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Bullies in my backyard

• Jan 10, 2020 at 8:56 AM

We’ve been called every name in the book. We’ve had individuals threaten to harm our crops. Our families have been harassed. All of this has happened after publicly showing support for the development of wind energy in Ohio and our county and because we had the nerve to say so out loud.

I support wind development because it will be good for our state, it will provide revenues for our county for roads, facilities and schools. I also support wind development because it will make my farm more economically viable, providing another cash crop — wind — to rely on year in and year out. Land owned by myself and my family is up to us on how we want to use it. We pay the property taxes on the land, not anyone else. I know that it is my right to decide what will be built on my land and I refuse to be scared into silence.

My family has been farming our land in Huron County for over a century. Like any independent farmer, we have to explore options to diversify our revenues. In our case, the opportunity came up to have wind turbines sited in Huron and surrounding counties. The wind development company proposed a plan for the area to provide revenue. Being that the landowner pays the property taxes, it was our decision to go along with the project.

The harassment from the opposition had almost worked. I nearly decided to stay silent because of the way myself and many others have been treated. There are many landowners and other supporters across our area who have decided to just be quiet because of the shrill reactions and thinly veiled threats they have received.

Well, I have had enough. I am speaking up today so that everyone else in my position knows that they are not alone. I am also speaking up today so that our elected officials and our regulators such as the OPSB understand that there are supporters of wind energy who have been bullied into silence. And I hope that the OPSB and our elected officials take our stories — and all of the others too afraid to speak up — into account.

With concern.

Nick Erf

president

Northern Ohioans for Wind (NOW)

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