TO The Honorable Senator Sandra Williams
Ohio State Senator, 21st District
1 Capital Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Senator Williams,
First of all I want to thank you for all of the initiatives that you have undertaken to improve the lives of so many in your district, including expanding job training, re-entry laws, promoting public education particularly for the youth in Cuyahoga County, and your public service to the state of Ohio, and service in the United States Army Reserves.
On behalf of my organization, http://nolakeeriewindfarm.org/, and https://www.saveourbeautifullake.org/, and http://www.na-paw.org/, and http://greatlakeswindtruth.org/, as well as a 170-page petition, containing 6,729 signatures submitted earlier to the OPSB, I, Thomas C. Sullivan, Jr., of 29360 Lake Road, Bay Village, Ohio, citizen in good standing, have worked on the other side of the “Battle of Lake Erie”, in opposing the OPSB approval of Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility approved. Which your OPSB approved by vote, on May 21, 2020.
This is an issue I have studied and followed intently since 2012, when I was first made aware of the project at a Cleveland Public Library LEEDCO meeting in 2012. I was surprised that you had approved of the certificate to authorize the project in the May 21, 2020 OPSB meeting on the issue, where you stated, “ I am excited to have many wind turbines on Lake Erie…”. I did not understand why you then led the attack against your own Chairman of the OPSB, Mr. Sam Randazzo, because of the provision put on the project, which accompanied the OPSB decision to move forward, which you were present and consented on.
With this in mind, I think maybe your staff did not inform you of the full vote at hand, or that you lacked full information about the project.
Because of this, I feel compelled to share with you additional information from the other side of the issue, that I hope you may also consider in reaching your decision on this case.
Over the past 4 years, I have conveyed my concerns in detail to the OPSB in many ways, including giving written and oral testimony during the July 2018 OPSB public hearings in Cleveland City Hall Chambers, and many statements, letters, and calls to the OPSB, and the OPSB case file. This all spells out my opposition to OPSB Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility, to be developed by Billionaire foreigner Fred Olsen Renewables, after they purchase LEEDCo, and receive the permits, and a lease against the Ohio Public Trust Doctrine, to possess and develop the bottom of Ohio’s 147 trillion gallon fresh water gem, Lake Erie.
The following reasons are from the other side of the case, that you may have not heard or read, that will directly affect you and the people in your district, which may upon further review, may indeed dampen your voice of approval, of OPSB Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility:
- The poor and disadvantaged citizens in and around Cleveland will be subject to paying 5x the going rate of energy for their homes and needs, based on a secret agreement between LEEDCo and Cleveland Public Power. At this time of national crisis, which is significantly impacting the poor in our inner cities on the near East Side and near West Side of Cleveland, the OPSB has moved forward, along with the support of the Cleveland Foundation, the Cuyahoga County Board of Directors and Mayor Jackson of Cleveland, to put into place a secret agreement, not available to the public, that will have the Icebreaker Project supplying power to those poor and disadvantaged African-American and Latino citizens of those areas, which will in turn force them to pay over 5x the going rate vs. current abundant cheaper energy, already available in Northeast Ohio, which includes nuclear, natural gas and coal supplies on line.
- This project, commencing so close to the Cleveland water intake crib – 3-4 miles away – will be slammed with an unproven massive suction cup method right in the middle of that area, and disrupt the bottom of the lake, the dead zone of toxic sludge, from when the EPA and Army Core of Engineers cleaned up the Cuyahoga River, after it caught on fire in 1969. At that point, Lake Erie was deemed a natural disaster, and then the City of Cleveland, the State of Ohio and the Federal Government got together and worked on the regulations put forth in December of 1970, which marked the beginning of the EPA itself. Together, we helped create the Clean Water Act of 1972, the US Federal law regarding the discharge of pollution into the nation’s lakes, rivers and streams. This contaminated area is now known as “CLA-1,” and consists of layers of 30, 50 and 100 years of accumulated carcinogens, such as lead, magnesium, arsenic, mercury and PCB’s, that have finally settled down nicely at the bottom of Lake Erie. Now, by slamming their unproven, mono-bucket system of the Icebreaker Project to the bottom of our great Lake Erie, Fred Olsen Renewables will penetrate this toxic mix and stir it up, just 4 miles from the Cleveland water crib, that supplies water to 1.4 million people a day, thousands of businesses, schools, churches, and recreation centers in 80 different Ohio communities. When this happens, the EPA will come full circle from 1970 until today, in helping to fix one of the great environmental disasters of America, only to create another one in the same area of Lake Erie, exactly 50 years later. This does not include the additional disruption of dredging up 11 miles of the same buried sludge on the bottom of Lake Erie, in order for the cables to be connected to the onshore power plant. There is an example of a government body, in nearby Flint, MI that lead to a tax-payer funded $600m bailout, and former Governor Rick Synder possibly going to jail, because a decision, mostly under the radar and without input from citizens, that affected the fresh water supply of 100,000 lower-income residents in Flint, who still up to 3 times a day, have to trek across town to obtain fresh bottled water in large 5 gallon jugs, to be used for all of their daily needs, including cooking and bathing. Why? Because a government body in Flint allowed this action to take place, with regards to their freshwater supply, without a proper environmental impact study. Which near West and near East sides of Cleveland, will be the first to take this polluted water in from the Cleveland water crib, after these 500-foot monstrosities are slammed to the bottom of our beautiful Lake Erie?
- The local unions in Cleveland, and their business affiliates, who have been duped, and sold on the premise that the LEEDCo Icebreaker Wind Project will benefit local economic development. If you read the NEPA report surrounding the LEEDCo Icebreaker Wind Project submission, it falsely claimed that 500-1000 local jobs would be created. If you look at the NEPA report on this project, available as public record DOE/EA-2045, Page 3-100, it clearly states, “the project will directly employ 159 jobs…it is anticipated that many highly specialized jobs would come from outside the area.” This means highly specialized jobs coming from the UK and Norway, in the form of the crew for Fed Olsen Renewables. Further stated in the report is, “the operation and maintenance of this project, once completed, will generate 9 full-time jobs.” This is a total of 168 jobs, mostly given to those from Europe, and then gone when the project is completed. The other jobs listed in the report are “could create,” which is pitched and surmised by the Cleveland City Council and The Cleveland Foundation, that this project will be an economic renaissance and supply chain creation in Cleveland for the North American wind industry. This is a myth, because the wind towers, blades, giant suction boxes, and all components of this project will be designed and made where all of Fred Olsen Renewable products are made – in Europe, Norway and China. They will be made there and imported here for this project. Do you think that Fred Olsen Renewables company are going to outsource the manufacturing of all the key components and parts of this plumb project to get into the Great Lakes through companies local to Cleveland? Not a chance. Icebreaker Wind Power, Inc. will be Fred Olsen’s designed and built project to be slammed into the bottom of our beautiful Lake Erie, with all components imported from Europe, China and Norway, and then once the project is completed, they will be gone, taking their $120m contract money with them, and leaving 9 full-time jobs behind.
- Recent bird studies in North America have shown the alarming data that the number of birds are down by 29%, or 2.9 billion birds, which are missing since the last count in 1970. There is nothing in this study attributed to the now 63,000 industrial wind turbines in operation in North America today, but these monstrosities surely account for a portion of this slaughter. Rachel Carson’s prophetic call of a “Silent Spring,” has moved from pesticides and habitat loss for birds to the whoosh, whoosh slaughter of birds by industrial wind turbines throughout the US and Canada today. The 479-foot high, 206-foot blade industrial wind towers, to be placed 8 miles out from the Cleveland shoreline, and spaced for 20 miles off the shores of East Cleveland, Lakewood, Rocky River, and Bay Village, will create a 20-mile killing field for all species of birds, bats and butterflies that normally use this route for migration. There can be no count for this slaughter, as these beautiful creatures, once killed, will simply sink to the bottom of Lake Erie, and this is just the start. The full scale of this project is for 1,600 industrial wind turbines in Lake Erie to completely industrialize and destroy to the point of extinction the unique species of birds, bats and butterflies, millions of which cross Lake Erie in migratory patterns each year. When asked about birds, bats and butterflies in their application for the project, LEEDCo made the outrageous claim that NO birds migrate across Lake Erie that they know of. This statement, in and of itself, should disqualify this entire project.
- From an OPSB standpoint, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio do not need this additional energy source. Within 100 miles of the project, there are two zero Co2 emission producing, nuclear power plants on the shores of Lake Erie, that are already producing completely green energy, for millions of Ohioans and Americans. The Davis-Besse nuclear power station to the west of Cleveland produces 776 GWH of energy, and thePerry nuclear power station to the east of Cleveland produces 858 GWH of energy. These are 2 of the largest nuclear power stations in the United States today. Together, they produce power for tens of millions of Ohio citizens and thousands of businesses and industries throughout the Midwest, as the most sustainable, reliable and storable mode of green energy available on the planet today. Additionally, due to the Utica and Marcellus shale oil boom, natural gas costs in the State of Ohio are abundant and extremely affordable, some of the lowest gas prices in the nation today, in terms of cost. From a Hydro Electric standpoint, Lake Erie is one of the greatest clean energy sources in the world, pounding thru Niagra Falls. With all of this local and abundant energy, it makes no sense to approve Icebreaker as the first industrial wind turbines project, to be placed in the 11th largest freshwater lake in the world, risking the pollution of 147 trillion gallons of fresh water, and destroying the fragile habitat that exists in Lake Erie today. Already algae blooms growing in Lake Erie from agricultural runoff is threatening the freshwater supply, wildlife, and the largest walleye and perch fishing habitats in the world. Lake Erie is already burdened enough!
- We collected the signatures of 6,729 concerned citizens who are opposing OPSB Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility. These signatures, collected from the Save Our Beautiful Lake website and at the Cedar Point boat show, represent voting citizens of Ohio who oppose the project, and who are calling for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to be done, with regards to the detrimental effects that these industrial wind turbines will have, on the ecosystem of our great Lake Erie. The EIS will study the effects on the fresh water, and the inhabitants of Lake Erie, both above and below the surface of the water, and on the shoreline. The 170 pages of signatures from those who oppose this project, and who will certainly remember the names of the approvers of this project, are attached to the case file.
- Let’s follow the money on this project. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provided the 50-year submerged lease rights to non-profit LEEDCo, for the development of the bottom of Lake Erie. LEEDCo, which was created as a non-profit in 2009, fought to be a real project in 2013, and failed in 2014 for many of the same reasons outlined in this note. At that time, LEEDCo’s CEO and main shareholder, Lorry Wagner, met Norwegian billionaire, Fred Olsen, Jr., whose companies have completed saltwater wind turbine projects offshore in the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. So, the ODNR granted these rights to non-profit LEEDCo, which became for-profit LEEDCo, and has the exclusive 50-year rights to develop the bottom of Lake Erie, and when the purchase of LEEDCo by Fred Olsen Renewables (the foreign billionaire) happens, this will create a new company called Icebreaker Wind Power, Inc., giving them the 50-year exclusive rights to develop the bottom of Lake Erie. In June 2018, when Lorry Wagner was asked the question as to what Fred Olsen Renewables is paying himself and the LEEDCo shareholders for their company, which today is fully funded by our tax dollars via the DOE grants and others, Lorry Wagner responded that the price to be paid for the purchase of LEEDCo is confidential. Lorry Wagner did confirm that he had signed a Letter of Intent to sell LEEDCo to Fred Olsen Renewables. Is it legal to transfer the 50-year submerged rights lease to the bottom of our great Lake Erie to a foreign, for-profit billionaire? What is the price that Fred Olsen Renewables is proposing to pay for LEEDCo? The public demands to know. Whatever the price is here, this is the price to be paid for the bottom of our Lake Erie! Is this deal and price for the bottom of our Lake Erie, to possibly be known one day as the OPSB’s folly? This price will most likely make Lorry Wagner, and the other unnamed LEEDCo shareholders, all millionaires, all subsidized off of US taxpayer/DOE dollars. All Fred Olsen Renewables wants, or any other wind power developer needs, is the land, dirt, sand or sludge at the bottom of the body of water, to begin their project. Fred Olsen Renewables could probably give a damn about Lake Erie, our freshwater, fish stocks, birds, bats, butterflies and beauties. Throughout this whole process, we have not heard from any representatives from Fred Olsen Renewables. Why? All Fred Olsen Renewables wants is the rights for this project and the rights for future development, and the entire industrialization and ruin of our Lake Erie, which under green, crony capitalism will make the LEEDCo shareholders and foreign billionaire Fred Olsen all millionaires many times over. This is wrong and completely abhorrent to the Ohio Public Trust Doctrine, which reserves and protects the rights of all Ohio citizens, for public use and enjoyment, navigation, commerce, fishing, and recreation of our Lake Erie to be uninfringed. With this in mind, who enjoys the Cleveland Air Show? In 2019 this 56 year labor day tradition in Cleveland continued, with more than 100,000 spectators along Burke Lakefront airport, generating $7.1m of economic impact for Cleveland, hiring over 1,100 volunteers, giving $40k to local charities and $120,000 in college scholarships. These six 500-foot towers going up off the shores of Burke Lakefront Airport will guarantee that there will be no performances by the Navy Blue Angels, or the United States Airforce Thunderbirds, anywhere near these monstrosities. The Cleveland airshow, traditionally held over Labor Day weekend, bringing in millions for the city, will be cancelled. This is just one example where the Ohio Public Trust Doctrine over Lake Erie, applies against this project. I am not a coal executive, or a green energy company owner. I am an Ohio citizen who lives on the shores of Lake Erie, who has 5 children, a dog and a day job selling paint. However, I can see clear as day how wrong this project is for Lake Erie, and the green, crony capitalism that is produced with the OPSB transfer of our submerged lease rights, to a for-profit shell company and foreign billionaire. I cannot believe that the OPSB and Governor DeWine do not see this as well.
- This project of six 500-feet tall industrial wind turbines, is no small pet project, as it approaches the height of the Terminal Tower, will blight the skyline of Cleveland and the lake shore, and ruin the beauty of Lake Erie as viewed from Avon Point to Bratenahl, and all points in between, both day and night, with its flashing lights. Goodbye star gazing over Cleveland. This will also affect the very active shipping lanes. The ships and freighters will now have to navigate around these towers, and also the flight paths for incoming and outgoing airline flights from both Burke Lakefront Airport and Cleveland Hopkins Airport. One other item not discussed, and one of the reasons the project is called Icebreaker is because unlike most saltwater areas, where there are huge offshore wind turbines, Lake Erie, from time to time and year to year, will completely freeze over. It is undetermined what effect Lake Erie and Great Lakes ice flows will have on these giant industrial towers. LEEDCo and Fred Olsen Renewables calling the project Icebreaker, projects to the public that ice will simply break aside at the base of these giant industrial turbines. The other result will come from the old saying “Lake Erie Giveth and Lake Erie Taketh Away,” and these monster 500-foot poles, with blades the size of 2 football fields, will snap, fall, and become corroding hunks that will litter Lake Erie where they stand. When this happens, who is responsible for paying for the clean-up? – LEEDCo and the shareholders enriched by the deal with Fred Olsen Renewables? No. They will be long gone. Fred Olsen Renewables? No. They will only be liable based upon what their insurance will cover for this project, if they are even able to get insurance for this project at all, which is another outstanding question.
- Fred Olsen Renewables is getting thrown out of Europe because industrial wind turbine projects throughout Europe, Germany and the UK are failing in great numbers, and also in Switzerland and Sweden. In Germany, they have a new term called “energy poverty,” where the energy is so subsidized from failing renewable projects that couples have to decide between paying their energy bills, or going out to dinner and a movie on the weekend. So what honor does Lake Erie have to host this project? Could they not do the first industrial wind project in Chicago? New York? San Francisco? Boston? Miami? Not to those beautiful skylines, but we can do it in Cleveland. If this project goes forward the skyline of Cleveland will be viewed as giant industrial wind turbines, hovering over the whole place, disgusting. Cleveland is one step forward, and two steps back. Cleveland, once the butt of jokes for 50 years since the Cuyahoga River caught fire, we have come full circle. Putting the first six, and then sixteen-hundred 500’ industrial wind turbines in our beautiful Lake Erie, is like putting industrial wind turbines in the Grand Canyon itself. Representative Marcy Kaptur of Toledo said, “The wind farms are the beginning of a new wind powered energy grid, along the southern shores of the Great Lakes, from Buffalo to Toledo, Lake Erie is the wind energy version of Saudi Arabia.” Make no mistake about it, this project is about the total industrialization of Lake Erie, the decimation of wildlife, beauty, fresh drinking water, and demise of $1 Billion tourism industry, and declining property values along Lake Erie, decimating the entire region, and the regions tax base.
Senator Williams there are even more reasons to oppose this project, and although I have stated many of the unspoken facts surrounding the project, I do certainly understand and respect the important obligations that you have as a member of the OPSB, in balancing the needs of power and energy, vs. environmental impacts, for the entire State of Ohio and America today. As it relates to Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility, please consider the detriments to this project I have outlined in this note to you.
Like you Senator, I am a life-long Cleveland native, now residing in Bay Village, Ohio. I grew up in Fairview Park, Ohio. I am standing here today in defense of Lake Erie, as a Clevelander, who as a kid in the 1970s remembers the graffiti written on the side of the East 55th Street steel-dock pier, with the words “HELP ME, I’M DYING. LAKE ERIE.”
Cleveland, the State of Ohio and the Federal Government answered Lake Erie’s call back then. Will you all answer the call today? Please cancel OPSB Case Number 16-1871-EL-BGN: Icebreaker Wind Facility, Once and for All!
LONG LIVE ERIELHONEN!
(The Iroquoian Indian Name for Lake Erie)
Thomas C. Sullivan, Jr.
Bay Village, OH 44140
CC: David Strang – Founder – Save Our Beautiful Lake http://saveourbeautifullake.org/
Sherri Lange – CEO – North American Platform Against Wind Power http://www.napaw.org/
Co-Founder Great Lakes Wind Truth http://www.greatlakeswindtruth.org/