in resources for a more complete list, representing millions.)
Sherri Lange of Great Lakes Wind Truth and NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power), states that the developer from many years back, has never been forthcoming about the real nature of this proposal, referring to it as a “demonstration” project; the public now understands the actual “plan” is for 1400 and more, a Saudi Arabia” of wind, as Rep Marcy Kaptur calls it. Several sources have cited the developer and supporters outlining capability to have 5,000 megawatts in Lake Erie by 2030. (President of LEEDCo Lorry Wagner quoted in Hi Velocity May 19th, 2011). The developer(s) are now foreign billionaire multi nationals, with a 50-year lease of the lake bed, skimming off precious tax dollars and subsidies, loans, guarantees, forgive- nesses, and advantages of an obscene level. There is no public need; the project would certainly impact water quality, and deliver mortality for multiples species, some endangered. The job myth has been deflated widely around the world: after construction, very few permanent jobs remain. And those are not what is termed, net full-time jobs, as turbines only last 10-15 years, not 20-25. Repairs often begin to be required as soon as five years in.
Suzanne Albright also of Great Lakes Wind Truth and NA-PAW reflects on the “fat” inside offshore wind development, recognized even by the developers, who claim they can now perform without the insanely high gifting of subsidies. “Why are the foreign multi national billionaires coming to our Lakes, and our Eastern Seaboard, grabbing up offerings of lease tenders? Because it is easy pickings.” She urges that U.S. governors and policy makers reflect on the “need” …. there is none, the harm, inevitable, and the insult to nature, obvious.
Collaborating agencies of Lake Erie Foundation, Save Our Beautiful Lake, Save Ontario Shores and many more agree fully, that they will not be deterred to end this proposal which will despoil one of the most abundant migration bottlenecks in the world.
Lange states: it is obvious that many “black holes” seem to be tucked inside the current preparations for application to the OPSB, and that many requirements have not been met, nor can they be in all honesty. “The developer’s story line is that “birds do not fly over the lake, which is incredulous enough, but on reading court testimonies, this developer is much the same as others (developers) in displaying astonishing lack of knowledge of migration and bird and bat life. “It is clear that legal testimony given by individuals against this proposal, indicate that this developer’s experts’ knowledge of the assets of the lake, and its living assets, are paltry and insincere (Erin Hazelton and others.)”
To quote the testimony of Erin Hazelton: “Stipulation Condition 19 is not in the public interest regarding protection of 7 wildlife and does not satisfy R.C. 4906.10(A)(3), which requires the project 8 to represent the minimum adverse environmental impact.” So while the developer has agreed to “explore” options to meet requirements of the MOU, abundant insecurity about wildlife protection is obvious and ongoing.
Albright also refers to a reality check on Block Island where promises were made, and certainly not kept. (Islanders would see 40% reductions in their electricity bills, wind turbines would be scarcely noticeable, and the wind facility would be a leader in the fight against global warming, making Rhode Island a leader in “saving the planet.”) “That bandwagon, she states, “has left the building.” Albright cites the enormous cost of Block Island for at this juncture, zero apparent benefit ($300,000,000 Three Hundred Million Dollars).
Albright has also challenged the Icebreaker Media stories which claim that “dozens of local, state and federal agencies,” have lined up to support Icebreaker, Inc. She expresses that this is possibly an exercise in “image making.” She has requested that these be identified.
To Isselhard, Albright and Lange, the developer(s) have not yet advertised to the public that they can guarantee minimum adverse environmental impact. They are “exploring,” but how can that be sufficient. Once the proposed project is in place, it will not be time for “exploring” anything. “Mitigation” is a wind developer’s word for counting dead birds and bats.
Given that the USACE failed to arrive at the right decision to protect Lake Erie, Groups are calling for an immediate and voluntary “surrender” of the lake bed lease, as happened with Cape Wind, when the obstacles for the project outgrew any prospect of success.
Founding Member, Great Lakes Wind Truth
Member Save the Eagles International
Al Isselhard Founding Member, Great Lakes Wind Truth
Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance Wolcott, New York