No one is more of a believer in private property rights than yours truly, but when a property owner does something, or attempts to do something, that affects the very definition of my property rights and the value of said property that I own and pay taxes on, I then feel that I have every right to object.
It is completely understandable that landowners are mesmerized by the power of the almighty dollar when Wind Company X offers large compensation for permission to place a few wind turbines on their property, and all the landowner has to do is sign a piece of paper, put their feet up, turn on the TV and check the mailbox.
Sort of similar to having gas and oil wells pumping away, but there are some differences.
The oil and gas business is quite probably one of the heaviest regulated industries in the world, and is required by law to ante up to the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) to fund the reclamation of old and abandoned well sights around the state, some that have been around since the early 1900’s.
Meanwhile, there is comparatively little regulation on the wind power industry, most likely because it is seen as a “green” energy source with supposedly little impact on the environment, which makes it a favorite of the current White House and all of the dirt-munching, tree-hugging druids that infest this planet.
As far as I can ascertain, all of these wind turbine outfits are currently being subsidized by the federal government, and some are receiving multiple tax credits and subsidies. This all means that you and I are paying these companies to erect these turbines, and then we are being charged more by the electric companies to help pay for their wonderful little projects.
In other words, we are being taxed to build the turbines, and then billed for the wind blowing…in Oklahoma???
Ethically challenging in its concept, yet genius in its implementation. And what happens when the government subsidy stops?
Does Wind Company X get to walk away with their wallets full, and a not-to-heart-felt “sorry old chum, but those rusting white elephants are your problem now” to the public?
Well at least for now, yes.
There is nothing in the law that I can find requiring Wind Company X to remove their equipment when the time comes, which could mean hundreds of dumbfounded landowners wondering what to do next when the checks and the fans stop. Who will be required to pay what surely will be millions of dollars for removal of abandoned wind turbines? The taxpayers?
I believe that if these companies were forced by state or federal law into being responsible for the removal of the turbines at the end of their contract, or if there were no taxpayer subsidies, there most likely would never be another wind turbine erected in the state.
In reality, true free market forces would, even in the case of hundreds of massed wind turbines creating electricity for public use, allow the concept to stand or fall on its own merits without taxpayer funded subsidies if it was honestly a good idea.
“Oh they will never stop the subsidies” you say? Well think again!
It was recently reported that several members of Congress are going to take up discussion of some legislation that would cease taxpayer provided subsidies on a laundry list of Items, including wind power, in an effort to reduce government spending. Personally, I’m hoping that not a whole lot of these taxpayer funded money pits survive.
I’m also curious if most landowners are actually reading the fine print, and if they realize the amount of control that they are actually losing when they sign on to this boondoggle? Do they understand the burden that they put on their neighbors by drastically reducing everyone’s property values since it will become increasingly more difficult to sell property, especially homes, within sight distance of these turbines?
This is not to mention reports I have heard on everything from danger to bird populations, to astronomical maintenance costs, to only operating between certain wind speeds- too low and they use more power than they make, too high and they have the come apart.
If you think I am exaggerating, do some checking on your own.
I do not begrudge the folks who work in the wind power industry a job, but I already support tens of thousands of government employees with my taxes. Nor do I object to the “windfall” that will go to the schools which is generated by the placement of these turbines, yet even now there is debate as to whether any taxes will actually be received.
My guess is that somehow the taxpayers will be required, once again, to dig deep into their pockets so tax credits can be doled out, and you and I will be forced to suck it up and subsidize the wind blowing…in Oklahoma.