The Brown County Republican Women hosted a luncheon at the Brownwood Country Club on Friday afternoon and guest speaker Dr. Paul Burns delivered his stance on the county’s ongoing wind farm debate. His take is clear – there should be no wind farms in Brown County.
“Before we permanently change this county, we need to think about it very hard,” Burns said. “When a wind farm is built, it is permanent. A wind farm has never been removed. In 10-15 years they become obsolete, and you cannot retro fit these towers. They are permanent. No owner of a wind farm company has a home near a wind farm.”
“The most important thing, for me, is that these wind farms turn neighbor against neighbor,” Burns continued. “Everywhere I go, that’s what I hear. There are those with the towers who destroy the land value of their smaller neighbors. The wind farm companies know they hurt the neighbors. They know that they hurt the small and moderate landowners, and they do not want the word to get out. They [the wind farms] only benefit a handful of land owners.”
Burns – who has been personally attacked in the media by energy conglomerates for his stance against wind farming – was first approached by Pioneer Green Energy several years ago and asked if he wanted to install towers on his family’s land. He said what first sounded like “free money” soon turned to a possible revenue loss after he and his family began researching the long-term effects.
“I was ecstatic [when first approached], as it was an opportunity for free money and a way to keep the land in the family for generations to come,” Burns said. “However, wind projects do not make any sense except to the ones receiving the production tax credits – which landowners see very little of. They will not tell you that the landowner does not get hardly any money. [Of the tax-credits created] approximately four to five-hundred thousand dollars of the production tax goes to the wind company, and only eight to nine thousand to the land owner.”
“Production tax credits are where the real money is,” Burns said.
According to Burns, the energy companies’ failure to inform the community of how the towers negatively affect land values is where they are most vulnerable, and where the citizens of Brown County need to look. To make matters worse, while the land’s market value depreciates almost immediately, the land does not depreciate on the tax-roll for quite sometime, Burns explained.
“The guy with one to two hundred acres will not benefit from these farms,” Burns said, “their land value will decrease and they will not be able to resale that land. What the president of Pioneer Green Energy won’t tell you is that no one building these farms cares about Brown County. The same wind that is in Brown County is the same wind that is in Travis County.”
Burns continued by noting that the average wind speed in Brown County is between eight to 12 miles per hour – below the 15 MPH required to operate the wind towers. He also addressed – and dispelled – the idea that bringing wind farms to Brown County will increase employment rates, bring in additional revenues or improve the area schools.
“All of those people who are installing those towers in Comanche County are from [Patton Energy in] Colorado,” Burns said. “They aren’t local people, and the profits don’t stay in the county. They go to Colorado, they go to Austin, and they go to Wall Street.”
“SAT scores have not gone up in any school district where a wind farm has been installed,” Burns said. “It does not help schools in the long run, because you do not help schools by hurting the families who go there.
More information on Dr. Paul Burns’ stance on wind farms can be found at www.wontfeellikehome.com. This article is not an endorsement.
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