John Droz, Jr. on How to Succeed in the Wind Energy Fight
I was asked to speak at a town board meeting this week. They were quite interested in how to best protect their community from the threat of a proposed wind project. This is a condensed version of what I said…
Since an industrial wind project is something you may have to live with for 20± years, it seems wise tocarefully, objectively, and thoroughly investigate this matter, ahead of time…
After working with 100± communities throughout the US, my conclusion is that your absolute best and first line of defense, is a well-written, protective set of wind energy regulations.
The focus of these regulations should be to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.
These regulations can be in a stand-alone law, or part of a more comprehensive zoning document. (Where they appear is significantly less important than their content.)
Note that writing these regulations is not about excluding wind energy development — but rather it’s about protecting the citizens, small businesses, the economy, the military, and the ecosystems of your community.
So, how do you go about creating proper wind energy regulations? Well, you have two very differentchoices…
1 - Option One is to figure out what needs to be done, on your own.
Since this is an extremely complex technical matter (with wide-spread ramifications), you’ll need to find the following local people: physicist, electrical engineer, civil engineer, acoustical engineer, physician, financial PhD, hydro-geologist, ecologist, bat expert, ornithologist, EMF expert, real estate appraiser, and last but not least, a technically competent lawyer. That would be your team.
In addition, each of those local people need:
a) to have an interest in this matter,
b) to be supportive of citizen rights, and
c) to have the time available to assist the community.
After you’ve collected these experts (that meet those three qualifications), make sure to also allow for at least a year to do research, to have multiple meetings, etc., etc.
The fundamental question is: do you have all those resources in your community, and the time?
If you are missing any of those experts (or don’t have the time), the wind regulations that result will likely leave you not properly protected, and very vulnerable to a wind project getting built…
2 - Option Two is to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you.
Many are not be aware of it, but some 250 communities in the US have had to deal with industrial wind energy. Every case is different, but a few were fortunate enough to have the necessary cross-section of experts living nearby. Some were proactive, so they had the luxury and time to do more research. Etc.
In any case, in every one of the 250± other communities, there are lessons to be learned — both what to do, and what not to do. One of my beliefs is that it rarely makes sense to reinvent the wheel — and particularly not in a complex technical matter like industrial wind energy.
That’s the point of my free citizen advocacy service, and my website (WiseEnergy.org), and my monthly Newsletter (which now has some 10,000 readers). All of these are intended to sort out, and then pass on to you, the best ideas out there.
As we announced several months ago, to help those who want to go the Option Two route, we are advocating a model local wind law. (The explanation and supporting data behind it is found on the Key Documents page of our website.)
When all is said and done, it’s your community — so it’s your call how to deal with any proposed wind project.
We’ve simply tried to make it easier to be successful in dealing with this extraordinary challenge — by giving you the Science perspective, and by sharing with you some of the wind energy experiences of numerous other communities.
Let me know any questions you have, or suggestions to improve our services.
john droz, jr.
physicist & citizen advocate
Also contact Al Beecha <firstname.lastname@example.org> A person who is well versed in what NOT to do when attempting to create an ordinance, and well versed in Rights Based Ordinances.
Also look for the the New Hampshire Rights Based Ordinance Network........ I am not sure of the exact name, but can get it if need be with a little research.
The green UP arrows take you to subsequent Di-sections for training purposes. (incompleted)
This is a model and was once used but remains inaccurate as it is not complete that you may use to see the general construct of how these are assembled and worded.
The ordinance has been in effect for over Two years without challenge along with Parkmans. It contains the measure which I assisted on, that states the challenger must pay all court, legal and associated fees, win, lose or draw. This legal firm that assisted them now uses that portion in all subsequent ordinances.
I would, however as a participant in assisting in writing this particular one, and knowing it is a copyrighted model document I can not. However if you contact Melissa Randall, select person, town of Sangerville, she may be able to provide you with their Ordinance. Melissa Randall <email@example.com> or how to obtain since this is now public.
If there is a sample of a good ordinance based on Constitutional Rights, it would be helpful if it could be posted here.
I can't begin to tell you how the management of town finances and other business has changed over the last 20 years or so. We voted in secret ballot for select board, should have been an improvement, not so much. Town meeting day, polls are open in the morning for voting select board and school board. In the afternoon open town meeting but you can't address any issue not on the warrant. So you have to plan way ahead, nomination papers, petition papers.
The experienced person was just volunteering her time (she lives in town and works in another town) to share her knowledge. She worked for several years as a town auditor. No welcome mat here.
Pisgah lawyer reminded me after I left planning assistant that by law I couldn't represent the Clifton Task Force in discussions with the Boards. I could however exercise my right to my own opinions and to express them freely - and to be part of the Task Force. Kind of flattering that Pisgah feared me enough to sic their lawyer on me.
For the most part, it's been years since any new comers trying for the Select Board positions. This year one of the Planning Board members went to fill a position open due to illness of a member.
Silly me thought the new municipal building would be a step up for the town. It's just as exclusive as it was when meetings were held in people's houses and we paid taxes and excises at the tax collectors home. Maybe even more so.
Goes to show ya..... dysfunctional.......
Combination of funds into one financial account is not unheard of, but the ledgers must balance at the time of the annual audit to account for where the funds were distributed along with the written approval of the board and if a town manager, also that they were in fact distributed as directed.
The citizens need to regain control, starting with the annual town meeting. Non Residents may be excluded by law. And should be until such time suspect board members are removed by attrition or by Recall (for crimes against the community) if an ordinance with procedure is in place.
Unfortunately too few citizens want to be bothered. Unfortunately it will be an issue they hold dear and if they are lucky someone will stand with them. Meanwhile it will continue. -- In order for evil to persist, good people do nothing --
A past official of the town is prohibited from acting in behalf of the town for 1 year. I am not sure how this more experienced town employee acted, but if not elected I do not believe the ban applies.
Nominate from the floor of the meeting and get the nomination seconded, and place 4 - 5 willing souls into those seats. Dexter is replacing it's town council one seat at a time, over the past 3 election cycles in order to achieve a cooperative council toward getting an ordinance passed, though they do not have to, using a Notary. (they are a charter town, which may be different and their reason)
Nothing in small town government is straight forward. Different townspeople at different times have contacted the attorney general, the district attorney, and the state police. All wanted to be helpful but they couldn't proceed without hard facts. Private attorneys cost money and seem reluctant to take up a private citizen's concern. The town officials have turned the FOAA process upside down, putting the burden on the person requesting information. Delays, high fees, dealing with antagonistic personnel. This stuff requires thick skin, fat wallet, legal savvy and patience. A former and more experienced town employee offered to help current employees and was rewarded with scrutiny by the code enforcement officer. She did discover that the town was paying IRS fees for failure to pay taxes owed. One of the select board members sez, "well, everyone keeps books differently". The town treasurer combined several bank accounts into one ginormous account which has more revenues and expenditures hidden in many transactions. Sorry to talk finances when we're all more interested in wind facilities but it's all one big tangled mess. And these are the people who supposedly will be given an extra $250,000 tax revenue a year to play around with. Ignorance, incompetence, pettiness, vindictiveness with perhaps a dash of corruption thrown in for seasoning. One stinky stew.
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