Merski bill would bring benefits of renewable wind energy to Lake Erie region

Would create process to lease areas of lakebed for wind generation

ERIE, March 14 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, has introduced legislation to develop areas of Lake Erie for wind generation, allowing the region to reap the economic benefits of this clean, renewable energy source.

“The lakeshore benefits our region in so many ways, from recreation to tourism to commerce, but we have yet to tap another resource with tremendous potential – the capacity for wind generation. Plans have been approved in Ohio for a pilot project to build several wind turbines about 8 miles off the Cleveland shoreline. I believe it’s time for Pennsylvania to harness this powerful resource that would bring family-sustaining jobs and new revenue to our region.

“Of course, it is critical that we remain good stewards of the land. With careful planning and design, I believe we can minimize any risk to the natural environment and cut our carbon footprint at the same time.”

Merski said his H.B. 254 would establish the Lake Erie Wind Energy Development Act, to create a competitive process and award a permit lease to develop certain areas of the lakebed for wind energy generation, with a 2% royalty on gross revenue going to Erie County and several other government entities for lake- and county-related projects.

The bill is in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.