Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oceana County Planning Commissioners should be Embarrassed

There are so many things wrong with the Oceana County planning commissions recent news release regarding their decision to shut down research on an offhosre wind farm, I hardly know where to start. Ultimately, they should feel embarrassed at the implications of their own news release.

Michigan's representatives need to be very aware of the following information when offshore wind permitting legislation comes up for discussion again.

1. The planning commission claims it has discovered that the wind farm construction was "unfeasible" because the bases weren't possible, which begs the question...why are they crowing about stopping a wind farm that could not have come to pass, anyway?

To support their claim that the construction wasn't feasible, they cite a fellow with a home in Pentwater who visited the base production company in Norway and unilaterally claimed the bases weren't citation from the company itself.

Ultimately, if the bases and the wind farm were in fact not feasible, then the Oceana Planning Commissions decision was irrelevant since they claim the wind farm could not have been constructed anyway.

2. They claim to have done extensive research AFTER they voted to reject Scandia's request to research the feasibility of an offshore wind farm. Why didn't they do that research BEFORE they made a decision?

Sixteen months AFTER they cast their vote they are now claiming they have all the information. That by itself should be an embarrassment.

3. They make the claim that since one (1) component out of 8000 was being made in Northern Michigan, it somehow proves their claim that NO components would be made in Oceana County.

I know several talented machine shops in Oceana County that should be very upset by this bizarre leap. So what if ONE component is made up north in our own state. There are still 8000 left to manufacture, and Oceana's planning commissioners COULD HAVE required that a certain percentage of the turbines be made locally, like Muskegon's commissioners are doing with the Waste Water Treatment Facility wind farm.

4. They claim they, and only they, discovered that one (1) component of the turbines, out of 8000, would be built in Northern Michigan, when that information had been publicly available knowledge since August 2010 at the lastest

The planning commission should have known since mid 2010 where the turbine bases would be built. And in no way can claim to have unearthed this information themselves.

The information actually first came out in March 2010 when Scandia gave a presentation that explicitly showed that wind turbine bases would be constructed in shallow, protected waters in Northern Lake Michigan and then floated down. And they repeated this exact statement in multiple other presentations since then. In one, Planning Commissioner Roseman asked the Norwegian representative where the bases would be built and the representative pointed in the same place he had on multiple locations, but instead of saying "near the Traverse City region" this time he said "near the Kalamazoo region" and rather than pay attention to where the laser pointer was indicating or asking for clarification, Planning Commissioner Roseman chose to mock the Norwegian man and play the the crowd.

5. Remember that the Oceana planning commission didn't vote to shut down a wind farm. They voted to reject feasibility studies. They voted to turn DOWN more information. It's something of a joke now to claim they alone are privy to anything.

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