• HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner1-5
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner2
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner3
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner4
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner5
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner6
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner7

Local group organized to oppose wind farm production in Piedmont

Roger Pugh
publisher@piedmontnewsonline.com

A group has organized and is getting its own wind under its sails to oppose construction of large commercial wind farms near developed areas in the area.

Although large wind turbines for wind farm projects inside Piedmont city limits have been disallowed by the city, major wind projects are underway or being proposed just outside Piedmont and Okarche city limits and near other nearby communities.

Among those opposing these projects is a new group called Oklahomans For Responsible Wind Energy (OFRWE).

Simply put, the group says it does not oppose wind energy, but does not want to see large commercial wind projects going up in the county near developed areas or areas ripe for development.

“The growth sector in Canadian County is on the east side of the county and these big projects will hurt that growth,” said OFRWE spokesperson Pam Suttles of Piedmont.

“We would like to see no wind farm east of Highway 81,” Suttles explained.

Apex Energy has already constructed a Canadian County wind farm which spans from just north of Calumet and continues north for several miles to just past Waterloo Road.

Around 135 wind turbines comprise that project.

Apex is now working to get its next project started in Kingfisher County, just northwest of the Piedmont city limits.

It will span east and northeast to near the northeast edge of Okarche.
Some 120 wind turbines are planned for this project on 15,000 acres.
Initially, 16 turbines for this project were planned on property inside the Piedmont city limits.

However, city officials later nixed the turbines inside the city, but Piedmont, like other affected cities and towns, has no control on turbines located outside the respective boundaries of those communities.

Several landowners slated to have a turbine placed on their land inside the Piedmont city limits are asking to be de-annexed out of the city limits now that the city has said no to large wind turbines inside Piedmont.

Apex is reportedly now planning another project in the county just south of Piedmont from Wilshire north to the Northwest Expressway.
One source said it will be bounded on the West by Richland Road and S.H. 81 on the eastern side.

Apex indicates it is looking at a project in that area, but Apex Development Manager Kent Dougherty said at the time he was contacted for this news story he was not sure of what north-south section line roads represented the west-east boundary.

A land owner with property in the western portion of the reported area said he has already leased land to Apex for this project.
“There is a lot of development, especially on the east side of that project and their views will now be of 400-foot tall turbines,” Suttles said.

Suttles said her group believes there are health and safety issues that accompany the wind projects, and there are no health and safety regulations at the state or county level to ensure the health and safety of those residing near the large turbines.

She also said her research shows that property values tumble on property near these projects.

Suttles also said she does not believe that the projects provide much long-term economic value for the area in which they are located.

“School districts will see some benefit, although I question the amounts Apex says our local schools will get from these projects,” Suttles said.

“Other than maybe some increase in local sales tax revenues while construction is going on, the cities and towns will get nothing once the turbines are built,” she argues.

She also maintains that whatever increase in revenue the wind farms might provide the schools, that gain could be offset by lower overall tax revenue because of decreased property values she believes the wind farms will cause.

Canadian County Commissioners are now looking at the possibility of creating a County Planning Commission to oversee zoning and other development regulations in unincorporated areas of the county, including possible regulations for wind turbine placement in those areas.

A county-wide election would need to be called to enact county zoning regulations in Canadian County.

Suttles said as word spreads about the wind farms, interest in her group expands.

“At the start, it was mostly people from Piedmont and some from Okarche, but now we have started getting a lot of people from in and around Yukon,” Suttles said.

8 Comments

  1. Cecil Bearden says:

    The community was up in arms a few years ago about location of the transmission line for wind energy. Now that landowners in the “community approved” path of the line attempt to recoup some of the production loss from the construction of the power line, the same “community” does not approve of the location of wind generators next to the Wind Energy Power Line.
    A wind farm is not a risk to life, nor does it create an odor, it may create some noise, but so does the additional traffic of a housing development. It does not require additional roads, schools, water, sewer, or stormwater runoff. I would much rather look at a wind farm than a housing development, but to some individuals it is an eyesore. Would it still be an eyesore if that person was receiving a $4k/yr payment for each one of those turbines?
    Due to the confidentiality of the wind energy contracts, we will never know their real amounts. Data from Windustry.org stated in 2005 Ok’s rate was an average of $4000/turbine/yr. With a spacing of 1 turbine /qtr, this amounts to $4K/yr income to the landowner. While there would be some loss of production due to access roads, the land still could be used for farm production.
    I offer a solution to those of you opposed to wind production. A Conservation Easement. This easement allows a community to buy a property to prevent its development, and by covenant require it to remain in agricultural production in spite of development pressure. The value paid to the landowner is what he would realize if the land was developed. In the case of development this is somewhat difficult to predict due to economic factors. However with the nationwide production & distribution of energy, the wind energy contract is the value of the easement.
    This conservation easement, if used to prevent building downstream of the SCS floodwater retarding structures would have saved the taxpayers over 12 million dollars in Canadian County alone. As floodplain board chair I tried to get this done, but the developers had too much clout.
    I would suggest those who are against the wind farm form an assessment district to collect additional monies at tax time and deposit it in an account to pay those landowners who were prevented from contracting for turbines. Apex has proposed to build 120 turbines. At $4K/turbine this would amount to $480K or more if a denser spacing was determined to be efficient. If we divide this amount over 1000 households in the Piedmont area opposed to the wind farm, it would only be approximately $480/yr in addition to taxes.
    Tax deductibility would have to be determined. Are these individuals ready to commit to paying their neighbors over $40/month for the next 50 years because they do not want to look at a wind turbine? Is that country view worth another $40/month?
    Personally, I am not able to realize any benefit to the Wind Energy power line, the community raised a fuss and OG&E relocated the original line that was to cross part of my land diagonally. The income from that easement would have allowed me to enjoy my retirement, but due the “new inhabitants” of the county not wanting to see a power line, I will be working forever. Due to the influx of these “new inhabitants” my taxes have tripled the over the last 10 years so they could have new schools for their children and paved roads so that their 4wd SUV’s won’t get dirty on our old shale roads. I receive no benefit from those schools, and I have to rebuild our trucks more often due to the potholes in that rough asphalt. The shale required only minimal maintenance and didn’t wear out our tractor tires. Our Tractor tires wear out twice as fast on that asphalt. At least once a week I am nearly run down by a speeding SUV headed to school while the driver has a phone stuck in her ear. Due to the housing developments in this area, we cannot have aerial spraying performed. We lose some of the crop to our wheel tracks from the ground sprayers we must now use to prevent drift onto smaller tracts. With Higher costs of fuel, feed, tires, equipment, & every other input required in farming and livestock production, the landowner must act on every option available, or quit. During the summer of 2008, one of our local farmers was contacted by the Piedmont Police because a “new inhabitant” complained he was creating too much dust while disking his wheat field in order to get his land ready for planting.
    In closing I would like to say that while the county welcomes new development, the “new inhabitants” need to realize their change to the environment comes with a price that we established landowners are tired of paying. If that country view means so much to them, then let them pay for it or let us attempt to make a living from our land in peace. Either reimburse us for the loss of income or buy us out.

  2. Michael says:

    Has anyone of you been to a wind farm? People get online and read stories from disgruntled land owners who turned down offers from wind companies. They are disgruntled because they wanted more money then the landowner across the street and in the end got nothing cause the turbine went up across the street

    Wind energy gives back to the city, the schools, and puts money in the bank of lucky landowners. Would you rather wait on lottery money to help your schools, or do you ever expect oil companies to give back to the community? Go ask a principal of a school that benefits from the extra revenue, ask a landowner where he spends the extra money, track the tax dollars to the local community.

    Talk about noise, once again I say visit a wind farm. You will notice the sounds of cows in the pasture, before you even before you strain to hear the sound of a wind turbine. The sound of traffics

  3. Richard Jones says:

    JT and MIchael – My friends,
    I am one who is opposed the installation of these massive wind turbines, and after you hear of our situation, perhaps you will understand why. Its likely that you would even feel the same way, though I do not wish it upon you and your families to find out first hand.
    My wife and I grew up here. Three years ago, we bought a 100yr old farmhouse on five acres and continued its restoration (it is an ongoing project 🙂 ). We have built a facility for our business and, all said, have invested about $150K in improvements, fencing, and outbuildings over the purchase price of the property. My neighbor seems to own all of the land around us, and our little slice of paradise is now located squarely in the middle of the Canadian County portion of the Kingfisher Industrial Wind Turbine project. We did not see this on the horizon when we bought our place, and would not have bought here if we had.
    The federal set-back for these turbines is 1200 feet from a house – not the property line – our house. I fully expect multiples of them on all four sides of our property, as my neighbor likes wind turbines so much that his family is petitioning for de-annexation. Though not really brought up in news stories, they own plenty of land both inside and outside of the city limits, so it is not a question of if they will have turbines, merely one of how many. The land on all four sides of us is outside the city limits, so the writing is on the wall.
    I have been to the Calumet wind farm – both during the day, and at night, when they were operational, and before they came online. I have seen how tightly Apex can pack these wind turbines, have heard them, and felt them in my chest. It is a constant pulsing white noise sound. The night we were there, the frequency was about one pulse per second at wind speeds of about 12mph. As I am sure you would have, knowing what was coming, I had to go see and experience it for myself in order to try and come to grips with what is apparently in our future.
    Putting all “green energy” arguments for, and “ruining the view” arguments against, to the side, I am opposed to this project because it will destroy my property value. Plain and simple. The direct actions of my neighbor on all sides will grossly devalue my property, and thus, have a negative impact on my property rights. This is not a case of having to look at them from two miles away. Once there are four hundred foot tall industrial wind turbines on all four sides of us at a range of 1201 feet, we will not be able to sell for anything near what we owe, and so will be forced by economics to stay here surrounded by the constant hum, pulse, and shadow-flicker of both morning and evening sunlight that our neighbor has willfully chosen to so graciously bestow upon us, without having the honor to first come meet me face to face. I would advise him not to now.
    Our business is a unique one. I have no idea of the impact all of this will have on our “inventory”, but it could well put our finally flourishing dream out of business. There is no real way to know until they are installed. From a purely personal finance standpoint, this will ruin us. From a business standpoint, it could possibly ruin us. The former is apparently inevitable, and the latter is not a gamble that I am willing to take, and neither should rightfully be forced upon us. I am quite certain that reasonable, healthily-opinionated individuals such as yourselves would feel exactly the same way, and do exactly the same things if you found yourselves facing the wholesale devaluation of your property and the potential of watching you and your spouse’s dreams fall apart through no action of your own. We are not that different. As I am sure we will all agree, each is entitled to his or her own academic opinion, and I do not begrudge you yours.
    I just felt compelled to give you the real-life basis for mine.

  4. JT says:

    Richard,

    I read an article in the other paper this evening that quoted Mrs. Suttles. She stated her goal was to prevent any wind turbine from being constructed EAST of US 81. That is ridiculous. She has no right telling all those people what they can and cannot build on their property.

    You say you have spent $150k on your property above the puchase price. I have trouble understanding how you’re not upside down on a 100 year old house allready.

    If you can show the actions of your neighbor damage cause harm to your business through environmental means such as light and sound, then you might have a good reason to sue for damages in court. Perhaps you should consult a lawyer.

    You also have the option to sell now and cut your loses.

    I still don’t think it is right to stop an entire project just because of your objections.

  5. Richard Jones says:

    JT,

    Thank you for your kind response. I respect and appreciate the fact that you do not wish to argue as to whether or not a portion of our property value will be taken. As both of us know that it will, I am thankful for your intellectual honesty in this matter.

    It is a fairly large old farmhouse, is about 95% restored, and sits on five level acres with wells, good soil, and municipal water. The location was an excellent one for our type of business. Our business facility is state of the art, climate controlled, and of roughly the same size as the house. The fence is wire-topped 6′ industrial chain link, and there is a lot of it. As this is a business location, we had no intention of relocating, so were not worried about being “upside down”. The improvements are business-related, and thus, a business investment.

    If I am able to prove damages after the fact, we will still not be able to continue our work, as the condition that caused the damages will continue to exist. It is really not about punishing someone else (though true punitive damages are unlikely), it is about being able to continue to do what we do.

    Why should I have to “cut” losses put upon me by someone else? What person has the right to bestow those losses upon another equal person against their will? While I can barely tolerate the government taking from me, why should I be forced to tolerate another person trying to do the same? As we all learned in childhood, it is wrong to take that which does not belong to you – no matter what it is, or how you do it.

    If my neighbor and his friends (none of whom have ever contacted us) would like to make us an offer on the property, we would honorably consider it, and if found lacking, they could petition the courts for Eminent Domain. At a high level, Under Kelo vs. City of New London, the government can force the transfer of property from one private party to another at a fair price, if it can be proven that the government will benefit from the results of the transaction. This effectively removes the role of “Taker” from the agressing party, and places it on the government. While not palatable to those being taken from, it is at least just (according to the courts). One private party simply deciding to take from another is not only unpalatable, but also unjust.

    My Friend, in theory, the size of the project is irrelevant, and in reality, my “objections” to our life becoming collateral damage are called “Property Rights”.

  6. JT says:

    Richard,

    I have no idea if your property values will be affected. The problem with that arguement is that you can find as many studies that say it has no effect as you can find that say it does have some effect.

    It doesn’t matter if it is your personal residence or your business property; if you owe more than it’s worth you’re still “upside down”. If the business has a market and makes a good profit then obviously the value of the property would increase and become worth more than the initial investment. However, I do have substantial doubt that you could sell your property and break even or make a profit even if a wind farm wasn’t going to be built. You haven’t said what your unnamed business is so how am I to know.

    I will assume for the purposes of our discussion that your business is currently making a profit and that the construction of the turbines will immediately destroy it and put you out of business.

    What exactly would the turbines do that would cause that? Again if you can prove that they have caused damage then they would be liable for the cost of those damages AND the loss of income. They would indeed be violating your property rights by depriving you of the right to earn income from your property on which your business is located.

    I think we probably agree on the property rights issue part. The problem is I have a hard time separating the truth from the hysteria about the property values. You also haven’t said what your business is so I don’t know if what you say is true.

  7. Richard Jones says:

    Well, so much for Intellectual Honesty, and since “Respect” and “Appreciate” were part of the deal, they must have just gone right out the window as well.
    OK Then.

    JT,

    My entire initial post was specifically about the taking of our property value using giant industrial wind turbines. It really hasn’t been that long ago. Your advice to me went something like “You also have the option to sell now and cut your loses.” No…Wait…That is exactly what you said, down to the misspelling of the very last word. Of course, what you obviously meant to say was “your losses”, which clearly demonstrates that you fully acknowledge that we will experience a loss. You don’t truly believe that Apex propaganda crap that you parrot enough to even spell it correctly.
    Freud. Table for two please.

    Let me try to help you out a bit. In a debate, you cannot simply “un-cede” that which you have already ceded. I mean, you can try, but plugging your fingers into your ears, slamming your eyes shut, and shouting “NA NA NA NA NA” continuously after such a rhetorical shellacking, is an extremely risky rebuttal tactic.

    We are done here.

    Wait, two last things – We are a 501(c)(3), and get your fingers out of your ears. Jeez.

  8. JT says:

    How did I disrespect you? Yes I did say you could cut your losses with respect to your statement that you said you would experience losses. It was simply an acknowledgment that if you think you will experience losses, then you should sell out now and relocate. You understood this to mean that I agreed with you. Obviously I do not.

    So far you have made a very weak and ineffective argument as to how exactly your property values would be affected. You simply say it will destroy and devalue your property.

    You write several times that you have a business. You used the word business at least 4 times. You won’t say what product it produces or what service it provides. Simply something about climate controlled buildings and a 6′ chain link fence. Then you write that it is a 501(c)(3). Then you lecture me about intellectual honesty. What an absurd idea. A business that makes no profit is a charity or a hobby. Why would you be concerned with the value of anything if you don’t intend to make any money?

    Furthermore, I don’t “parrot” any “Apex propaganda crap”. Also please sir don’t tell me what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’ve never even spoken to anyone from that company.

    People are running around in fits of hysteria right now ranting and raving about how their property will be devalued. They seek to stop the actions of a private company and private landowners who they say are acting like bullies and thieves. Apparently you agree with them. Perhaps even with the ridiculous position that it should be illegal to place wind turbines on something like 200 square miles of privately owned property. I simply disagree with these people.

    Have fun running your mystery “non-profit” business.

© 2012-2017 piedmontnewsonline.com All Rights Reserved