State Representative Curt Sonney introduced a resolution in the PA House to declare September 7th “Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Appreciation Day.” This is the same Curt Sonney who previously introduced House Bill 685, the “Lake Erie Wind Energy Development Act,” for the purpose of opening 10,000 acres of Lake Erie lake bed in Erie County waters for a utility scale offshore wind turbine facility. The contrast between these two actions is astounding, but the difference between the resolution and the bill also reveals his priorities.
What difference does a resolution make?
House Resolution 234, creating Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Appreciation Day in PA, was introduced as a “noncontroversial resolution.” It means pretty much what it sounds like. Who wouldn’t be in favor of an appreciation day for the Great Lakes? No one, of course, so it’s an easy win and something to put in your newsletter to constituents. What actual legislative impact does this carry and what effect will it have on the Great Lakes? Zero. This isn’t serious legislation, in fact, it’s meaningless.
A house bill, on the other hand, is very serious
Compared to Resolution 234, his House Bill 685 is very serious business. If this is acted upon by the house, he will have opened up 10,000 acres of the lake bed to utility scale wind turbine development. How that fits into his desire to “actively work together to protect and enhance the Great Lakes system” is hard to understand.
It’s also odd, or maybe it’s not, that Sonney is sending out notice of this resolution to his constituents while nowhere mentioning his House Bill 685 to place wind turbines in the lake. Perhaps his constituents would not be pleased.
Meeting with Rep. Sonney in his office, he was asked why he introduced HB 685 and his response was he was solving a problem, though he had a great deal of difficulty explaining what that problem is and left everyone confused with his non-answer.
Industrial wind turbines have no place in Lake Erie
Representative Sonney wants you to believe he is somehow protecting the lake, when his actual legislation suggests otherwise. House Bill 685 should be removed from consideration before the legislature. In fact, we should follow the lead of Ontario, Canada, that has placed a moratorium on offshore wind development. Since our County Executive has already requested Erie County waters be designated the Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary, protecting those waters from industrial wind turbines would be a logical extension of that act.
What can you do?
If you think Lake Erie needs to be protected from offshore industrial wind developments while being preserved as a source of fresh drinking water and for recreational, fishing and boating use, contact Curt Sonney and let him know.