“C’mon in Congressman, nice to see you dropping by home. Sit a spell, have a little coffee and let me catch you up on the news. Yep, kids are all fine, thanks for asking. By the way, did you know they’re putting up a 100 square mile wind farm on the lake?”
From the Ludington Daily News: Hoekstra wants time to study offshore wind farm proposed for Lake Michigan
Steve Begnoche – Managing Editor
Thursday, January 7, 2010
By STEVE BEGNOCHE
U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, like many others, was taken by surprise by the proposal for a 100-square-mile wind farm offshore from Ludington south to Silver Lake State Park.
“This came out of the blue,” he said noting he had some heads up on the B.P. White Pine Wind Farm proposed for in the Manistee National Forest north of Ludington before those meetings.
He said his office isn’t getting much comment on it, perhaps because constituents see it as a state issue.
His sense from constituents so far?
“The people I’ve talked to are overwhelmingly against it,” he told the Ludington Daily News editorial board in an interview Wednesday.
Hoekstra, a candidate for the nomination for governor of Michigan in this year’s Republican primary, was asked what trumps economy and jobs in Michigan at this difficult time.
“There are a couple of things that are sacred in this state,” Hoekstra said. “One of those on this side of the state is Lake Michigan.”
He said Michigan residents on the shorelines of other Great Lakes probably feel the same way about their lakes.
Another trump issue, he said, is national security, thus he opposes moving Gitmo — the Cuba-based American prison housing enemy combatants captured in the war on terror — to U.S. soil, including a once-proposed facility in Standish.
Yet, he said, he wasn’t ready to state a stance on the offshore wind farm proposal
saying he hasn’t studied it enough, hasn’t seen enough of the facts to make a determination.
“I’m open to sitting down with the folks involved and the citizens in the district to determine where they’re at,” he said.
He said the number of potential new jobs and amount of investment will be important factors, too, as he and west Michigan residents as a whole make their decisions about whether it would be beneficial for the area.
In principle, he said he isn’t opposed to wind energy development in the lake, noting he successfully earmarked funding for Grand Valley State University to test the practicability of wind turbines placed in the lake.
Lake Michigan winds have potential, he said, but there’s also a question that needs to be answered about the cost differential between building turbines close to shore as in the current proposal 2 to 4 miles off the shoreline vs. placing them farther out where they are less visually distracting.