Archive for e-news

General Assembly Threatens Invalidation of Governor Kasich’s Proposed Regulations

Members of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) took the unusual step of recommending that the Ohio Department of Agriculture revise and refile an administrative rule package addressing the Lake Erie watershed. JCARR is a lesser-known committee of the General Assembly that is tasked with reviewing rules proposed by executive agencies. Although rarely exercised, the committee has the power to recommend that the Ohio General Assembly invalidate rules proposed by state agencies should the proposed rule be found to violate specific conditions such as legislative intent or agency authority or if the rule fails to meet certain other standards related to administrative actions or the common sense initiative.

The measures were adopted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture following an executive order by Governor Kasich in July and dealt with standards for farm runoff in the Lake Erie watershed. The measure generally garnered support from conservation and environmental groups with agricultural organizations expressing concerns that the rules exceeded agency authority, would not have the intended beneficial intent, and could not reasonably be complied with.

 

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General Assembly Acts on Lake Legislation before Wrapping Up for the Session

The Ohio General Assembly is expected to wrap up its work this week. Both the Ohio House and Senate have tentatively scheduled a session day on December 27th, with the stated purpose of overriding some expected vetoes by the Governor.  After that, the legislature is expected to adjourn. Newly elected and re-elected members will be sworn into office and a new General Assembly will convene in early January. All pending legislation that has not been enacted will have to be re-introduced and start the legislative process all over again.

One of the last bills passed by the current General Assembly has special interest to Ohio Lakefront Group members: Senate Bill 51. SB 51 is expected to be signed into law. Although numerous provisions (predominantly capital expenditures unrelated to the original proposal) were added to the bill, those of the most interest to OLG members would expand the scope of public improvements that may be funded and completed by a special improvement district (SID) to include shoreline improvement projects along Lake Erie.

A SID is an economic development tool that may be used to facilitate the development and implementation of services within a defined district located within one or more cities, villages, or townships. The improvements and services are funded through a special assessment levied against property in the district. The SID is administered by the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is created for the purpose of governing the district. Simplified, a SID would allow property owners to band together to form a public-private partnership for the purposes of lakefront repairs, improvements, and protection. Supporters of the bill are hopeful that creation of a SID could allow property owners to take on restoration and protection efforts that are immediately necessary as a group, financed over up to 30 years. Unlike most other SIDs, those for coastal management purposes must have the consent of 100% of impacted property owners.

Once the Governor has signed the bill (and assuming he does), the Ohio Lakefront Group will work with local groups and local governments to disseminate additional information for those interested in forming a SID.

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OPSB reschedules adjudicatory hearing for proposed Lake Erie wind farm

The following is provided as information without bias. Wind Farms are beyond the scope of the Ohio Lakefront group mission. The Ohio Lakefront Group has no position at this time

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Aug. 1, 2018) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today rescheduled the adjudicatory hearing regarding Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.’s application to construct a wind-powered electric generation facility in Lake Erie. The purpose of the adjudicatory hearing is to allow formal parties to the case to present pre-filed testimony and evidence, and to cross examine other parties’ witnesses.

The adjudicatory hearing, previously set to begin on Aug. 6, 2018, is now scheduled as follows:

Sept. 24, 2018, at 10 a.m.
180 East Broad Street
Hearing Room 11-A
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3793

The OPSB rescheduled the adjudicatory hearing in response to a motion filed by Icebreaker Windpower to revise the procedural schedule in the case.

Icebreaker Windpower proposes to construct six wind turbines in Lake Erie approximately 8 to 10 miles off the shore of Cleveland. Each turbine would have a nameplate capacity rating of 3.45 megawatts (MW), resulting in a combined generating capacity of 20.7 MW. The project would include an approximately 12-mile long submerged cable to transmit the electricity generated by the turbines to Cleveland Public Power’s onshore Lake Road substation.

The OPSB held local public hearings in Cleveland on Nov. 8, 2017 and July 19, 2018. On July 3, 2018, the OPSB technical staff published its report of investigation, recommending that the OPSB approve construction of the facility subject to 34 conditions. The staff report is only a recommendation, and the final decision regarding the proposed facility remains pending before the OPSB. The OPSB has not scheduled a date for the final decision.

Additional information regarding the proposed facility is available on the OPSB website at www.OPSB.ohio.gov in case number 16-1871-EL-BGN.

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The Ohio Power Siting Board reviews applications for the construction of major utility facilities in Ohio. Together with Ohio’s elected officials, citizen stakeholders, and the energy industry, the Board strives to build a strong and competitive foundation for Ohio’s future.

 

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Representatives John Rogers and Ron Young Introduce Bi-partison Legislation to Mitigate Lake Erie Erosion Financing

State Reps. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would give property owners along a coastline an additional option to assist in mitigating coastal erosion or financing other needed improvements.

The bill, House Bill (HB) 709, would enable residents with shoreline property an opportunity to initiate by petition for the creation of a shoreline improvement project financed by a special improvement district (SID). This process requires participation by 75 percent of the property owners of the proposed district, or 60 percent of the front footage. Once a petition has been circulated and signed by the needed number of property owners, it would then be subject to the approval of a municipality’s or township’s governing body. Property owners located within the district would then be subject to a levy for the repayment of funds necessary for the shoreline improvement project.

All shoreline improvement projects would be required to comply with current zoning, environmental and coastal management laws.

“The damage caused by erosion this year to properties along Lake Erie’s shoreline has been unusually severe. This, combined with the ongoing threat of continued damage, represents a significant cost to individual homeowners, their neighborhoods and lake-side communities,” said Rogers. “Our legislation gives property owners an additional tool to help them shore up their home fronts and investments that are at serious risk.”

Young, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Mentor, Painesville Township, Madison and Perry, has been supporting efforts to curb shoreline erosion for a number of years. He has won significant amounts state funding for shoreline protection related projects in Mentor, Perry, Madison, Willoughby and other portions of Lake County.

“For many Lake County citizens their largest and most treasured possession is their home. This legislation gives our people a chance to band together to save their property,” Young said. “Break walls and other shoreline protection systems are very expensive and often require high levels of government funding, approval and scrutiny. For these reasons, government entities usually fund these projects. Allowing citizens to voluntarily band together and structure a long-term funding stream (up to 30 years) to create a much needed shoreline protection system is long past due. It’s also important to note that 100 percent of all funds levied will be allocated to the project.”

Rogers, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Willowick, Lakeline, Timberlake, Eastlake, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Mentor and Fairport Harbor, in addition to the riverside communities of Painesville and Grand River, recently hosted a town hall event together with State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) along with representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss options for residents whose homes and properties are at risk from the damage caused by erosion.

“A shoreline improvement district would allow neighbors to attack an erosion issue in unison financially as opposed to a piecemeal approach that might otherwise be cost prohibitive,” said Rogers.

HB 709 bill is awaiting referral to a House committee for its initial hearings.

 

The Senate has a similar Bill, SB 51.

 

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