A Free-Market Energy Blog

Are Grassroot Wind/Solar Foes ‘Cultish’? (Peter Sinclair vs. Kevon Martis again)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 3, 2023

“A major player in the renewable energy opposition in rural Michigan is Kevon Martis, who works for E&E Legal, a D.C.-based lobbying firm that gets funding from the fossil fuel industry.” (Sinclair, below)

“Those are the people funding Peter Sinclair: huge fossil fuel entities. Yet he plays the fossil fuel card against me when I have never received a dime from any fossil entity unless you count my cashback credit card used for gasoline purchases!” (Martis, below)

DC-based Big Environmentalism has a grassroots problem: local residents who do not like or want super-sized industrial wind turbines and multi-acre solar slabs. It is more than NIMBY since taxpayer dollars put such (unneeded, duplicative) machinery in play. But also respect the opposition’s rational concern about mega-machinery noise, visual blight, health effects, and property devaluation.

Kevon Martis, who has a day job, fights wind on the side without compensation. He does not work for E&E Legal (per Sinclair) but has an honorary title. Yet Martis has been very effective in making the case against rural industrialization by governmental means.

Peter Sinclair hurls ad hominems against Martis with Big Wind (and indirectly, Big Oil) behind him. This post presents the latest from Sinclair, posted earlier this week at Yale Climate Connections, followed by Martis’s rebuttal (email to author).

Peter Sinclair

In small Michigan townships, local planning meetings have recently turned into shouting matches over wind and solar projects. Town supervisors report being harassed on Facebook and spit on in public. Often, the opposition comes from a small number of people who attend meetings in communities that are considering a renewable energy project — even if they don’t live there. And it’s not just happening in Michigan.

“If you look at the things that are being presented in our community, you’ll see the same exact tactics whether it’s in Ohio or Indiana or wherever you’re talking about,” said Ashlyn Newell, a teacher in Maple Valley Township, Michigan.

The anti-renewable opposition is seeing success. A report from Columbia University found that restrictions on renewable energy projects have popped up in 31 states. NPR reported recently on a proposed solar project that was shut down in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. And in 2022, activists in Montcalm County, Michigan, halted a 375-megawatt wind project.

Some of these protests appear to have ties to fossil fuel interests. A major player in the renewable energy opposition in rural Michigan is Kevon Martis, who works for E&E Legal, a D.C.-based lobbying firm that gets funding from the fossil fuel industry.

Learn more about this growing battle in this two-part video series.

Kevon Martis

Peter Sinclair is a radical leftist who, curiously, works for the fossil-fuel funded Michigan “Conservative” Energy forum. They have an offshoot called, perversely, the Land and Liberty Coalition.

Peter admits Wind industry funding for his work. He told an audience of about 40 people in Saginaw County that he is funded in part by APEX Clean Energy, Detroit Edison and Invenergy. All of them own fossil fuel generation or, in the case of APEX, are owned by an investment house–ARES Management– that has large holdings in gas extraction, hydraulic fracturing and power generation. ( ARES CEO Tony Ressler has been labeled the “Fracketeer” by the anti-fossil mob.)

Those are the people funding Peter Sinclair: huge fossil fuel entities. Yet he plays the fossil fuel card against me when I have never received a dime from any fossil entity unless you count my cashback credit card used for gasoline purchases!

Peter now says I am employed by E&E Legal but I am not. They gave me an honorary Senior Policy Fellow title and nothing more. They like some of my writing on energy policy. They are in no way involved in fighting local renewable energy battles. And my lawyer made that clear to Peter a number of years ago.

Peter has released a series of libelous videos attacking me and my friends for standing up for our communities and opposing irresponsible and impotent renewable energy development. What Peter does not tell is that he, like most of the local officials in his videos, are all on the payroll of APEX Clean Energy.

And he does not tell anyone in his video that the APEX project in Montcalm County Michigan was to cover 10-11 townships with 600’+ tall wind turbines-300 square miles.

So while it is true that people from “other townships” showed up at neighboring township meetings, it’s because the project spanned so many townships.

It is ironic that Peter singles me out as an outside agitator in Montcalm. Peter lobbies this market (video here) where he gives talks about wind energy. They are poorly done and poorly attended, and he has absolutely no land-use credentials of any kind. Is Peter from Montcalm County? No. He is from Midland County and the closest wind turbines to his urban community are many miles away. And unlike me, Peter is actually paid for his efforts and paid by the APEX Fracketeer, Invenergy and DTE Energy.

My involvement in Montcalm was a Zoom lecture on wind zoning. I also spoke at the local residents’ Big Wind Go Home rally (republished at MasterResource).

Peter and his corporate masters at APEX and Land and Liberty are working overtime in Michigan to strip away township control of wind and solar siting. They are using the Montcalm County experience to peddle a false narrative to the new Democratic majority in the Michigan legislature, namely: “One Man (ME!) should not have the power to destroy the planet! He must be stopped at all costs and the way to do that is to take away township control of wind and solar.”

Oddly, in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois, the two states with the least amount of wind development are the states who have, or had until recently, state control of wind siting. (Ohio just gave wind siting back to the counties.) Michigan, Indiana and Illinois which have either county or township regulation of wind siting have far MORE installed wind capacity. https://windexchange.energy.gov/maps-data/321

The APEX leaseholders in Peter’s video argue that the local opposition “follow a script”. The only script used by locals is the state laws that permit referendum, initiative and recall. And yes, that looks the same in every township because the state gave those same rules to every township.

But there is another script at work in Montcalm and Peter documents it well. Harvest the officials, then harvest the wind.

Most of the local officials in Sinclair’s videos are under lease agreement with APEX yet in most cases advocated for permissive wind development as officials even though it would line their own pockets. Then, when locals protest the naked conflict of interest, the developers and their henchmen like Sinclair accuse the locals of “terrorism” and “cult” behavior. Interestingly, local protests against wind development have never risen to the level of tactics employed by PETA or Greenpeace. Wind opponents in Michigan have never chained themselves to bulldozers, attacked ships, glued themselves to the floor or defaced priceless artwork. And Peter never attacks those environmentalists’ actions.

Interestingly, a few days ago, Greta Thunberg closed down part of Norway’s government as she protested wind development among the indigenous Sami people. She called the proposed development “green colonialism”. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Peter to attack her efforts or to label her a terrorist or enemy of the planet. But her concerns about that development are mine: local people must be protected from irresponsible industrialization of rural spaces, green or not.

In the end, Sinclair’s ever more shrill attacks on me are desperate attempt at relevance in a space where he just doesn’t matter. He now has only interest in trying to cancel me.

But I cannot be cancelled. Liberty and amenity of home are worth defending, and the more times my flag runs up the pole, the more people salute.


Note: Kevon Martis posts and updates at MasterResource can be found here.


  1. Clayton Dan McKay  

    When “NIMBY” spreads throughout the land, it becomes a majority cause.


  2. Sherri Lange  

    Kevon, you are highly regarded for integrity and smarts. Good response to Peter Sinclair. Seems it needs to be repeated from time to time. Cult: interesting word. “A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.”

    But it has little meaning, except exceptional ignorance here. There is no CULT, no small group of religious zealots, and actions are noble, not sinister. He uses the word to denigrate, and to demean. Fortunately, it does not get “worn”, we do not accept the assignation. In fact, some of his article refers to the success of massive groups of people who have the same respect for nature, water, land, and air, and people and wildlife. Shoots himself a bit in the foot, would you say?


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