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Wind contract binds regretful farmland owner  

Credit:  By Sue McGinn, Tampico, www.saukvalley.com 9 September 2011 ~~

When you sign a 20- to 30-year contract to have a wind turbine on your property, you may be signing away many rights you’re unaware of. A confidentiality agreement in the contract may mean legal action can be taken against you if you complain publicly. A Fond du Lac, Wis., farmer signed away his rights.

These are excerpts from a full-page ad in the Chilton (Wis.) Times-Journal, Oct. 25, 2007, as told to Don Bangart, who wrote the following on behalf of the farmer.

“As I view this year’s crops, my eyes feast on a most bountiful supply of corn and soybeans. And then my eyes focus again on the trenches and road scars leading to the turbine foundations. What have I done?”

In 2003, the energy company made first contact with a $2,000 “incentive.” In 2004 or 2005, he signed a $4,000 turbine contract allowing them to lease his land for their needs. The lease favored the company, but he didn’t realize it.

He watched them tear 22-foot-wide roads into his fields. Later, a 4-foot-deep-by-2-foot wide trench was started diagonally across his field, eventually making what was one large field into four smaller, irregularly shaped plots. The company placed roads and trenches where they would benefit it most, not the landowner. Costly tiling installed to improve drainage was cut into pieces.

The farmers were told to stay away from the work sites. Once, when he approached a crew putting in lines where they promised they would not go, a representative told him he could not be there.

There are now huge divisions between old friends and, yes, relatives. He and others tried to get out of the contracts, but they were binding.

Bangart said, “Please do not do what I have done.”

Source:  By Sue McGinn, Tampico, www.saukvalley.com 9 September 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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