Icebreaker Lake Erie wind project praised, criticized at hearing before state board

Cleveland.com / The Plain Dealer – Lingering fears about the impact of a Lake Erie wind farm on birds and bats appears to be the only remaining hurdle to building the first-ever U.S. freshwater wind turbine project.

That's a high hurdle, however, according to a procession of clean water- and bird-loving opponents who delivered emotional appeals to state officials at a public hearing Thursday evening at City Hall.

The staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board has recommended the state allow the construction of the Icebreaker project with restrictions on night operation until the Lake Erie Energy Development Co. has received the results of monitoring studies obtained from cameras, radar and collision detectors. Construction is tentatively set to begin in 2021.

At a public hearing in November, Icebreaker supporters outnumbered opponents by roughly 7 to 1. Electrical and steel union workers, entrepreneurs and business owners turned out to voice their belief that the project has the potential to create more than 500 jobs, add $168 million to the region's economy, and generate cheap green electricity for decades.

This time, the supporters again held the majority of the nearly 200 people in attendance, although more of the opponents opted to take turns at the microphone. Many appeared on behalf of the Cleveland Yacht Club and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

Read more at Cleveland.com.

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