Big coal throws weight behind opposition to Lake Erie wind farm

Big coal throws weight behind opposition to Lake Erie wind farm
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A major coal company is throwing itself into a residential battle against a planned offshore wind farm on Lake Erie.

Murray Energy, the nation’s largest privately-owned coal company, is bankrolling groups and residents opposed to a planned $126 million six-turbine Icebreaker Wind project off the coast of Cleveland.

The coal company’s involvement in resident opposition to the project was unearthed last week in documents filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board that showed that the company was bankrolling anti-Icebreaker consultants and paying for the lawyers of at least two local residents who had testified against the project.

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A Murray Energy spokesman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the company was “pleased” it could assist residents in preventing the wind group from “steam-rolling this project through the Ohio Power Siting Board certification process without the public scrutiny and opposition that it deserves."

Environmentalists and the National Audubon Society have voiced some support for the wind project. Their support is conditional to various recommendations meant to protect birds.  

The farm will be built eight-to-ten miles offshore.

Coal plants are increasingly facing economic hardships as the price for production outpaces the profits. The reality has lead a number of plants to shutter, despite the Trump administration’s plea to prop up the industry.

Members of the Trump administration have however also thrown their support behind increased offshore wind opportunities. Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Interior secretary met with tribal lawyer attached to Zinke casino dispute Zinke joins board of small gold mining company MORE has frequently spoken of an interest in increasing the use of energy from wind. Other local communities and states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts have recently announced planned offshore wind farms that would contribute significant electricity generation.