Profits Take Priority Over Property Rights

Profits Over Property Rights

Once I thought that with proper laws and setbacks wind turbines could play a limited role in our area, but now I see the true wind damage: eminent domain, the poster child for wind power. Property rights are the heart of the issue. Can rights to profit of a few trump the rights of many? Do wind power supporters sanctify the seizure of people’s private property to make a project feasible?

Transmission lines will be needed for the Galloo and all the proposed wind projects. Seems that in making a project feasible, energy companies get a legal right to confiscate your land against your will for transmission lines. This gives them total power over our property rights and our private property.

Eminent domain could be used for turbine placement and total number of units, all in the name of feasibility and “the public good.” Local laws, no matter how restrictive, will be irrelevant once eminent domain is unleashed.

All three levels of government seem unable to deal with the issue fairly. The state is bent on producing 25 percent green energy at any cost, not protecting rural citizens’ safety and individual rights. The county cares only about the money, how much they get and who controls it without any responsibility for health, quality of life and property rights of all taxpayers. Local governments (some) try, but are no match for billion-dollar companies promising thousands of dollars to landowners as fast as they can.

Seduced by money that’s lavished on them, some officials and landowners ignore problems while trying to railroad through projects before anyone knows what’s happening. Some local officials are attempting to fix or create laws protecting all our rights, not giving them away, but eminent domain overrules them all.

I do understand the right of people to profit from their land, but do a few property owners have a right to permanently change all of our land? I can’t dam my creek and flood another’s property because there is no inherent right to affect, alter or damage another’s property on the grounds that you’ve a right to do whatever you want with yours.

Believing the public good is served generating profits for energy companies, money for a few landowners and tax revenues is just wrong. It is no justification for turning our entire area into an industrial zone, assaulting our property rights and values, dictating our quality of life and even taking our land under threat of prosecution.

The Watertown Daily Times (New York), February 26, 2008

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