Why Your Town Must Create a Wind Ordinance

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 healthsafety 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

Views: 414


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Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 3:18pm

Sangerville, and Parkman used CELDF from Penn. as consultant attorneys (25 at the time). Garland, and Charleston used them also but were not well versed in how to educate the communities.

I worked on part of the language in these that provides a prohibitive lawsuit clause which obligates the corporate suing party to pay all court, legal, and associated fees that the town or individual may become obligated for.

These Ordinances have a clause that allows an individual to bring suit in behalf of the community should the selectboard or town governance not act when it is clearly obvious that the ordinance has been violated.

Each ordinance needs to be written as specifically as possible to ensure a better chance of success should it be challenged.

They are written is such a way that if a portion of the ordinance fails, the remaining portions may remain in tact and provide protections, but with simple specific issues they should hold standing if they are completed and passed prior to the permitting process beginning.

The language I proposed was accepted and is now in all such ordinances nation wide.

 This is but one method of protection, as I mentioned Monson used their Mining Land use ordinance which was required by the former LUPC (LURC ?) 

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on September 30, 2016 at 2:53pm

Who is responsible for creation of the state's "model ordinance"?

Is there a way to make this far more protective and then somehow use the power of the executive branch to make sure it is widely publicized?

Comment by Paula D Kelso on September 30, 2016 at 2:33pm

Aw Penny, I keep putting 'sign up for Facebook' on my to do list. Maybe if I do, I can give you a run for your money on the enemies list.

Eric, at least we had a fighting chance here in Clifton with an elected government. Unfortunately, a few years ago we consolidated all the power into one body - the Board of Selectmen. They appoint everyone else, including the Planning Board, the code enforcement officer, etc. The citizens have only one recourse, a three year term vote on one or two of the five members. Two of the five board of appeals members were new and sworn in the night when that Board acted on the court appeal. Those of us who were involved in the Pisgah protest had studied all the documents thoroughly, We sat there and waited while the Appeals board members read the documents for the first time and then voted. That was certainly not in the spirit of the law. We had spent weeks and months on the issues and they took half an hour to 'educate' themselves and participate in a crucial vote.

Bottom line, representational government is the gold standard but is only as good as the citizens who administer it. Mr. Droz indicates all the special knowledges required to do a good job on wind energy applications. He indicates it would take a year or more to get that team together. Whether it's writing the regulation or administering it, those doing it need to have all kinds of preparation before they do the task. Plus they need a commitment to the welfare of the community and not blind allegiance to special interests.

If you compare the 2011 and 2014 versions of the Clifton LUO, especially the intent and purposes, you will find a totally watered down commitment to the rights of landowners and a strengthening of the 'rights' of developers. That includes allowing secret meetings with town officials and allowing redacted proprietary non-disclosure of necessary information for reviewers and decision makers.

Laws and regulations are as nasty as those who write and administer them whether in incorporated towns or unorganized territories. It makes it all the more important that citizens demand information and hold their elected and appointed officials accountable.

Comment by Penny Gray on September 30, 2016 at 2:03pm

Shared this on Facebook.  I believe I might be the only person who has made more enemies than friends on Facebook...  

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 11:42am

This posting is the premise of what Sangerville and Parkman did with their implementation of a Rights Based Ordinances, Monson with their Mining Land use ordinance, against the East West Corridor threat. They did not Prohibit, but laid claim to the fact that the community Claims the Right to protect their community using the Constitution and demanded the right to be asked FIRST, not last after a proposal has begun or a permitting process initiated. When done correctly when challenged, they are premised in current law or constitutional rights. 

Moratoriums are the legal delay, to give the community time to develop a plan or an ordinance, but only effective with participation of the citizens of the community mandating to their governing body to enact or continue them while work is in progress.

Unfortunately the majority of these wind, soon solar, farms are located in Unorganized territories without equal access to governance or impoverished communities that either will not work or can not afford to work against the pressures imposed by the false promises of beneficial rewards.

The EWC was touted to improve communities, but the implications showed a path toward a destruction of why we live where we do with increased building, while research showed a historical downside of the bypass effects of such highways along with state or communities being financially responsible in the aftermath of failure after failure.

Though a threat is not clearly envisioned currently for a community, they should be working on these ordinances ahead of time, as soon the time will be upon them. If established early they will have standing in a court of law. (Being first is best, in this case, depending on how these are written) 


Comment by Paula D Kelso on September 30, 2016 at 11:18am

From Mr. Droz' model wind law, we (in Clifton) did a lot of things right but screwed up on two particular points. Some of us fought hard for a one mile from property line setback and lost. None of us fought for a $50,000 escrow account. Ours was much smaller. That would have gone a long ways toward making Pisgah prove it had financial capacity to demand $50,000 up front. Also, would have helped prevent the Town from being now about $100,000 in the hole from dealing with this application. I hope other communities will take Mr. Droz model and make it their community's law.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


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