Written by Kevon Martis Executive director Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition Inc. Blissfield, Mich. and Jason Dagger, Project Developer EverPower
Industrial wind and the choice before the commissioners
Logan County Commissioners will be asked to grant something to wind energy developer EverPower that residents can only dream of: a property tax reduction of 80 percent. This would come in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT.
Recently, the Logan County Commissioners stated: “Even if we do receive an application for payment in lieu of taxes and it is denied, the wind developer would still be able to build the wind turbines.”
We agree. Rejecting tax abatement for Scioto Ridge may not stop the wind development. But the decision to make local taxpayers forego tax revenue will have consequences that should be understood.
First: EverPower parent, Terra Firma Capital partners, a UK private equity investor, will be delighted to have their return on investment pumped up by the good people of rural Ohio. It will be the icing on the cake already funded by U.S. taxpayers through billions in federal tax credits that subsidize one third of the capital costs of wind projects.
After collecting from our Federal Treasury, the British private equity firm intends to strip mine the Ohio Tax Code by asking for an exemption from the Ohio Public Utility Personal Property Tax (PUPPT). This is the standard tax rate that was in place long before EverPower decided to come to Ohio and it was there before EverPower started soliciting leases and telling landowners that by signing they would help bring significant tax revenue to their communities.
Ohio’s wind resource is anemic and the Ohio mandate to buy wind generated in the states is under attack in the legislature and the courts. This mandate compels Ohio rate payers to pay far more for Ohio wind than for power purchased from windier states like Iowa or Minnesota. These higher rates fall on all of us — you, me and the companies we work for. A sweet deal if there ever was one for EverPower. It is one more form of subsidy the wind industry enjoys in Ohio.
(Logan County) Our commissioners should focus on the costs. They must consider whether there are benefits that outweigh the costs. It is clear the benefits accrue to the foreign company that has stated its intentions to exit the business before the PILOT ends in 20 years. It is clear that leaseholders will receive payments if the company is still around. And some gravel might get sold during construction of the turbine bases.
But what about the costs? The wind developers took our ability to zone. They took our property for their setbacks by measuring from homes, not property lines. When built, flashing red lights will take our night sky and the flickering shadows will invade our yards and homes. Persistent noise and sub-sonic vibrations that carry across property lines — will diminish neighbors’ rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property. With that comes property value loss.
Who would choose to live in the midst of the 50-story tall industrial wind experience? As the London School of Economics recently concluded, residential property values of non-participating parcels in the footprint of a wind fueled electric generating plant drop by 11 percent. Other studies indicate a decline of as much as 40 percent. That’s if they can find a buyer at all.
There are more than 300 non-farm rural homesteads in the proposed footprint of the Scioto Ridge project. If their average value is $100,000 and the average property value decline is only 11 percent, that’s $3.3 million that flows out of the pockets of innocent neighbors and into the pockets of project beneficiaries. And the number might be as high as $12 million. By comparison the $12 million that is so important to the rural homeowners is a measly three percent of the total taxpayer subsidies the project owners would receive based on President Obama’s staffs analysis of a similar project. You would think a wind developer with scruples would just buy out all the homes and resell them at a loss since they are using taxpayer dollars — not their own — in the first place.
We know that proposed PILOT payments would be approximately $2.7 million per year for the expected 20-year lifespan of the project. That totals $54 million over 20 years. But without the PILOT, wind industry spokesman Dayna Baird Payne estimated tax revenue would be $45,000 per megawatt (MW) — an average $13.5 million per year and $279 million dollars over 20 years!
All across America and abroad, the cost-benefit analysis of wind factories in rural communities is coming into sharper focus. The costs are financial and social. They include loss of amenity, loss of home equity, loss of property rights, loss of the community’s ability to chart its future, loss of family as some move away and loss of jobs and customers for local businesses.
If our way of life is for sale, the price offered by the PILOT is not nearly high enough. Full taxation is the only choice. It is the option the commissioners must choose.
With directors in both Ohio and Michigan, the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition is a bi-partisan grassroots renewable energy watchdog group. IICC promotes energy policy that is environmentally sensitive, socially responsible and economically beneficial. The IICC is an independent voice and is not sponsored by any environmental or industry advocacy group. The IICC speaks on the behalf of thousands of rural Ohio residents living on the front lines of industrial wind development.
Scioto Ridge Wind Farm would be partnership with community
Scioto Ridge Wind Farm promises to be an economic and environmental boost for Hardin and Logan counties as it starts producing clean, renewable wind energy. Concerns addressed in recent letters to the editor left out some important information:
Safety for local residents is our number one priority. We have been very conservative with siting guidelines and move forward with the utmost attention to safety concerns. We follow industry best practices to establish setbacks and those setbacks have been thoroughly reviewed by the staff at the Ohio Power Siting Board.
In addition to creating 8 to14 full-time, permanent positions and 150 full and part-time positions during construction for families in Hardin and Logan counties, the project will generate an estimated $67 million in tax revenue through the PILOT program for local governments and school districts throughout the life of the project.
As developers of clean, renewable energy, we hold high regard for protecting the environment. We worked in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Ohio Power Siting Board to ensure we minimize any possible impacts of the project. The EverPower team worked with industry leading consultants to provide an exhaustive set of studies, which have been analyzed and are open for public comment through the OPSB process. The current design of the project is a result of this lengthy and thorough process.
EverPower has demonstrated strong partnerships with communities where our six existing wind farms operate. We look forward to continuing to contribute to the local economy and community throughout the Scioto Ridge project.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014
Written by Phyllis K. Camburn, Bellefontaine
As I was going to church last Sunday, I chose to take U.S. Route 33 from east Sandusky Avenue from where I live. I went on Ludlow to east Chillicothe Avenue from in the area of the Point Cleaners. A gentleman was clearing the street with his snow blower. He was well-dressed for the weather. I didn’t recognize him. I want to thank him for his kindness. With the snowflakes coming down in all directions on top of the snow we already had, he started my day off with good thoughts. At a time when the thought “does anyone care anymore?” and then you come up on something like this — yes, there are still some out there.
Phyllis K. Camburn
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Written by Marshall Pierson, Bellefontaine
What Mrs. Esh characterized as “the culture of poverty” is actually “the culture of immorality,” in my opinion. I have been blessed to serve those in poverty for more than 20 years in several venues: pastoral ministry, social services, mental health counseling. Here is what I have found consistently: there are those in poverty who are making a good faith effort to be productive citizens across all life domains (including valuing education for their children/grandchildren); and there are those who are parasitical, predatory and exploitative. It is regrettable that Ms. Esh unwittingly (I hope) cast a false light over those in poverty making good faith efforts, implying that all in poverty are: parasitical, predatory and exploitative.
By the way, parasitical, predatory and exploitative folks can be found in abundance also in the middle and upper economic classes. Remember: it wasn’t the poor folks who brought about the mortgage meltdown debacle, but parasites and predators wearing $1,000 suits on Wall Street and in the halls of Congress and the White House who exploited and are still exploiting people of all economic strata who earn their money the old-fashioned way by working for it.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014
Written by Vicky Arnold, Belle Center
My husband and I purchased our home on Long Island 15 years ago. We love everything that the lake has to offer us.
Please let me paint a picture of our Indian Lake home. On any given day I can look out my windows and be entertained or relaxed after a stressful day. I can see everything from ice fishermen, a beaver swimming across the channel, little children sitting on grandpa’s lap driving their boat, kayakers out for some exercises, to ultralight airplanes and I can enjoy feeding a family of swans.
I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with anything. To me this is my way of life. It is what I cherish and have worked hard to obtain. So if, or when, eight of the 172 proposed 50 story tall wind turbines go up here near the lake, my absolutely beautiful view we now have will be destroyed.
Fifty stories tall is about five times the size of the water towers in most of our communities and nearly as tall as any skyscraper in Columbus, Ohio. You may wonder how that will ruin my view. The smaller turbines at Honda can be seen six to seven miles away. These eight turbines will be as close as one mile from my lakeside view. They will block my sun rises and moon rises. The beautiful lake view has already been altered by the two turbines Honda has installed. Now close your eyes and imagine 172 much larger turbines across Indian Lake and Logan and Hardin counties. Remember, think larger.
There are legitimate health and safety issues you may not be aware of. From potential interruptions to LifeFlight service, to the safety of the Bald Eagle, along with sonic high pitched noise affecting the wildlife. Shadow flicker will disturb life inside our homes and our first responders can do nothing but stand by and watch a fiery turbine burn itself out and be prepared to protect adjacent fields, homes and businesses. Not to mention the huge impact our properties will take in value.
It is a proven fact that they are not cost efficient. It is a foreign owned company and they are supported by our (yours and mine) hard earned tax dollars.
Just because you have driven past these turbines on the highway or seen them in the distance, does not mean you are educated on their effects and permanent ramifications.
Take the time to educate yourself.
To the Logan County Commissioners: As a voting resident of Logan County, I request that you do not grant any tax abatements or give any tax breaks to any wind developer who wants to exploit our community.
Please stand up and help save Indian Lake, Logan County and Hardin County. For more information, please visit: www.fightthewind.com.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014
Written by Emmy Beeson, Superintendent, Ridgemont Local Schools
Four years ago, I began my journey with Ridgemont Local Schools. In doing so, I have had the opportunity to partner with a thoughtful and determined board of education. I believe it is important for us to continue to publicly acknowledge the work of Ridgemont’s Board of Education during January which is Board Member Recognition Month. On behalf of he Ridgemont staff, students and community, I submit this letter as public recognition of the five board members of Ridgemont Local Schools. I feel quite fortunate to work with the five members of Ridgemont’s Board. This board is solidly devoted to the students of Ridgemont. The current board members are Dave Copp, Cheryl France, Eric Hill, Corey Ledley and Jerry Turner. Overall, their diversified years of experience in agriculture, business, education industry and life in general make them a well-rounded group of individuals. Their commitment to Ridgemont makes them unified.
The work of public education is a noble calling which seeks to educate all children regardless of the economic status, ability, or circumstance. While we continue to face challenges, I am grateful that Ridgemont’s Board Members have only one commitment and that is to the current and future success of our students, staff, parents and community. Because they are unified in purpose, our leadership team is able to thrive and move forward. It is my honor to serve with them.
Each member brings unique talents and insights to our team. I am pleased to write this letter on behalf of all of the staff and students of Ridgemont Schools in order to say, “Thank you. Thank you for your time, talents and energy. The work you do on behalf of our students is important and it does not go unnoticed.” I hope the Ridgemont community will join me in honoring our board members this month. I also hope we will continue to hold them in high esteem and give them the respect due them for the office they hold all year-long.
Ridgemont Local Schools
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Written by Brandon K. Standley, Bellfontaine Police Chief
Since Nov. 23, 2011, (the day I was sworn-in as Chief of Police), I have attempted to come up with ways to engage our community to help us keep our community safer. With your help, we have been able to host our first-ever Community Safety Day this last summer, visit your neighborhoods and share prevention messages and current information, and begin a renewed effort in our schools for DARE and GUIDE while arresting many individuals for drug-related crimes. We have been asked to speak at many community meetings, or groups, and attempt to share information that you may find helpful. We still need your help!
I have come to find that there are still those that don’t believe it is their “job” to keep crime out of our neighborhoods, it is just law enforcement’s. There are still those that believe that as long as they don’t think anyone is looking, it is okay to violate the law. This is why security companies are a booming business.
We have still others that believe that no one will hold them accountable for their own actions, so they continue to prey on the vulnerable. Our goal is to make sure that criminals know that just because law enforcement may not be around them at the time they are ready to commit their act, you are and you are ready to call us.
My charge to you this New Year is to join with us to make our community a better place to live. Public safety is everyone’s job.
Police are in a constant juggling act with staffing levels, accurate information, and available opportunities to be at the right spot at the right time. Sometimes that means that we miss an opportunity to be prompt to your submitted information because we are tied up doing other crime fighting.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014
Written by Pastor Marshall Pierson, Bellefontaine
What are the chances that someone other than Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah, the Savior of the world? As we approach the Christmas Season, let us examine a few reasons why Christians believe that only Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah.
First, consider that his birthplace, Bethlehem in Judea, was predicted by the prophet Micah approximately 750 years ahead of time.* Out of literally thousands of hamlets, villages, towns and cities then existing in the ancient world, Micah “just happened” to pick not only “Bethlehem,” but he even specified which Bethlehem when he correctly predicted it to be Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah nearby to Jerusalem. Why specify the region? Because there were two Bethlehems in Israel at the time. This should not be considered strange when we consider our American context, for example when we talk about going to “Columbus,“Do we mean Columbus, Ohio; Columbus, Indiana; or Columbus, Georgia? Or even Bellefontaine: Bellefontaine, Ohio or Bellefontaine, Missouri? Now perhaps a skeptic might want to argue that Micah was just “lucky” when he happened to pick the correct Bethlehem. However, the Bethlehem he picked is the locale of the tribe of Judah and family of Jesse, the father of King David, the city known as the “City of David.” Think about playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” when we were children. Our chances of getting the tail correctly pinned, being blindfolded, were better than Micah’s if in fact, he was merely making a blind guess out of all the towns in Israel, let alone all the towns in the whole wide world in his day.
Second, consider the timing of Jesus’ birth, as given to the prophet Daniel in a dream as a young man, and as given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel in a separate disclosure when he was a very old man.** As a young man Daniel was tasked by the king of Babylon to correctly interpret a dream that troubled the king greatly, one that his own wisemen*** could not interpret even under pain of death. Daniel correctly told the king that three world kingdoms, beginning with his own, would rise and fall, and that during the time of the fourth world kingdom, a fifth kingdom, of divine origin, would arise without any fanfare among men, but would eventually grow and fill the entire world, while the manmade world kingdoms, which history documents as neo-Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, rose and fell, while the Kingdom of Messiah Jesus continues to grow and grow and grow from generation to generation. Also consider that the angel Gabriel was very specific when he tied the public advent of “Messiah the Prince” to a Persian king’s decree to use Persian money to finance the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple and telling Daniel that “69 weeks” (of years: 69x7=483 years) would elapse between the decree and the public advent of Messiah. Guess what: History shows that a Persian king did ratify an earlier rebuilding decree in 458 B.C., and that Jesus was publicly unveiled as the Messiah at the Jordan River in A.D. 27, 485 years after the decree, very shortly after the completion of the 69 weeks of years.
So, just what are the chances someone else is the Messiah? Merry Christmas!
**Cf. Daniel 2; 9-20-27
***Magoi in the book of Daniel: Magi in the Gospel of Matthew in the Christmas narrative. Think of We Three Kings of Orient Are.
Pastor Marshall Pierson
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 December 2013
Written by Emerson & Lucy Brown, West Liberty
My wife and I thank the person or persons that paid our check at Bob Evans last Wednesday (Dec. 18) evening. It is greatly appreciated although we do not know who you are. Let us assure you that we will return the loving gesture before this Christmas season is over.
There is a disappointment at this same time. There are many movies enjoyed at the local cinema and that is the choice one makes. Those movies so often contain violence, bad language, wizardry, unreal graphics, etc. To see a movie that is really and truly PG is not available very often. However, there has been a movie during this season that provides good, clean entertainment. That movie is The Christmas Candle based on the book written by Max Lucado, Minister, Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. It is well produced and tells a wonderful story. It is scripturally sound and presents a beautiful picture to one that wants to see a movie that is for all family members. It is a shame that the people in the Bellefontaine area have not, at the present time, been able to see this movie. If by chance you are where the movie is being shown it certainly behooves you to take time to view this movie.
Emerson & Lucy Brown
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 December 2013