By Robert Bradley Jr. — July 16, 2021
“I will grant that [Kevon Martis] gave a polished presentation of some very selected ‘facts’ totally trashing wind turbines and the power companies and wind energy companies associated with them. His one hour presentation had all of 5 seconds where he had something positive to say about wind turbines as ‘giving local entities a little bit of tax money’ (Don Smucker, below).
“If there was a substantive criticism in my talk, Smucker never proffered it and resorted instead to base name calling.” (Martis, below)
Industrial wind turbines: Dilute. Intermittent. Unneeded. Duplicative. Taxpayer/government dependent. Ugly. Noisy. Blade shadows. Flicker light. Bird hazard. Infrastructure heavy (steel, concrete, and land). Energy sprawl (service roads, long transmission to markets with line loss). Landfill issues.
Is wind the perfect imperfect energy for the modern electricity grid?
With all the government and nonprofit money on the other side, we are fortunate to have a cadre of basically volunteers to speak grassroot truth to wind power. One of the most prominent is Kevon Martis, who masquerades as one cool dude, even a dilettante, outside of his very serious and influential wind work. 
Martis’s heroics have been profiled here at MasterResource. His rebuttal to the negative insinuations of one Ed Rivet was profiled last month. The shoestring man has attracted the ire of Big Green, as evidenced by the statement:
Despite his folky style and positioning to the contrary, [Kevin] Martis is a highly polished, fossil fuel operative with aggressive tactics. The taxpayers of Seneca County and all of Ohio deserve a more honest broker than Kevon Martis.
Fossil fuel operative? That will be a surprise to Kevon Martis or anyone who knows him.
So here is the latest ad hominem attack against Kevon Martis (and Norman Stephens) by Emeritus Montcalm County Extension agent Don Smucker. Their Facebook exchange follows.
Wind Proponent Don Smucker
“I personally am very concerned regarding those outside of our county or your township who have effectively disrupted local meetings to push their agenda. I feel that this has been very detrimental.
I agree with Dan Paris’s assessment of Norm Stephens in his April 10 letter to the Daily News. I am equally concerned about the platform given to Kevon Martis whom many of you listened to on April 8.
First why is he not willing to divulge the source of funding for the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, an anti-wind organization which he operates in Michigan and Ohio?
He vigorously denies be funded by fossil fuel money, but he somehow did not mention that he is a Senior Policy Fellow for The Energy and Environment Legal Institute and is also associated with the Institute for Energy Research. You need to personally take a look at the funding history and the purposes of these organizations. Is he in reality a spokesperson for those who want to work against alternative energy sources as it will impact their profits from fossil fuel? You can decide.
But if he will not divulge how he is funded or his role with these entities and even if he presents himself as only a zoning expert selflessly working for the good of everyone, why should I believe what he says?
I will grant that he gave a polished presentation of some very selected “facts” totally trashing wind turbines and the power companies and wind energy companies associated with them. His one hour presentation had all of 5 seconds where he had something positive to say about wind turbines as “giving local entities a little bit of tax money”.
As Sandra Mills told us we need to be very wary of anyone who only addresses one side of the issue. Furthermore there is another side which also needs to be considered with almost every zoning argument which he so aggressively advocated.
But it really is not about my truth and your truth or his truth. There are objective materials available put together by those who strive to present what credible studies say and what is repeated by other objective studies.
I am attaching a presentation put together by Bradley Neumann who is an Extension Educator with Michigan State University who is not advocating either for or against wind turbines. I will send this pdf document in a separate e-mail.
Please go through this and make it available to your other township officials. I feel that townships must deal effectively with this situation and I understand that life is hard right now and I really feel for you. But also consider this:
If in fact wind turbines are needed as cost effective energy sources to replace our coal fired plants that are going off line then I think we can reasonably be assured that our nation and state are going to take steps to make sure that they do get put up, and if that is correct, they could be making the rules that we will have to comply with having much less local control.
If this then does happen Martis and Stephens and others like them are going to get what maybe they deserve and not what they want. And as Laura and Larry Engel recently said in their letter to Douglas township that “township officials and residents can either be proactive and retain a role in how wind turbines will be located, or they can be reactive and fight among themselves, hamper any energy company that ventures into the area and end up doing nothing.”
Rebuttal: Kevon Martis
Mr. Smucker: As I have made clear, I have no financial ties to any fossil fuel company. I receive no funding from any energy interest of any kind. And my net financial impact in supporting communities resisting irresponsible wind development is around $100,000 over twelve years: to the negative.
But let’s play Mr. Smucker’s game: let’s presume that anyone who has ties to fossil fuel funding is not reliable as a source of information. If so, that is decidedly bad news for MSU Extension.
MSU’s latest wind turbine zoning template gives credit to NextEra Energy and DTE Energy for helping to develop it. DTE is the biggest coal polluter in the State of Michigan and a massive distributor, consumer and retailer of natural gas. And DTE owns a fleet of coal hoppers that transport thousands of tons per day of Powder River Basin coal into Michigan by rail for use in it’s power plants.
Likewise NextEra. They are the largest utility in the United States and have a vast gas-fired power plant fleet.
And consider APEX “Clean” Energy whose water Mr. Smucker is carrying: they took a round of financing in 2018 from an investment house with substantial investments in fossil fuel extraction and power generation.
So using Mr. Smucker’s own spurious and insulting logic, he has discredited himself, MSU Extension and APEX.
Secondly, I regularly and publicly disclose my fellowship with E&E Legal. And I make it clear that I have never taken instructions from E&E and have never been offered a dime from them. But APEX doesn’t disclose their fossil ties, do they?
In fact, Mr. Smucker’s disingenuous line of reasoning fails on it’s face: rather than asking people to analyze my statements, sources and reasoning, he tells people to look at the funding. That is called an ad hominem attack, an attack against the person rather than the arguments the person presents.
He offered no response to the series of high level and credible sources that show that the proper wind turbine noise limit is under 40dBa. None.
He offered no response to the Sarlak paper I referenced that was published in the journal Wind Energy that suggests wind turbine setbacks should be substantially larger than the 1,200′ to homes proposed by APEX.
He offered no response to my reference to multiple wind turbine manufacturer’s safety manuals suggesting that the minimum employee evacuation distance is 1,640′.
Instead of an academic response, he chose cheap character assassination. Shameful.
Does this pass for professionalism at MSU these days? Finally, Mr. Smucker suggests that I should be discredited because I only offered a few seconds of positive impacts from wind energy development and the rest was negative.
Using his own logic, his criticism of me should likewise be dismissed: his only positive comment about ME was that I was “polished”. The rest was conspiratorial slander. He has circularly discredited himself.
And what of the claim that my talk only focuses on the negative impacts of wind energy development? OF COURSE IT DOES! It was a zoning talk!
Zoning must focus on regulating the negative impacts of any development. The positives don’t need regulation, a point I made in my talk that night.
Sadly, Mr. Smucker is just the latest in a long string of renewable energy groupies who believes the lie that the only people who have objections to irresponsible renewable energy development are taking a secret check from Bob Murray from Murray Coal. Pathetic.
As an agent of Michigan State University, Mr. Smucker should be educated enough to know that 1+1=2 even when the one remaining Koch Brother does the math.
If there was a substantive criticism in my talk, Smucker never proffered it and resorted instead to base name calling. If this is the academic standard now in play at MSU Extension these days, all I can say is “Go Blue!”
 Martis’s work has been covered here:
- Enough! Martis Responds to Sinclair re Industrial Wind (March 5, 2018)
- Wind Siting Rules: Kevon Martis Testimony to the Ohio Power Siting Board (June 9, 2016)
- Citizen Martis to Ohio Lawmakers: Repeal the Renewable-Energy Mandate (January 27, 2014)
- Testimony Against Industrial Wind Power: Martis before the Ohio Senate and House PUCs (January 8, 2014)
And recall his 2013 post “Dear Michigan: Why Wind?” where he quoted James Hansen: “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”