To the Editor:
"Good fences make good neighbors." Farmers live by that adage for good reason. Without a fence, it's impossible for a farmer to know exactly what he or she ownswhere one farmer's property ends and his neighbor's begins. Surveyors painstakingly establish these "invisible" boundaries between neighboring farms. Farmers make these "invisible" partitions "visible" by erecting a fence which follows precise boundary lines. Farmers demand that fence be "horse high, hog tight and bull strong" if is to achieve its objective of protecting the land it encompasses. "Horse high, hog tight, bull strong" fences have stood the test of time in making good neighbors.
Wind farms render our fences "invisible." Even the highest fences cannot keep out endless "shadow flicker" cast by noisy, spinning turbine blades spanning 300 feet. Even the tightest fence cannot keep out the threat of illegal activity hiding in the network of gravel roads connecting turbines behind fields of tall corn. Even the strongest fence cannot protect neighbors from hundreds of mile-long shadows cast by 500 foot wind towers or dim the "sea" of flashing red lights blinking into the darkness, turning our Iowa night sky into the world's largest "night time runway." Think: Chicago Midway Airport at night in our backyard.
Even "horse high, hog tight, bull strong fences" cannot protect farmers from these threats brought to our doorstep by wind farm corporations trying to "buy us out" with the promise of a lease payment. This "promise payment" can disappear when the wind farm corporation sells out to another corporation, goes bankrupt, or the federal government terminates the wind farm subsidy. Result: Farmer and neighbors left holding the bag of empty promises.
These lease payments will never cover the cost of tearing down a defunct tower or removing thousands of tons of concrete and hundreds of acres of gravel roads that cover what was once productive farmland. These promised lease payments will never adequately repair a damaged tile network that drains thousands of acres of our rich farmlanda network that took decades to build. These promised lease payments will never give us back the native wildlife that made our Iowa land a hunter's paradise. These promised lease payments will never compensate for the ill will caused by neighbors building unsightly towers.
We need "horse high, hog tight, bull strong fences" to protect our landto keep neighbors, neighborlyto strengthen and preserve the social fabric of our community. For generations we have lived by the code "good fences make good neighbors." Why would we endanger these good relations with neighbors who have been family friends for decades? Why would we trade our fertile Iowa dirt for tons of concrete and steel and miles of gravel roads? Why would we "leave the barn door open" to total strangers who have no regard for our way of life? Let's do our duty to protect the rural legacy from our ancestors. Let's keep our fences "horse high, hog tight and bull strong." Let's keep the red-flashing, wind turbine urban jungle out of Palo Alto and Emmet Counties.
(signed) Wayne and Molly Knutson
San Antonio, Texas
speaking on behalf of the
"Coalition for Rural Property Rights"