E Pluribus Unum. The translation of the Greek term means, “Out of many, one. Another definition is “One out of many.” The second definition defines the plight of the many landowners and neighbors who will not benefit from the proliferation of the wind farms in Grant, Howard, and Tipton counties.
Only one out of many will benefit financially and as a matter of fact the many will eventually face negative financial consequences. In spite of all the positive rhetoric supplied by the wind advocates, land values adjacent to the wind farms will plummet. Common sense tells one to use the empirical method and ask this question. Who in their right mind would want to purchase land and live adjacent to these giant wind turbines? Farm the land maybe, live there, no.
Howard County government has granted E.ON a multi-year tax abatement. Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman was quoted as saying no concerns were raised by local residents when tax abatements were granted to the Chrysler Corporation. That comparison is a bit of a stretch.
One person who lives in the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm was quoted as saying there is no impact on property values. This person qualifies as a real estate expert? His statement was used to negate the argument of opponents that property values will be negatively impacted.
Wyman went on to say, “We’re not going to allow fear mongering to take over when facts exist. There is no passing the buck. Don’t accuse us of not taking time to study the issue. The legal advice has been nothing short of superb. We have a contract that was approved in a very public way.”
Wyman is absolutely right. Everything was done appropriately. The difference between then and now is public awareness. Citizens of Howard County now know the questions to ask and the commissioners are too defensive in their response
There is no doubt public sentiment has turned against the commissioner’s agreement with E.ON. Landowners and county government have sold the soul of a community for a few tainted dollars.
Wyman’s statement saying commissioners took time to study the issue calls for further discussion. Following are a few pertinent questions that should be easily answered by the commissioners if they really studied the issue in depth.
1. What are the consequences when wind farms lose federal subsidies, and they will?
2. Why was it necessary to give wind farm companies abatements and especially for 10 years? Was this your number or the company’s?
3. What is the federal subsidy for wind, and how does that cost relate to other forms of energy?
4. What is the tax income Howard County expects to receive from E.ON? Is it based on kilowatts generated?
5. Who will pay decommissioning costs once the wind farms become financially inviable and declare bankruptcy?
6. This last question is not meant to be funny or cute, but deadly serious. Which Howard County Commissioner, without a vested interest, will be first to move his family in proximity to the wind farms?
To wind power companies like E.ON, everything is financially oriented. E.ON will be around as long as the company is heavily subsidized by the taxpayers. E.ON and other wind companies receive a federal subsidy of $56.29 per megawatt hour. The $56.29 wind subsidy compares to oil and gas at $0.64, or a difference of $55.65 per megawatt hour. There is no way the wind industry can compete or exist without taxpayer subsidy dollars.
The fundamental question for Howard County commissioners is this. How long do you think the wind companies, without subsidies supported by taxpayer dollars, can stay in business when competing with much lower cost energy suppliers?
The answer is they cannot. And then what happens?
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