We are all NIMBY’s

I am a NIMBY. We all are. There are 319 million people in the US, virtually ALL who care about protecting their PRIVATE PROPERTY against intrusion. Not In My BackYard=NIMBY.

QUIET ENJOYMENT

‘Quiet Enjoyment’ is the legal right of a property owner to enjoy his/her property in peace without interference.  Specific LEGAL ‘nuisances’ that interfere with the physical condition of the property ie noise, pollution; or interfere with the comfort, convenience, health or mental tranquility of the occupant(e.g. foul odor, smoke, shadow, sound, temperature) are TORTS-civil wrongs redressed by monetary damages or injunctions.

FIRST, I am not against Wind or Solar Energy.  But more so, my argument is WHERE they are placed, especially WIND FARMS.  

FARMS.  This word is over-abused. FARM Fresh. FARM to fork. FARM raised are just a few…this new hip language to give some folks that WARM FUZZY feeling. You would think that wind ‘FARMS’ grow from seeds, need NO maintenance, and last forever being CLEAN, GREEN, and FREE. How incomplete.

SECOND,  Like most NIMBY’s when we buy a piece of property it is done with a set of laws in place (‘home rule’) relative to the local area land use in an agricultural zone. Many of us paid a price based on the market’s perceived value given the “PERMITTED USES” and its impact on lifestyle, view, etc. Those rules were established by the local county zoning ordinances.  

Now, it seems when a large out of state company comes in and wants to  “change those rules”-say by overlaying an industrial zone on top of an agricultural zone, the end result is to steal our property values and the owners right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their land without fair compensation. Say a private company like Walmart convinces the local authorities that yet we need a bigger box store for the greater good and ‘public use’ so they attempt to seize your property and that of your neighbors via eminent domain, if you chose to fight, doubtful anyone would accuse you of being selfish. If a regulated public utility needed my land for say, TRANSMISSION towers, or a electrical substation ‘for the great good of the state’ and it was approved by the powers that be, that they may exercise their right of eminent domain and there’s not much I can do about it- and I do agree that we need such things, they have to go somewhere. I can still negotiate for a fair market value of my condemned property. I may not like it and grieve the intangible loss, but at least I have not suffered a tangible financial loss.

Wind Developers, however, are not regulated public utilities.  These are PRIVATE companies, usually out of state (CA) making secret deals with farmers/LAND OWNERS to control tens of thousands of acres then pressuring the local government to change the rules in the developers favor.  Take at look at what they did in SD, they drank the developers Kool-Aid and combined all land, wind, mineral rights so there is no wiggle room for a road block.   Remember their is major money involved, and they pay as little as possible to the actual land owners where these turbines are placed. They first contact the largest landowners with “personal invite” /supper to an informational meeting, or call them on the phone.  In my opinion, wind developers act like the door to door unscrupulous carpetbaggers of the olden days, manipulating whoever they need to gain the land and wind access they need.  They also side with local politics (bribing officials with PILOT=payout in Lieu of Taxes- essentially a redistribution of taxpayer money via subsidies they receive, for which county officials can take credit as being used for schools, parks, fire departments etc.)

Wind Developers exploit the wind ignorance of rural America. They do this for personal gain. They have a tactic to all this Wild West madness, they are roping the wind. They look at a plat book(a book who has the landowners names in them on what parcel they own). Then, invite them for dinner and try to befriend you. They contact the absentee landowners, (ie perhaps a little old lady who own large farms after their husband/parents pass away) to sign unconscionable one-sided legal contracts by lying and saying ‘ your neighbors have already signed and you will be hurting them if you don’t.’  In some areas, it becomes a tipping point that one farmer says, well if they are putting one up and I have to look at it, I might as well be making my fair share of the money.  At $8k/turbine/year (which is worth less than an acre of productive farmland in our area), ask yourself…Really??? Is it worth giving up my land rights that I or my father, and his father before me worked SO hard to purchase in the first place? Because that is EXACTLY what you are doing.

Land is our largest asset, 120 acres is worth more than 1million dollars and they want access to that for a measly 8k and we have to deal with farming around them; they want a piece of our asset by simply signing of a lease. A lease? This is not ‘a lease’ this is way more than that; remember they cannot build a turbine without OUR land or OUR wind rights. Take your millions and go BUY your own INDUSTRIAL PARK.  Don’t take our productive farmland.

THIRD, I don’t see why my rural american neighbors should be forced to live in an industrial zone and risk suffering a potential loss of property rights and value, for the benefit of everyone else (especially the wind developers) and at no cost to them.

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Now let’s assume the ‘new development’ is a the creation or expansion of an industrial park.  The entire area would be zoned ‘industrial’ and no one would be expected to, or EVEN ALLOWED, to live within it. Correct?  Residential property owners would be bought out presumably at fair market value, and suffer no loss.  The project cost would increase by the amount of the buy-outs and passed onto the companies in the park and the taxpayers, because the business model will support the cost, and everyone is sharing some of the pain.  

However, large scale wind farms will need thousands of acres (120 acres per turbines, ie over 100 larger than the statue of liberty). These spinning turbine FARMS need around 2 townships of land… which is “productive farmland” which we now have to farm around and split up our section of land. (a turbine takes away 3 acres of productive land). My friends in rural areas are expected to continue to live inside this NEW INDUSTRIAL ZONE!  AND without being compensated for the reduced value of their property, let alone the effect it will have on their lives. (trust me when I say I walk soybean fields under these, and they are scarey and make me dizzy from the blade flicker). Here is an example a few miles across our MN border.

 

The Wind Energy Business model cannot stand on its own. They need #1 LAND and WIND RIGHTS. If they wind developers were similarly required to BUY OUT everyone who doesn’t want to live in the industrial zone(call it what it is) at fair market value before the development, and that cost was added to the new development, imagine what the real cost of wind-generated electricity would be…. I suggest they make an industrial park, buy some land and place them there, place them in rows, not scattered across OUR very productive ground…because our AG zoned land is also worth millions; and it actually is called a FARM, because WE produce on what is correctly zoned Agricultural land.  When we HARVEST, I prefer not to have our GPS go out because of YOUR turbine is disrupting my signal to plant or harvest our crop. Yes, FARMING is very technical and we are not a bunch of hill billies out here, our tractors are worth more than your CEO’s fancy car. 

No one is planting or ‘harvesting’ the wind.  The wind over our land is OUR WIND. This Turbine metal structure with concrete they propose to put on our counties land will  destroy what we, and our fathers before works so hard to maintain. Soil structure for producing grain is compromised, pattern tile to properly drain our crops, are just a few investments we have in this LAND, and this Turbine is NOT a piece of FARM equipment or FARM structure.  As a matter of speaking, by signing you cannot build anything on your land within a certain about of feet around this turbine…your land rights are gone. If you want to HUNT? Sorry…they took away your gun rights also, because you have to call them to get permission 10 days before if you plan to hunt on your land….is that messing with my constitutional right now? MS. LIBERTY… this turbine business is casting a flicker shadow on you.  

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Don’t let greed take over you. I know we don’t have the best commodity prices and they also know this. Don’t become weak. This is not a lease, this is a contract taking away your land rights and your neighbors wind rights for 30 plus years. Think back 30 years ago, when land was worth less. Now do the math. Where we are today, in the most productive land in southern MN, our land in 30 years could be worth 80-100k per acre..and as farmers get bigger, having land without turbines will be more attractive for efficiency. I travel MN and see land without turbines sell for more, and faster because they are called “bare land” sales, i.e. No turbine, no third party to deal with and trust me lenders like that also, realize your land now has a CA company with an asset on it, and who knows who will own that turbine in 20 years.  Don’t let these companies bully rural America. Read the contracts, do your homework, math and stay educated…most of all talk to your neighbors, because we need to stick together as NIMBYs.

Rural MN NIMBY, 

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Ettes time to educate.

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MN HOUSE BILL 2170 

www.we-careSD.org

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www.coalitionforruralpropertyrights.com 

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