Natural gas CARES: Farmland preservation key to Ohio's future - TEA



Natural gas CARES: Farmland preservation key to Ohio’s future

The Empowerment Alliance supports natural gas CARES and its benefits to thousands of low- and moderate-income households, family farms and businesses in Ohio.

We must be mindful of this rural environment, which means an emphasis on farmland preservation and protecting our soil from erosion and keeping our water supplies clean and safe.Wind and solar companies are rapidly buying up family farms to erect intrusive solar panels and large, loud wind turbines.

A number of counties and townships across the Buckeye State have said “No” to these projects, from Crawford County’s proposed wind farm that voters defeated last fall to Clermont County’s recent ban on large solar and wind farms in seven of its townships.

There are thousands of acres of Ohio farmland being developed by solar companies. The Ohio Power Siting Board currently has applications pending for an additional 16,435 acres of farmland.The largest is Oak Run Solar in Madison County, which will occupy 6,050 acres of farmland. It would be one of the largest solar developments in the country, and cost over $1 billion.

Other states also have fought back. Earlier this year, a federal jury awarded a Georgia couple $135.5 million for damages to their property by a Tennessee-based solar company and its contractor.

Regarding renewables:

  • There may be a place for wind and solar in the energy markets, but not at the expense of precious farmland. 
  • Abandoned brownfields or rooftops in the city are much more suitable.
  • Those sources need to stand on their own, void of their perpetual dependence on subsidies from the federal government, if they want to compete in the free market.

A collection of environmental groups seem focused on overturning the Natural Gas is Green language adopted earlier this year by the Ohio Legislature. Rather than quarrel over that designation, they should focus their time, energy and resources on fighting wind and solar projects across the state.Ohio can and should be the future low-cost energy capital of the United States. It takes all of us, including lawmakers, manufacturers, farmers and others, working together to accomplish this. We have a strong workforce and our central location and overall infrastructure are assets.

Additional infrastructure needs for natural gas exist in portions of the state. A statewide study is assessing those needs.Natural gas is a Clean, Affordable, Reliable Energy Source (CARES).Who does it help? The folks in this video and those who represent:

  • The 40.7 percent of Ohio households with an annual income less than $50,000.
  • The 249,545 small businesses that employ 4,181,921 workers.
  • The 2 million people 65 years old and up.
  • Those 76,900 farms and their families who are trying to keep a tradition alive.

The truth is natural gas is good for all of Ohio, its residents, business, agriculture and manufacturing interests.