April 28, 2006

The Maple Ridge Wind Farm "lease"

Here are some features from the lease that the Flat Rock Wind Power company draws up for owners of the land where it wants to erect giant wind turbines. The Maple Ridge facility on the Tug Hill plateau in Lewis County, N.Y., near Lowville, currently boasts 120 390-ft-high turbines and at least 75 more, possibly larger models, are planned. The lease is for 25 years with the option then of the lessee (the wind company) to extend it another 15.
3.3: Right to replace turbines with newer (larger) models, even at new locations as approved by lessor, who shall not "unreasonably" withhold, condition, or delay consent. Operations and improvements may be performed by sublessee or subcontractors of sublessee (making it all the more difficult to remedy violations).

4.1.1: Easement to allow "audio, visual, view, light, noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, shadow flicker, electromagnetic, television reception, ice or other weather created hazards or other effect of any kind whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly" from the project and the leased property. [emphasis added] 5.10: Same for any improvements.

4.1.5: Seventy-five-feet-wide easement for transmission and communication lines.

4.2: Right to use access, utility, water, "or other easements, rights of way or licenses over lands in the general vicinity" of the leased property.

5.1.2: Right to change turbine and road locations up to 50 feet and underground transmission lines by 250 feet -- more by request, to which lessor must respond in 5 days or consent is assumed. If lessor has reasons for denying change, lessee is not required to address concerns if it would increase costs or decrease capture of wind.

20.1: Right to transfer ownership of project without lessor's approval.

34: "[L]evel of power production, the wind capacity of the property and the availability of the wind power facilities" and the lease itself must remain confidential.

37: Lessor or relative forbidden to interfere with flow of air over leased property by, e.g., planting trees or constructing buildings.

40: Requirement of lessor to waive all applicable setback laws and ordinances between leased and remaining part of property.
Many defenders of those who sign their land up for these facilities invoke "property rights" to justify their disregard for the concerns of neighbors. Other than the bald fact that it is not the landowner who writes the lease and essentially becomes a caretaker on his or her own property for 25 to 40 years, all of the above items, especially those from paragraphs 4.1.1, 37, and 40, make a mockery of the owner's property rights.

Another lease, with similar features, has been described previously. The Flat Rock company is also getting neighboring property owners to sign agreements, as excerpted here. The consequence of believing the wind company that there will be no reason to complain, because any problems you hear about are just dreamed up by newcomer NIMBYs trying to protect their views, and thus not questioning why then the wind company wants you to sign away your right to complain (see item 4.1.1 above), has been described here, too.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, anarchism