Help Us Save Our Beautiful Land
and preserve our way of life
We love our way of life and our open countryside and we wish to preserve its simplicity and beauty. Our purpose is to promote, encourage and pass down to our children the traditional values of a rural lifestyle, to protect our economy, our environment, our health and our beautiful land.
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Activity Update for Your North Texas Heritage Association
On Monday, April 13, 2020, our Association took the unusual action of trying to start a dialogue with APEX Clean Energy and EDF Renewables.
As you know, these two companies have, for some time now, been actively recruiting our neighbors to lease their land for wind farms. Many of you have been approached to sign contracts for your land as well. And even though there are far more of us who have not signed than have signed, the total amount of land now under lease is approaching the size necessary to start construction of a wind farm. Our membership is composed of landowners that firmly believe in property rights. It is part of our Texas heritage. But we also believe as Texans we owe our neighbors the common respect of not destroying their property values for our own personal gain. We are especially upset when these personal gains come from Government or County subsidies that originate from our own taxes.
There are other issues that we believe both APEX and EDF have overlooked, or have decided to ignore, that deeply concern us. One of the major concerns is the danger a wind farm could pose to our environment – we have known for some time that the migratory route of the highly endangered Whooping Crane flies through the land that APEX and EDF have leased for their turbines. To document this, NTHA contracted a respected Environmental Biologist consulting firm from Austin to do a rigorous, science-based, study of the area. The biologist has confirmed, beyond any doubt, that the Whooping Crane flyway passes exactly through the center of the proposed wind farm footprint, and further, that this area is a well-documented critical stopover area for the Whooping Crane. There are only 505 Cranes left in the wild, so the loss of even a single breeding pair to the APEX or EDF installations could severely affect the genetic pool that is needed for the survival of the species. For hundreds of years the Whoopers have stopped off in our tanks and wetlands to rest and feed before resuming their 5000-mile migration – so a loss of this magnitude would be of national significance.
So NTHA, in the hopes of convincing APEX and EDF to consider the terrible long-term impact their projects will have on this part of Texas, has written what’s called a “Demand Letter” to both corporations. It was delivered today.
A Demand Letter, while not having the weight of a lawsuit, is a legal document that outlines the reasons why we believe APEX and EDF have, or shortly will, break several serious laws, the most well-known being the Endangered Species Act. It is a warning letter of sorts, and is used to try and find a mutually acceptable solution without having to resolve differences in a court of law. The letter was written by our lawyer, Bill Eubanks, from Eubanks & Associates in Colorado. Bill is widely recognized as the leading and most successful lawyer in this area of environmental law, and has extensive experience litigating issues like this, very successfully, in the past.
You need to know APEX and EDF do not have to accept our interpretation of the seriousness and folly of their plans. They can press ahead despite the overwhelming evidence found by our environmental survey. If they do, we intend to respond appropriately. But it is our hope that they will see reason and suspend their activities definitively – after all, both companies present themselves as champions of the environment, and drape themselves in the flag of the green environmental movement. They will not want to be known as the corporation that killed some of the last remaining examples of the most endangered species in North America. The spotlight is now on them and what they do.
To support these legal actions, we have initiated a publicity campaign that presents our concerns with the APEX and EDF projects. You will soon be seeing advertisements in our local papers, and hopefully coverage in the media, reporting on this development. We believe that the voting public needs to know our concerns.
So today marks a major turning point in the direction NTHA has taken to protect “our beautiful land” and to preserve the heritage we share as country folk. We will no longer sit by while others destroy the environment around us, and use Federal subsidies gained from our taxes to do it. If your friends ask you what is going on, tell them we have decided to fight the degradation of our way of life, and to defend the majestic birds who fly over our fields.
Considering the risks APEX and EDF pose to our community and our environment, irrevocably terminating their projects is the only resolution we will find acceptable.
We Have the Power to Impact Our Future, and We’re Doing Something About It
North Texas Heritage Association is an organization that supports over 600 rural landowners representing over 420,000 acres of land in Clay, Jack and Montague counties, often ranchers, united to fight for our rural heritage. Our purpose is to promote, encourage and pass down to our children the traditional values of a rural lifestyle, to protect our economy, our environment, our health and our beautiful land. To this end, we choose to oppose the construction of industrial wind farm complexes in Clay, Jack and Montague counties.
To this end, we choose to…
Shannon (Clay Co.) Turbine Collapse is #6 in Top 10 Turbine Failures
Oppose Wind Farms
We choose to oppose the construction of a wind farm industrial estate in our communities and to actively convince our neighbors and civic leaders of the folly of this course of action.
Support SMAC & ENJJPT
We stand proud with our Euro-Nato Pilots and the Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) who train over our land at low level routes. We support Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) as they advocate for SAFB.
Protect our environment
We seek to protect our natural environment by supporting efforts to save our birds and our wildlife in their natural habitat.
Insist on Safety
We will hold civic leaders accountable for the safety issues created by wind turbines that have not been addressed by the wind companies.
Although strong believers in property rights, we are focused not only on the immediate but the long-term negative effects of wind farms and the irreversible encroachment of our lands.
Frequently Asked Questions
My neighbor has signed on with the wind farm company. Since it will be right next to me anyway, why shouldn't I sign on, too, and get my share of the payments?
Just because your neighbor signed on doesn’t mean the project is going to actually happen. More of your neighbors have not signed than have signed, and they are working hard to make sure the wind farm doesn’t proceed. Even so, when you sign you are signing to lose at least 25% of your property value and also lose control of your own land for the next 40 years. No more hunting, no more hunting leases, your land will be scarred forever. And your community divided. What will you leave to your children and grandchildren? Read the lease the wind companies offer you with the help of a good lawyer… you will be amazed at how much of your “property rights” you will give up, and how few options you will be left with.
I have property rights. Why are you trying to tell me what to do with my land?
More than trying to tell you what to do with your land, we are trying to stop you from destroying the value of our land. We all have property rights, and we all can make choices with what to do with them. We also have a community and neighbors. What you do with your property will have longterm negative impacts on all your neighbors as well – wind turbines, for example, will drive down your neighbor’s property values even as far away as ten miles or more. Studies have proven that as long as you can see a turbine, your property values will drop. We all have always been taught “Do unto your neighbor what you would have him do unto you”.
Our small schools need the money from the wind farms to survive. Why shouldn't we take it?
The tax income from wind farms is eventually decreased by the income from property taxes as the surrounding land value decreases due to these same wind farms. The taxes paid by the wind farms is offset by the loss of net worth of the district’s residents.
The wind farm money could pay for renovations on the Clay County courthouse. Wouldn't that be a good thing?
Not at the expense of our farming and ranching community. The County Government has a larger responsibility to the local residents than to non-resident foreign Corporations that don’t even provide significant local employment.
I hear wind farm companies get huge income tax breaks from the federal government. Why are we giving them more subsidies locally?
An excellent question for which I have no answer. Why does a newly arrived foreign Corporation receive a tax break when a family who has been operating a local business and paying full taxes for over 100 years, receives nothing?
How do tax abatements work?
The Texas Legislature established the tax abatement programs in 2001 because, according to the law’s advocates, the state’s heavy reliance on property taxes was making it difficult to attract large industrial projects, for which property taxes are a major expense. Chapter 312 abatements exempt all of part of the increase in property value from taxation for as long as a decade. Chapter 313 abatements limit taxes for 10 years for school district maintenance and operations in exchange for property improvements and job creation. A 2018 report by the state comptroller found the program was taking $25.5 billion off the property tax rolls from 2016 through 2027. Eleven percent of the businesses receiving tax breaks are in the energy sector, including wind projects in more than a dozen mostly rural counties. Each company receiving a tax break is supposed to create at least 10 jobs. But the Statesman investigation found that the vast majority of renewable energy projects, which require far fewer people to operate than a manufacturing facility, have won waivers that allow them to sidestep that state requirement. Wind energy companies geared up this legislative session to keep their ride going, hiring at least 20 lobbyists, paying them as much as $1.2 million, as they sought to keep subsidies in place.
What is a reinvestment zone? Why shouldn't a wind farm qualify for that?
Talk about property rights infringement! A County can declare an industrial reinvestment zone covering a wide area of private properties that might include your land so they can receive tax subsidies. They can do this without your permission or even notification. You still have no obligation to sign a lease with a wind farm company, of course, but you now have no say or input into the foreign wind farm corporation installing a turbine just across your fence from your home.
I have been approached by a wind farm company about signing a lease. What are some things I need to be aware of?
First, get a lawyer who specializes in wind farm contracts – in the contract, all your obligations start with the phrase “… the landowner will…” and the foreign Corporation’s obligations begin with “…The corporation may…”. It goes downhill from there. Any layman stands no chance to protect his or herself from a corporate lawyer who has been recruiting hundreds of landowners for years. Maybe the best thing to be aware of is that a large majority of landowners who sign leases later regret doing so.
Once we start this can we ever stop it?
Talk with many of the landowners who signed on with the Shannon wind farm or the Bobcat Wind Farm south of Windthorst. Many are regretting their decision and they are stuck with their ill-informed choices. It is imperative that we protect our beautiful land and keep the rural landscape for generations to come.
Join the Fight
Contact Your County Commissioner
Contact your precinct’s County Commissioner directly, either in person (always the most effective method) or by telephone, and inform him that you are steadfastly opposed to wind farms in your County. Be polite, but be sufficiently forceful that you leave no doubt in his mind that wind farm tax abatements or tax reinvestment zones are totally unacceptable to you. The Commissioners need to have a very clear understanding of what your wishes are as a citizen, taxpayer, and voter.
Contact the School Board
Contact all the directors on your local School Board, and do the same thing. You must call them all for this to be effective, as there are no precincts in an ISD. School Boards play an outsized role in approving wind farms, as the school tax abatements are significant, and wind farm companies can offer strong inducements for an ISD to vote in their own interests and against the very residents of their districts.
Contact Your Neighbors
Contact your neighbors about this issue and tell them your feelings. Don’t assume that they already know about the danger, or that they are sufficiently knowledgeable regarding the urgency of this threat. Urge them to sign up for the petition above. This level of personal contact will be fundamental to the success of our endeavor.
And lastly, make a significant financial contribution to our cause. We are engaged in a struggle with multi-billion dollar foreign Corporations with deep pockets, and who have little regard for your wishes or concerns – they have demonstrated over and over that they will spend whatever it takes to establish their projects, and destroy your property values, health, and peace of mind in the process. The only way we can prevail is to fight them with talented legal and professional consultants who can present our case successfully. Such talent is very expensive. We do not levy membership fees or dues, and we have no corporate sponsorships – every penny we have comes from the contributions of individual landowners such as yourself.
We need your contribution… help us stop the assault on our land, our health, our economy and our way of life.