PA house approves Lake Erie wind energy

Wind turbine efforts for Lake Erie are apparently ramping up in Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House passed a bill that would allow for the lease of land on Lake Erie for the purpose of harnessing clean energy solutions for Pennsylvania.

State Rep. Bob Merski , D-Erie, said his legislation, which passed the House along party lines, represents a beacon of innovation, a path to sustainable economic growth, and a commitment to the stewardship of our environment for future generations.

“When everyone is brought to the table, we can bridge the gap between good-paying jobs and renewable energy,” Merski said in a press release. “This bill brought stakeholders from labor, environmental groups, the Fish and Boat Commission, Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Environmental Protection together to make sure we continue protecting our environment in our efforts to bring jobs to Pennsylvania and help make America energy independent.

“By investing in clean energy, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint but also catalyzing innovation, creating jobs and ensuring energy security for generations to come. Additionally, this would be a safeguard for Erie County, protecting our natural resources while ensuring profits from this endeavor are brought back home to benefit us locally.”

The bill now heads to the full state Senate for consideration.

In New York state, the issue of turbines has become a hot-button issue. In recent weeks, a number of municipalities in Chautauqua and Erie counties have gone on record that they are opposed to the placement of the structures in the Great Lakes waters.

Ohio’s controversial Ice Breaker proposal that aimed to place eight turbines off the coast of Cleveland was put on hold in December due to increasing costs to make the effort happen. The Lake Erie Foundation, which is based in Ohio, previously went on record to oppose the construction of eight turbines on the waters.

“The Lake Erie Foundation supports efforts to improve the environment and decrease global warming. However, in this case, the negative environmental effects on Lake Erie, along with economic losses to tourism, spending, jobs, waterfront home values and taxes, appear to outweigh the several hundred jobs that this project claims to create,” the group’s statement said. “For these reasons, the Lake Erie Foundation opposes the Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. proposal to build wind turbines in Lake Erie.”

A mission statement for the organization says it exists to “create and maintain a healthy Lake Erie now and forever.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today