Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Muskegon Chronicle Editorial Board Shreds Oceana County Planning Commissions Offshore Wind Power Claims

This is pretty wonderful: The Muskegon Chronicle editorial board released a scathing criticism of the Anti-Offshore-Wind-Power Oceana County Planning Commission. Paula Holmes-Greeley takes the commission to task for their strangely timed news releases.

Unless you've been following the sordid details it's a bit inaccessible so I'll sum up: the Oceana Planning Commission issued new and bizarre, unsubstantiated claims about an offshore wind feasibility study they rejected 16 months ago.

The planning commission's news release is a transparent contrivance to make a case that a new State offshore wind regulatory frame should give undue decision making power to lakeshore municipalities. Basically...if 10 lakeshore communities wanted the proposal and ONE did not, the ONE could veto the whole thing for everybody.

Paula Holmes-Greeley of the Muskegon Chronicle Editorial Board pretty much shreds them:

Their press release said the planners conducted a study — after they had made their decision to reject the proposal — and discovered information about the number of jobs the project would have provided. It focused on where the construction of the bases for the turbines would have been located and whether it was even possible to build them at the proposed site.

In any case, they argued that would have meant fewer jobs in West Michigan and they wondered if Scandia hadn't done the study themselves or if the company had deliberately misled government officials and the public.

The only problem is the information the planners uncovered about the work site for the bases had been publicly reported nearly two years ago. Other arguments presented by the planners about a visit to the Norwegian firm that has constructed similar bases were undocumented.


When the planners voted to reject the wind farm 16 months ago, they didn't turn down the project, they turned down the opportunity for a feasibility study that would have determined the viability of a Lake Michigan project. It also would have looked into the other issues that the Oceana planners now claim to have uncovered. Several other more serious issues like the effect of wind turbines on wildlife and other environmental factors also would have been reviewed.

But the Oceana planners rejected that opportunity.

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