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Opponents rally against Clay County wind farms

CLAY COUNTY, Texas – The Shannon windmill farm outside Henrietta is hailed as a primary reason Facebook chose to build a massive data center in Fort Worth.

The Clay County judge said the facility will pump millions into county coffers to help shore up the local hospital and restore the courthouse.

Now word is spreading about the possibility of two more wind farms in Clay County. This time, opponents plan to kick like a mule.

“I don’t want them in my front yard; I don’t want them in my back yard; I don’t want them on the ranch,” said Dave Coleman, who manages the historic Baldwin Ranch. He lives in the original house built in the 1800s.

“Let’s stop and think about this,” Forrest Baldwin said Tuesday. His ancestors married into the Sanzenbacher family who settled the place back in 1873. He’s got 7,000 acres for a large cow-calf operation.

Baldwin said he was approached about putting up windmills. “No,” he said. “Not interested. It’s not worth it.”

But he’s afraid landowners around him said “yes.” He imagines giant windmills spinning on his ridgeline.

“How would you like 100 Reunion Towers on your horizon?” he asked.

Baldwin is part of the group Clay Countians Against Wind Farms. They fear lower property values and ruined landscapes. And they especially don’t want their county government offering tax incentives to lure wind farms.

“It pits neighbor against neighbor,” Baldwin said.

Signs are going up as opponents try to get organized and educated on the possible consequences of adding hundreds more windmills. Opponents emphasize that landowners have a right to profit from their property, but they say everyone needs to think before they sign.