Seek wise counsel BEFORE signing w BigWind

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Thank you, to this attorney, who recognizes that people are being taken advantage of by BigWind.  This industry is allowed to go door-to-door and persuade individuals to sign away their rights. Rights to land ownership, health, privacy etc…

I marvel how many South Dakota landowners sign a wind turbine agreement or an oil and gas lease without the benefit of good counsel. I have seen the end product. It is not pretty. Though we are taught about the seven deadly sins of this world also called the seven cardinal sins or capital sins, yet a wind turbine agreement may contain an even greater smorgasbord of “contract sins” all of which should be discovered, remedied and purged by any negotiating landowner before entering into a long term land use agreement. I will in this opinion piece visit a few contract issues….

 

A particular contract term used by wind farm developers is the confidentiality agreement. This stratagem requires landowners sign a confidentiality agreement often before even seeing a form lease. The clause attempts to give a developer an advantage over landowners by prohibiting the sharing of information among landowners. Such a “gag” provision is also found in a final executed wind lease in order to protect the contract terms from disclosure. A confidentiality clause makes it a bit more challenging to determine what the regional “market” payment terms really are for a given project. And in turn the clause hinders a landowner’s ability to knowingly negotiate terms which are fair for a particular project in that particular market. The absence of market knowledge gives a competitive advantage to project developers….

I will list some important terms found in a wind turbine agreement. This is a sobering list, and should motivate the landowner to seek the exact parameters for each term. Common agreements contain: a construction and land use option all in favor of the developer; an access easement to cross and use one’s property; the right to construct roads; the right to construct large turbines on one’s land; the right to construct underground and above-ground transmission lines and substations; and terms that bind on one’s heirs or any subsequent purchasers of the land. As in a courtship, pretty pictures painted, verbal promises and solid verbal commitments between the landowner and developer mean nothing once an agreement is signed.

Some wind turbine agreements are called easements, some leases, some something else. It matters not. These babies are a binding, long-term land contract. Or, as young people say, a wind turbine agreement is a land contract with benefits. Be not dissuaded by the good money offered. While an agreement often presents itself as if it were a lease – an agreement is considerably more than a lease. A wind turbine agreement is a binding commitment of the landowner allowing the developer the right to broad use of the landowner’s property. The “right-to-use” language often has ambiguous or liberal terms subject to interpretation. I suggest one leave as little to interpretation as possible. A wind turbine agreement is a business marriage with all its serious consequences. Let me provide an example of language found in an agreement: ‘The final decision concerning the placement of any wind turbine equipment remains in the sole discretion of the developer.’ This term sets no limits as to duration, quantity or type of equipment. The term is unrestricted. A written wind energy agreement is the very Constitution of the land use relationship. It has many other consequences not here discussed including a legal liability issue and several tax questions. If in fact a landowner is interested in entering into a wind turbine agreement in the first place, a tax and legal analysis is essential. Ben Franklin said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. A landowner should invest money to make money AND to protect property.

David Ganje of Ganje Law Offices practices in the area of natural resources, environmental and commercial law. Mr. Ganje wishes to thank his law clerk Jordan Vogel for his assistance.

Link to original article

Ohio Mayor shares the realities of BigWind in Van Wert, Ohio

BigWind does NOT generate a windfall for the communities in which it resides and Van Wert is no exception. BigWind avoids paying tax, thanks to the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that they INSIST each community accepts.  Additionally, they are given dozens of other incentives/subsidies to bully their way into a community.  BigWind is a plague on our grid and it will increase our electricity rates.  Let us say thank you to this mayor for stating some hard facts and numbers, so the public can see the truth.  Unfortunately, our legislators are being told another, completely different story from the BigWind lobbyists. Senator Cliff Hite is a perfect example, as he appears to do everything he can to pave the way for more BigWind in Ohio.  Please share these truths with YOUR legislator…because most are drinking the BigWind koolaid….

By Jerry Mazur

This has been a week filled with misquotes, misunderstandings, and personal attacks. I think the full moon stimulated some strange thinking in a few of the uninformed or misinformed among us.

Recently, in a discussion, I made reference to the number of people needed to work in Van Wert to generate an additional $530,000 of income tax. This is approximately the dollar amount of the State’s government funding that Van Wert received annually from Columbus. This was prior to the dollars being reallocated to the State’s budget seven or so years ago. This government funding (our money) being sent back to us was a major infusion for our General Fund.

To get back to the point of my discussion, I used Federal Mogul as a data point due to the number of people working there who are paying City income tax. My statement was that “it would take about two companies the size of Federal Mogul with approximately the same number of employees to fill the gap that the shortfall in government funding created.” I went on to say, “or maybe one company the size of Eaton.”

My point to all this was, while we are aggressively seeking new businesses and jobs to come to Van Wert, it will take years and all the blessings available to us to see the fruits of our labor. In the interim, we must make the decision to step to the plate and vote yes to the .28 tax increase proposal.

I received a Facebook posting from Mr. or Ms. HTW, also known as misinformed. He or she stated that the Blue Creek Wind Farm was adding about $6,000,000 to the local economy and that tIn the interim, we must make the decision to step to the plate and vote yes to the .28 tax increase proposal.he City should forget the 0.28 tax and explore wind farms as a source of revenue.

Well, let me set the record straight. According to the County Auditor’s Office, several schools, some townships, some property owners, and the County government have received payments from wind energy. However, in searching the financial records with City Auditor Martha Balyeat, we find no direct wind energy contributions being made to the City of Van Wert. To that I say, Mr. or Ms. HTW, we’re still looking for our portion of the $6,000,000 you boasted about in your Facebook posting.

If by chance you’re speaking to the guy who signs the checks at Blue Creek Wind Farm, please have him send a check in the amount of $531,000 to Martha Balyeat, Auditor, 515 E. Main St., Van Wert, Ohio 45891, and mark it General Fund Contribution. By the way, we’re going to need this amount year over year. Thank you.

To all reasonable thinkers out there, please don’t hold your breath. I think it’s going to be some time before we see either Mr. or Ms. HTW or Blue Creek Wind Farm coming up with the cash. In the meantime, we must go to the polls and say yes to the modest .28 tax question. Consider this: if you are earning $50,000 dollars a year, you would be asked to pay an additional $2.69 cents per week. If you have no earned income, such as being on retirement, Social Security, or receiving no earned income, you will not be paying additional tax. And yes, I am asking the seniors to get out and vote. It is important to you, your children, and your grandchildren. We must keep City services funded for the good of the order.

With regard to the economic windfall created by the wind farms, we have looked at the hotel/motel tax that is paid to the City. Yes, there has been an increase in these tax dollars. This tax was greatly stimulated by the addition of the new Holiday Inn Express and a modest amount attributed to the wind farm construction crews with overnight stays. On the other hand, construction crews typically rent by the month and are not subject to this tax. Therefore, this is not a great source of economic impact to the City. The crews do spend dollars in our stores and restaurants and do pay sales tax. These taxes go to the County.

As mayor of Van Wert, I have and will continue to maintain a neutral position regarding additional wind farms. It is my opinion that this should be decided by the voters in those districts which will be impacted by them. I would say, however, that I would be concerned if the wind farms were to consume potential housing development areas around the City. I have concerns about setback requirements choking off housing developments. Housing will very much be in demand should we be successful in attracting new companies and jobs to our area. This is a long-term outlook, but my experience tells me that we must have available housing areas in order to make us attractive to interested companies. In addition, if the turbines use up all of the land and create set back situations, we will be unable to provide much needed space to future industry which would directly feed dollars into the City of Van Wert….


In closing, Sir, it is not my nature to look down on or treat people poorly. I am a blue collar worker such as yourself. I have worked my entire lifetime building my personal character and staunch life-long relationships. I have great respect for the people of Van Wert and thank them for allowing me to serve as their mayor.

Early voting has started, so please step up to the plate for the .28 tax increase proposal.

Source: Mayor responds to comments – Times Bulletin

Ohio should revise BigWind law to pay for home DEvaluation, like New York just did!

Mathew McConaughey said it best, “alright, alright, alright”!  Look at the setbacks, along with the protections to a village and property owners. Apex, however, is cringing at these changes and they do NOT want to see them repeat here, in Ohio. We can dream, though…

The Somerset Town Board approved a local law Wednesday amending the zoning code regarding commercial and industrial wind energy conversion systems, like the one being proposed in Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project.

Under the revised law, no commercial or industrial wind conversion system can be placed within 1,500 feet of any residential district boundary line or the town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Setback requirements now mandate that any wind turbines constructed in the town would have to be at least twice their height in distance from any property line or building. That excludes adjacent property lines of project participants. The law also requires any turbines be set back 1,500 feet or two times the turbine’s height from any public road or highway, and 2,000 feet from any residence or other commercial or industrial turbines. Turbines may not be within a half-mile of the boundary of the village of Barker.

The law has an amendment which requires a turbine’s owner to reimburse residents within two miles of each turbine if they see their property values decline as a result of proximity to the turbine…

Source: Somerset amends wind energy zoning law  | Local News | lockportjournal.com

Ohio wind sites now ‘on hold’ now

Does anyone else think this article is coincidental to appear the day after a front page article which covered the Democratic governor candidates opposition to SB 310 and HB 483? The Lima News is showing preferential support of a Democratic candidate and our media should not be doing this. Anyway, this article makes us want to start playing violin. Should we feel sorry for them? NO! There is absolutely nothing that stops these companies from negotiating new contracts with their leaseholders, which allows them to ignore the setback on their own property. The new Ohio setbacks are much more in line, but still much smaller than many worldwide setbacks.  Setbacks are meant to protect the people of Ohio, not big business.  As more of these machines encroach on our communities, it is just a matter of time before a blade shear becomes life/property threatening. It was only a couple of short years ago, when the Iberdrola blade sheared in Van Wert and pieces flew over 750 feet away!  This reminds me of the arguments against smoking in public places. Even though you may not become ill with lung cancer, you cannot deny the existence.  BigWind has been denying the risks associated with their massive machines. Machines that continue to grow larger and larger every year…. 

Changing topics, it is very unfortunate that Putnam county has become a renewable energy zone. Why? They will have absolutely no power to say no to BigWind, if developments come. Van Wert, after experiencing 1 wind site, chose to rescind their AEZ.  Why don’t some learn from the mistakes of others?….

A pair of possible wind farm projects are “on hold” after a pair of legislative actions changed the rules on renewable energy.Iberdrola Renewables has put its Dog Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert and its Leipsic Wind Farm in Putnam County on hold, citing changes to the “setback” rules...

On Tuesday, the Putnam County commissioners still passed a resolution designating the county as an alternative energy zone to show its support.

 

“The Board is willing to provide real and tangible personal property tax exemption to support the development of alternative energy generation facilities, provided the appropriate service payments are made,” according to the resolution.

 

The Dog Creek Wind Farm called for 50 wind turbines. The new rules would’ve left room for only seven. The Leipsic project called for 75 turbines, but the new rules would’ve only allowed three.

 

“It’s not just about the money to lease the acreage,” Litchfield said. “Both projects would need about 50 percent more acreage for adjacent properties. … But some people just don’t want to lease their land, for any number of reasons.”…

via Two wind farms in area now on hold –.

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