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Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley has asked Ohio’s governor and the chairman of the Ohio Power Siting Board to overturn the surprise decision that basically shutters the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) project which would have put wind turbines in Lake Erie, and questioned whether “outside” interests helped kill the project.
“This decision disregarded a compromise between LeedCo, the Ohio Power Siting Board staff, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and inserted terms that seem to be intended to simply kill the project,” Councilman Kelley wrote to Governor Mike DeWine. “When concern was initially expressed for migrating bats and birds, LEEDCo worked with the board staff and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to negotiate mitigation technology and protections that would’ve allowed the project to safely proceed.”
Councilman Kelley noted that the board will soon consider the LeedCo’s application for rehearing and reconsideration of a ruling that would’ve allowed them to “proceed with their project – only if they were willing to shut down their wind turbines every night, for two thirds of the year.
“As we’ve seen recently, some in the energy industry have found a way to impart undue and outsized influence in governmental decision making. While I hope that is not the case here, I have trouble discerning a rational basis for the recent actions of the OPSB.”
To the chairman of the power board, Sam Randazzo, Councilman Kelley said, “I assume that you and your fellow board members are aware of the numerous benefits of this project. Conservative estimates forecast 500 jobs created, $250 million dollars of local economic impact, and the nearly $5 million in revenue projected for the City of Cleveland” as well as the benefits of clean, renewable energy.
Councilman Kelley noted that testimony before the board indicated the efforts taken to ensure the minimal risks to migratory birds and bats was satisfactory to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Yet somehow, in the eleventh hour, conditions were added that are clearly designed to prevent this project from proceeding. It is hard to interpret the broken compromise to be anything other than a hostile act toward wind power and other renewable energy initiatives,” Councilman Kelley wrote to Chairman Randazzo. “Further, the relationship between the decision, the intervenors, and their financial backers doesn’t pass a basic smell test.”
Council passed aresolution on this topic Wednesday, August 26th.