Where are our 3 farm organizations when we need them most?
January 14th, 2009
The numerous wind farms being built should make apparent to everyone that southern Ontario will be covered with wind turbines from Lake Huron to Lake Erie & Lake Ontario. That is provincial government policy and the Green Energy Act “streamlines” the approval process to the benefit of the wind turbine companies.
Sadly, all the farm organizations appear to have been bullied into submission and are not looking after farmers’ interests. Simply stated:
Will we have protection of property rights? – for example, the construction liens on the SkyPower project in Prince Edward County at a minimum, complicate selling a property and related mortgages. It may also affect the amount of the lease payments to the farmer another company buys them.
The long term financial return has a “variable” component that is dependent on the price and amount of electricity generated. Most contracts provide no increases or minimal increases over the 20 year term – a case of diminishing returns.
Costs of accidents and decommissioning remain concern; recently a turbine collapsed in Fenner, NY. Equipment failures are not uncommon and the very size of the machines limits corrective action.
Health effects to our families and neighbours is very much a concern and still no proper, epidemiological study has been done.The Japanese government launched a comprehensive 4-year study on what they call “wind turbine syndrome.” Are people less valuable here?
These are very important issues. We need strong leadership demanding protection of the rural Ontario and its residents. Where are our 3 farm organizations when we need them most? What have they been doing?
The OFA, while dutifully posting a “to do” list for anyone approached by a wind salesman, maintains a chummy relationship with members of the Green Energy Act Alliance whose members include the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute, and Environmental Defence, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, who all have a heavy wind industry presence within their ranks. This chummy association taints the mandate of the OFA of promoting sustainability for Ontario Farmers . The OFA should resign its membership from this alliance immediately. The NFU and the CFFO can be barely heard. They don’t want to offend anyone. We need a strong voice, and we need it now before the countryside is plastered with these machines.
I have a modest proposal – remember who the person is writing the cheque when registering your farm with an association? You are, and you can write a simple letter to the designated farm organization asking for a refund based on your concerns over “ethical and transparent representation of the agricultural industry”. No more is necessary. A refund will be sent to you for the total amount, and it will not compromise your standing as a farmer/producer. More importantly, a message will be sent to the farm organizations, that says people are very upset with having badly configured programs shoved down their throats and that the producers want the farm organizations to call for an end to these very wasteful programs that will ultimately cost Ontario taxpayers and farmers billions of dollars.
With this simple action, they may become very attentive to our opinions. Further, this action will catch the attention of our MPP’s. They also, would do well to note the anger and disdain people have for the scam tactics and the secrecy that is needed to sell the leases. All leases have a confidentiality clause. Why are they using bully tactics? What are they hiding?
I would suggest that when the bully pushes, push back – it works every time. And waste no worry on the OFA, they can go and beg from their chums in the Green Energy Alliance I’m sure they’ll cut a cheque.