Feb. 10, 2010
CONTACT: Emily Gerkin Palsrok firstname.lastname@example.org
Wind development in Great Lakes is state issue, not local
PENTWATER, MICH — Taking a strong step in the right direction, Pentwater Village Council voted unanimously Monday night to reject the Scandia wind power plant project.
“The Pentwater Village Council listened to their local constituents and business community and acted decisively,” said Jeff Hoenle, president of the Lake Michigan P.O.W.E.R. Coalition. “We are heartened by Pentwater’s zeal. They evaluated the situation, determined the project just doesn’t make sense for this area, and stated their position clearly and forcefully.
“While we are hopeful that other local communities will come to the same conclusion, it is nonetheless our belief that any development in the Great Lakes remains a statewide issue.”
The Scandia Wind Aegir Project has proposed building 200 turbine generators in a 100-square mile area of Lake Michigan between Silver Lake State Park and Ludington. In their public meetings, Scandia has repeatedly said that it is looking for approval and cooperation from local government in Oceana and Mason Counties to move forward on the project.
Hoenle said the coalition feels a clarification is necessary to the response of Scandia President Steve Warner regarding the Pentwater declaration of disapproval. Warner told the Ludington Daily News, “It was not any sort of departure from what we might anticipate from them. We haven’t made any decision whether one defecting entity is going to derail our approach to it.”
However, Hoenle said that Warner’s statement conflicts with what was said in all three of the public meetings held by Scandia. Harald Dirdal stated at both the Shelby and Ludington meetings, “If the thumb is down, we will not move forward.” In Ludington on Dec. 15 he stated, “We are not here to force this upon you.”
Lake Michigan P.O.W.E.R. Coalition maintains that the regulatory process behind any wind development has to be done at the state level. The Michigan Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act of 1955 does not provide the necessary regulatory structure for the leasing of Great Lakes bottomlands for construction of a wind turbine generation plant. Nor does it ensure the proper environmental permitting for such a facility.
“It is our understanding that even if the act addressed wind turbine generators, it still requires a permit to be a riparian owner for any sort of development,” Hoenle said. “We maintain that Scandia and Mason and Oceana local governments need to wait for the necessary state regulatory legislation before committing any county resources or involvement in the proposal.”
The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Council concurred in its Sept. 1, 2009, report that a regulatory process for offshore wind development has not been established. To date, GLOW has not made any legislative recommendations to establish a regulatory process to the state Legislature. At a January meeting of the council in Lansing, chairman Skip Pruss called the Scandia proposal a project in “the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
The coalition is supporting Rep. Goeff Hansen’s legislation, House Bill 5761, to prohibit development of any off shore wind project until the state has implemented an oversight system.
Lake Michigan P.O.W.E.R. Coalition is a newly formed group committed to stopping the Scandia project from building the 200 turbine generators in Lake Michigan between Silver Lake State Park and Ludington.
Lake Michigan P.O.W.E.R. Coalition is made up of local residents and business owners, and represents more than 900 members.